In & around SEC basketball


By Cole Fredrick

Auburn Week 3 Review

Last week was by far the best of the Bruce Pearl Era at Auburn. Pearl’s team upset Kentucky at Auburn Arena on Saturday (Jan. 16) and followed that up with another home win over in-state rival Alabama on Tuesday. Before Saturday’s win against the Wildcats, Auburn had not beaten Kentucky since 2000. Point guard Kareem Canty and forward Cinmeon Bowers were excellent in both games, particularly against the Crimson Tide. Canty scored 25 points against Alabama, including five three-pointers. Bowers scored 20 points and grabbed 18 rebounds against the Tide, and his energy and effort throughout both games was the difference maker for Auburn. The Tigers improved to 9-8 overall and 3-3 in conference play. Auburn travels to Gainesville on Saturday to take on Florida, followed by another road trip next week at Ole Miss. 

Alabama Week 3 Review

After posting an impressive record in non-conference play, Alabama’s resume was as good as any bubble team in the country. Unfortunately for the Tide, the beginning of SEC play has been troublesome. After back-to-back road losses to Vanderbilt and Auburn, Alabama is now 10-7 overall and 1-4 in league play. Alabama isn’t getting many points in the post, and when the shots aren’t falling from the perimeter, the offense stops flowing and becomes dormant. LSU visits Tuscaloosa this weekend, then Alabama hosts Tennessee the following Tuesday (Jan. 26). 

SEC Rankings

1. Tex A&M (16-2, 6-0)

2. Kentucky (13-4, 3-2)

3. South Car. (17-1, 4-1)

4. Florida (12-6, 4-2)

5. LSU (11-7, 4-2)

6. Vanderbilt (11-7, 3-3)

7. Ole Miss (12-6, 2-4)

8. Auburn (9-8, 3-3)

9. Arkansas (9-8, 3-2)

10. Georgia (10-6, 3-3)

11. Alabama (10-7, 1-4)

12. Tennessee (9-9, 2-4)

13. Missouri (8-10, 1-4)

14. MSU (7-10, 0-5)

Week 4 Previews 

and Predictions

Week 3: 6-7

Saturday, Jan. 23

South Carolina at Tennessee. The Gamecocks just keep winning games. Tuesday night’s overtime win at Ole Miss was a great comeback victory for Frank Martin’s team, and this group is poised to end a 12-year NCAA Tournament drought. Tennessee continues to struggle, but that was expected in Rick Barnes’ first season. Prediction: South Carolina 65, Tennessee 57. 

LSU at Alabama. Alabama is reeling, and this weekend they face arguably the best player in college basketball in Ben Simmons. LSU hasn’t played well on the road this year and needs this win if the Tigers want to make the NCAA Tournament. Prediction: LSU 68, Alabama 65.

Ole Miss at Mississippi State. The Rebels struggled recently to close out games, as they have blown second-half leads to LSU and South Carolina in the last week. Ole Miss needs scoring from more than Stefan Moody, because at this point the rebels are simply a one-dimensional team. Ben Howland has yet to win a conference game as Mississippi State’s head coach, and this would be a great place to start. Prediction: Ole Miss 73, Mississippi State 70. 

Missouri at Texas A&M. Despite an impressive 16-2 overall record and an unblemished conference record, the Aggies still feel underrated. Billy Kennedy has done a tremendous job building this team, which is the best in the conference at this point in the season. Prediction: Texas A&M 73, Missouri 54. 

Vanderbilt at Kentucky. After a slow start to conference play, Vanderbilt finally is starting to look like the team that was picked to finish second in the SEC. The Commodores have had some injuries but have been very impressive in recent games. Kentucky, on the other hand, has struggled, especially away from Rupp Arena. This is still a very talented team, but the Wildcats don’t have a dominant post presence like they’ve had in recent years. Prediction: Kentucky 80, Vanderbilt 76. 

Arkansas at Georgia. Both teams made the NCAA Tournament last season, and this was expected to be a bit of a rebuilding year for the Hogs and the Bulldogs. While neither team has been bad, they likely aren’t making the tournament this year. Prediction: Georgia 62, Arkansas 58. 

Auburn at Florida. Auburn has played well recently but also has struggled historically in Gainesville. Florida looks like a potential NCAA Tournament team, but a home loss to Auburn would be problematic for the Gators’ postseason chances. Prediction: Florida 78, Auburn 70. 

Tuesday, Jan. 26

South Carolina 71, Mississippi State 55

Vanderbilt 74, Florida 70

LSU 67, Georgia 61

Alabama 64, Tennessee 60

Wednesday, Jan. 27

Ole Miss 75, Auburn 68

Texas A&M 77, Arkansas 74

Kentucky 84, Missouri 61

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