In & around SEC basketball

February 8, 2018 chris
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By Cole Frederick/Sports Correspondent

Auburn Week 6 Review
For the first time this season, Auburn lost at home. The Tigers trailed Texas A&M by as many as 15 in the second half but stormed back to take the lead late in the game despite leading scorer Bryce Brown being out with a shoulder injury. With the game tied at 80, however, the Tigers were called for a foul with three seconds left. The Aggies hit one of their free throws and held on for an 81-80 win. The loss came after a blowout win over Vanderbilt, and the Tigers fell to 21-3 overall and 9-2 in the SEC. Auburn travels to Georgia this Saturday (Feb. 10) for a showdown against the rival Bulldogs.
Alabama Week 6 Review
Alabama continued to show its inconsistency from one game to the next last week as the Crimson Tide followed up an impressive win with a frustrating loss. UA went into Gainesville and dominated Florida, 68-50, despite trailing by six points at the half, and it was probably the best the Tide played all season. Three days later, Alabama struggled offensively and lost at Mississippi State, 67-63. Avery Johnson’s team is 15-9 overall and 6-5 in the SEC. Alabama and has another opportunity for a marquee win on Saturday (Feb. 10) as the Tide host Tennessee.
SEC rankings
1. Auburn (21-3, 9-2)
2. Tennessee (18-5, 8-3)
3. Florida (16-8, 7-4)
4. Kentucky (17-7, 6-5)
5. Missouri (16-8, 6-5)
6. Alabama (15-9, 6-5)
7. Texas A&M (16-8, 5-6)
8. Mississippi State (18-6, 6-5)
9. Arkansas (16-8, 5-6)
10. Georgia (13-10, 4-7)
11. South Carolina (13-11, 4-7)
12. LSU (13-10, 4-7)
13. Ole Miss (11-13, 4-7)
14. Vanderbilt (9-15, 3-8)
Week 7 Preview and Predictions
Week 6: 6-8
Season: 27-20
Saturday, Feb. 10
Game of the Week: Tennessee at Alabama. Alabama is officially the Jekyll and Hyde team of the SEC. The Crimson Tide shows flashes of brilliance followed by staggering level of ineptitude on the offensive end of the floor. UA has played well against ranked teams this season and are welcoming in a red-hot Tennessee team to Coleman Coliseum this Saturday. The Vols just swept Kentucky and have established themselves as the second-best team in the league behind Auburn. Alabama is safely in the NCAA Tournament bracket as of now but must avoid piling up losses down the stretch as the schedule becomes more difficult. Prediction: Alabama 74, Tennessee 69.
Florida at South Carolina. The Gators snapped a three-game conference losing streak with a 73-64 win over LSU and now hit the road to avenge a loss to South Carolina. The Gamecocks knocked off Florida, 77-72, in Gainesville on Jan. 24 but they’ve also struggled in recent weeks in losing four straight. Florida is still safely in the NCAA Tournament but must figure things out before postseason play begins next month. Prediction Florida 72, South Carolina 67.
Mississippi State at Missouri. Two of the hottest teams in the SEC square off for the second time this season, and the Tigers are looking for revenge after suffering a 74-62 loss in Starkville on Jan. 27. Since then, Missouri has won three straight games while the Bulldogs have won four in a row. Both teams remain in position to make a push for an NCAA Tournament bid. Missouri likely is in the tournament at this point, while Mississippi State still has some work to do. A road win at Missouri would go a long way towards earning a bid for Ben Howland’s team as the Bulldogs look to stay above .500 in league play. Prediction: Missouri 71, Mississippi State 65.
Auburn at Georgia. When these two rivals met earlier this year, the Bulldogs blew a 14-point halftime lead and lost by double digits thanks to a 31-4 Auburn run in the second half. Georgia’s NCAA Tournament hopes are hanging by a threat, but a win over Auburn would keep the season alive. The Tigers are looking to avoid their first two-game losing streak of the season but might be without Brown again due to a shoulder strain. Prediction: Georgia 75, Auburn 73.
Ole Miss at LSU. While both the Tigers and Rebels are near the bottom of the standings in the SEC, they’ve both proven they’re capable of upsetting anyone in the league. Neither team has the talent to compete at a high level consistently, but both squads are always a threat to pull off an upset. Prediction: LSU 78, Ole Miss 74.
Vanderbilt at Arkansas. The Hogs don’t necessarily have the best resume, but as long as they continue taking care of business at home, they’ll give themselves a chance to reach the NCAA Tournament. Vanderbilt is undermanned this year but the Commodores still play hard and are well-coached. Arkansas needs to avoid the big upset at home in order to stay off the tournament bubble. Prediction: Arkansas 84, Vanderbilt 75.
Kentucky at Texas A&M. While neither the Wildcats nor Aggies are at the top of the SEC standings, they are still probably the most talented teams in the league. Texas A&M is starting to figure out some of the issues that plagued the Aggies to start conference play, and the win over Auburn was the best win of the season for Billy Kennedy’s team. Kentucky is talented, but this is John Calipari’s youngest team since he took over in Lexington, and they play like it. The Wildcats are not in danger of missing the NCAA Tournament, but the Wildcats have a difficult schedule upcoming and need to find ways to pick up a few wins as the postseason draws closer. Prediction: Texas A&M 76, Kentucky 74.
Tuesday, Feb. 13
Missouri 70, Texas A&M 67
Ole Miss 76, Arkansas 72
Tennessee 75, South Carolina 66
Alabama 81, LSU 70
Wednesday, Feb. 14
Mississippi State 75, Vanderbilt 74
Kentucky 77, Auburn 74
Florida 82, Georgia 71