In & around SEC basketball


Auburn Week 4 Review

Auburn dropped a pair of road games last week, including an 80-63 loss at Ole Miss. Rebel guard Stefan Moody out-dueled Kareem Canty in a battle be-tween two of the leading scorers in the SEC. Moody scored 24 points, including a barrage of three-pointers in the second half, while Canty was held to only eight points. The Tigers played better than they did in Saturday’s 32-point loss at Florida but have not played well on the road all season. Auburn dropped to 9-10 overall and 3-5 in conference play. The Tigers host Oklahoma State this Saturday (Jan. 30). 

Alabama Week 4 Review

After trailing Tennessee for the majority of the game, Alabama finished the second half on a 29-9 run to steal a conference victory over the Volunteers. It was a much-needed win for Avery Johnson’s team, which improved to 11-8 overall and 2-5 in league play. Alabama lost at home to LSU last Saturday despite leading for most of the game, but it was a promising effort for a team that seems very close to breaking through. The Tide travel to South Carolina on Saturday.

SEC rankings

1. Texas A&M (17-3, 7-1)

2. Kentucky (16-4, 6-2)

3. South Carolina (18-2, 5-2)

4. Vanderbilt (12-8, 4-4)

5. Florida (13-7, 5-3)

6. LSU (13-7, 6-2)

7. Ole Miss (13-7, 3-5)

8. Georgia (11-7, 4-4)

9. Auburn (9-10, 3-5)

10. Arkansas (10-10, 4-4)

11. Alabama (11-8, 2-5)

12. Tennessee (10-10, 3-5)

13. Mississippi State (8-11, 1-6)

14 Missouri (8-12, 1-6)

Week 5 Previews and Predictions

Week 4: 12-2; season: 18-9

Saturday, Jan. 30

Alabama at South Carolina. Alabama handed South Carolina its first loss of the year earlier in the season in Tuscaloosa. The Gamecocks are undefeated at home this year, while Alabama has yet to win a road game in conference play. The Crimson Tide must bring one of their best efforts of the season to steal a road win this weekend. Prediction: South Carolina 70, Alabama 64

Mississippi State at Missouri. Ben Howland picked up his SEC win at Mississippi State against Ole Miss, and the Bulldogs are looking to add another win Saturday against the struggling Missouri Tig-ers. Prediction: Mississippi State 65, Missouri 62. 

SEC/Big 12 Challenge 

West Virginia at Florida. Florida has a chance to add a massive win to its NCAA Tournament resume this weekend against West Virginia. The Mountaineers are ranked ninth in the latest AP top 25 and already have beaten Kansas this year. The Gators have played well to start conference play, but this would be an excellent win for Mike White’s team. Prediction: Florida 71, West Virginia 68. 

Vanderbilt at Texas. Before last week’s loss at Kentucky, the Commodores were playing their best basketball of the season. Vanderbilt has struggled away from Nashville and could desperately use a road win against a surging Texas team. Prediction: Texas 75, Vanderbilt 72. 

Ole Miss at Kansas State. Like so many other SEC teams, Ole Miss has had difficulty winning on the road this season. It won’t get any easier for the Rebels on Saturday, as they take on a Kansas State team that has been very good at home this year. Ole Miss and Kansas State met in 2013, and the Wildcats knocked off the Rebels 61-58. Prediction: Kansas State 67, Ole Miss 62. 

Tennessee at TCU. The Vols have only won one true road game all season, and the Horned Frogs have been a tough out at home this year. Prediction: TCU 64, Tennessee 62. 

Iowa State at Texas A&M. Texas A&M is welcoming one of the hottest teams in the country to College Station this weekend. Iowa State has defeated Kansas and top-ranked Oklahoma over the past two weeks and is beginning to look like a team that will be very dangerous in March. Texas A&M is undefeated at home, so this game should be one of the best of the weekend. Prediction: Texas A&M 84, Iowa State 82. 

Texas Tech at Arkansas. The Razorbacks have been great at home under Mike Anderson and just picked up their biggest win of the season against Texas A&M. Former Kentucky coach Tubby Smith has Texas Tech playing much better basketball this year, and the Red Raiders need this road win to have a chance to make the NCAA Tournament. Prediction: Arkansas 74, Texas Tech 70. 

Oklahoma at LSU. Although LSU probably has the best player in the country in Ben Simmons, the Tigers are in jeopardy of missing the NCAA Tournament. Saturday provides an opportunity for LSU to pick up a marquee victory against the Sooners, who are ranked No. 1 in the latest AP Poll. While Simmons might be the best overall player, Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield has been the best guard in college basketball this season, so this will be an entertaining game between two likely NBA lottery picks. Prediction: Oklahoma 85, LSU 80. 

Georgia at Baylor. The Bulldogs are hovering around the NCAA Tournament bubble at the moment, so Mark Fox’s team needs as many quality wins as possible, especially on the road. Baylor is near the top of the Big 12 standings, however, so this will be a difficult challenge for the Bulldogs. Prediction: Baylor 78, Georgia 65. 

Kentucky at Kansas. The most anticipated matchup of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge features two of the most prestigious basketball programs in co-llege basketball history. Since Kentucky’s loss to Auburn, the Wildcats have played much better basketball. Dominant wins over Arkansas, Vanderbilt, and Missouri have provided the ‘Cats with some much-needed confidence entering this game, but Kansas doesn’t lose at home very often under Bill Self. While the Jayhawks are struggling a bit at the moment, they are one of the toughest teams in the country to play at home. Self has a 200-9 record at Phog Allen Fieldhouse during his tenure, and the last home loss came in 2014 to San Diego State. Prediction: Kansas 78, Kentucky 76. 

Oklahoma State at Auburn. Auburn is an entirely different team at home than on the road. If this program is going to take the next step, it needs to fix that issues sooner than later. Maintaining a home-court advantage is very important in college hoops, however, and the Tigers certainly feed off of their home crowd. Oklahoma State isn’t as good as in the past, but this would still be a solid win for the Tigers. Prediction: Auburn 75, Oklahoma State 71. 

Tuesday, Feb. 2

Kentucky 75, Tennessee 67

LSU 71, Auburn 68

South Carolina 65, Georgia 63

Alabama 67, Mississippi State 64

Wednesday, Feb. 3

Florida 77, Arkansas 71

Ole Miss 70, Missouri 64

Thursday, Feb. 4

Vanderbilt 81, Texas A&M 77

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