In & around SEC basketball


Alabama Week 2 Review

Avery Johnson picked up the most impressive win of his young collegiate coaching career on Wednesday (Jan. 13), as the Crimson Tide defeated previously unbeaten South Carolina, 73-50. Alabama dominated the game from the opening tip, and Albertville High graduate Riley Norris scored a career-high 27 points. Bama improved to 10-5 overall and 1-2 in conference play. UA travels to Nashville this Saturday (Jan. 16) to take on Vanderbilt.

Auburn Week 2 Review

Both injuries and losses are piling up for Bruce Pearl’s team. Double-digit defeats at Missouri and Vanderbilt were a massive step in the wrong direction for the program, and things don’t seem likely to improve any time soon with Kentucky visiting Auburn Arena this weekend. Most of the Tigers’ struggles can be attributed to injuries, especially playing the last few games without wing T.J. Dunans, but this undeniably is a rough stretch for Pearl. 

SEC Rankings

1. Texas A&M (14-2, 4-0)

2. Kentucky (13-3, 3-1)

3. LSU (10-6, 3-1)

4. South Carolina (15-1, 2-1)

5. Ole Miss (12-4, 2-2)

6. Florida (10-6, 2-2)

7. Georgia (9-5, 2-2)

8. Vanderbilt (9-7, 1-3)

9. Alabama (10-5, 1-2)

10. Arkansas (9-7, 3-1)

11. Missouri (8-8, 1-2)

12. Tennessee (8-8, 1-3)

13. Auburn (7-8, 1-3)

14. Miss. State (7-8, 0-3)

Week 3 Previews and Predictions

Saturday, Jan. 16

Missouri at South Carolina. The Gamecocks have been one of the biggest surprises in the conference thus far. Frank Martin’s team was unbeaten until a loss at Alabama, and the Tigers still have a pretty good chance at ending their NCAA Tournament drought if it can avoid bad losses in SEC play. A home loss to a struggling Missouri team certainly would qualify as a bad loss. Prediction: South Carolina 68, Missouri 52. 

Texas A&M at Georgia. Mark Fox’s team made the NCAA Tournament last season but has a long way to go for a return to the Big Dance. A home win over Texas A&M would be a great start, but it won’t be easy for the Bulldogs. The Aggies currently are the best team in the conference, and Billy Kennedy’s team has been solid on the road this season. Prediction: Georgia 64, Texas A&M 60. 

Tennessee at Mississippi State. Both teams are struggling but fans need to be patient with first-year coaches Ben Howland and Rick Barnes. Both coaches have great track records elsewhere but it will likely take some time to build these programs into contenders. Prediction: Mississippi State 57, Tennessee 55. 

Kentucky at Auburn. Even if the Tigers had a full roster, they would still be big underdogs at home against the Wildcats. Kentucky isn’t nearly as good as it was a season ago, but this team is still the most talented in the country, and it won’t be long before the young players on the roster start reaching their potential. Prediction: Kentucky 80, Auburn 65. 

Alabama at Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt was predicted to be one of the best teams in the conference in the preseason, but the Commodores have struggled mightily thus far. At 9-7, the Dores certainly aren’t a tournament team at this point, and they need to string together some wins quickly. Alabama has won some impressive games thus far, and a road victory in Nashville would be one of the best of the season for Avery Johnson’s squad. Prediction: Vanderbilt 69, Alabama 64. 

Florida at Ole Miss. The Rebels are undefeated in their brand new arena. Well, they’re 2-0, but it’s been a great start for Andy Kennedy’s team, and the new digs could provide a massive home court advantage. Home wins over Florida and South Carolina over the next week would be impressive wins for the Rebels’ tournament resume as well. Prediction: Ole Miss 75, Florida 70. 

Arkansas at LSU. Ben Simmons is likely the best player in college basketball, but even he couldn’t help the Tigers overcome several injuries to start the year. LSU is now healthy, and as a result is starting to play very good basketball. Arkansas has had a solid start to the conference schedule, but the Hogs’ Achilles Heel under Mike Anderson has always been playing on the road. Prediction: LSU 76, Arkansas 67. 

Tuesday, Jan. 19

Ole Miss 65, South Carolina 63

Alabama 67, Auburn 62

LSU 77, Texas A&M 71

Florida 72, Mississippi State 58

Wednesday, Jan. 20

Georgia 62, Missouri 53

Vanderbilt 70, Tennessee 68

Thursday, Jan. 21

Kentucky 73, Arkansas 65

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