By Cole Frederick/Sports Correspondent
Auburn Week 6 Review
Bruce Pearl’s team never wants it to be easy, as four of Auburn’s last five games have made their way to overtime. Auburn prevailed in every game, but it’s hard to sustain that good fortune over the course of the year. The Tigers defeated Alaba-ma, 95-91, despite the Crimson Tide hitting an SEC-record 22 3-pointer baskets. Auburn also narrowly defeated LSU, 91-90, after a barrage of three-pointers from J’Von McCormick in the final minute of regulation. The wins improved AU to 22-2 overall and 9-2 in the SEC. The Tigers travel to Missouri and Georgia in the next week.
Alabama Week 6 Review
Alabama missed a golden opportunity to earn another Quadrant 1 win over Auburn but fell just short on the road. The Tide knocked off Georgia, 105-102, in overtime on Saturday to keep their postseason hopes alive and have a marquee game on Saturday against LSU. Alabama fell to 13-11 overall and 5-6 in the SEC. UA hosts Texas A&M next week after hosting the Tigers this weekend.
SEC basketball rankings
1. Auburn (22-2, 9-2)
2. Kentucky (19-5, 9-2)
3. LSU (18-6, 9-2)
4. Mississippi State (15-9, 6-5)
5. Florida (15-9, 7-4)
6. South Carolina (15-9, 7-4)
7. Arkansas (16-8, 4-7)
8. Tennessee (14-10, 6-5)
9. Alabama (13-11, 5-6)
10.Texas A&M (11-12, 5-6)
11. Ole Miss (13-11, 4-7)
12. Georgia (12-12, 2-9)
13. Missouri (11-13, 3-8)
14. Vanderbilt (9-15, 1-10)
Week 7 Previews and Predictions
Saturday, Feb. 15
Game of the Week: LSU at Alabama. Alabama squandered a great opportunity Wednesday night in Auburn and is running out of those chances to add to its NCAA tournament resume. Only a couple of Quadrant 1 games remain on the schedule, which adds to the importance of Saturday’s game against LSU. The Tigers won the first meeting 90-76, and this would be a massive victory for Nate Oats’ squad. Prediction: Alabama 88, LSU 86.
Mississippi State at Arkansas. The Razorbacks have faltered in recent weeks and as of now are on the outside looking in for the NCAA Tournament. They have an opportunity for great wins this week against Mississippi State and Florida and need to at least split to have a chance at the Big Dance. Mississippi State also needs a win after a poor showing at Ole Miss. Prediction: Arkansas 82, Mississippi State 80.
Ole Miss at Kentucky. It’s rare for a Kentucky team to win quietly, but this John Calipari team has been cruising in the SEC and playing at an elite level. The Wildcats should handle Ole Miss easily, and they’ll likely be a very high seed in the NCAA Tournament. No one would be surprised UK is knocking on the door of the Final Four in late March. Prediction: Kentucky 84, Ole Miss 68.
Georgia at Texas A&M. Both of these teams are re-building, and it’s been a struggle for each squad to play consistently throughout the year. Texas A&M is scrappy and tough to play at home, but the Aggies almost always are the least talented team on the floor. Georgia has a lottery pick in Anthony Edwards, but the rest of the roster is not ready to compete. Prediction: Texas A&M 67, Georgia 64.
Auburn at Missouri. It seems like every Auburn game goes to overtime, and the Tigers are taking advantage of the extra frame. They have won seven straight games and currently are tied for first in the SEC. This is a game Auburn should win comfortably, but if recent games are an indicator, this one will come down to the wire. Prediction: Auburn 83, Missouri 78.
Tennessee at South Carolina. South Carolina is flying under the radar and had an impressive week to inch closer to the bubble. A win over Tennessee is imperative, and the Gamecocks are in position to be a top-4 seed in the SEC Tournament. More importantly, they are adding quality wins to the resume and need to capitalize on every opportunity over the next few weeks. Prediction: South Carolina 73, Tennessee 69.
Vanderbilt at Florida. The Gators do not have a lot of opportunities to add marquee wins this week but have two opportunities to earn home victories to keep them in the mix for a double bye in the SEC Tournament. Florida have a long way to go before feeling comfortable about its NCAA Tournament chances, but the Gators have opportunities down the stretch to earn Quadrant 1 wins. Prediction: Florida 77, Vanderbilt 70.
Tuesday, Feb. 18
Tennessee 76, Vanderbilt 71; Florida 70, Arkansas 67; Missouri 66, Ole Miss 64; LSU 85, Kentucky 82
Wednesday, Feb. 19
Auburn 72, Georgia 71; Alabama 81, Texas A&M 72; Mississippi State 70, South Carolina 65