In & around SEC basketball


By Cole Frederick

Auburn Week 4 Review
After the Tigers suffered their worst loss of the sea-son at South Carolina, they responded with their best win of the year on the road at TCU. Auburn defeated the Horned Frogs, 88-80, in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. True freshman Austin Wiley led the way with 25 points and seven rebounds. Fellow freshmen Mustapha Heron and Jared Harper chipped in 17 and 13 points, respectively. The Tigers (14-7) travel to Tuscaloosa to take on Alabama on Saturday, Feb. 4.
Alabama Week 4 Review
The Crimson Tide bounced back from a loss to Auburn with wins over Georgia and Mississippi State. Alabama thumped Georgia, 80-60 in Athens, and returned home to knock off Mississippi State, 71-62, behind 19 points from freshman Braxton Key. The Tide has a chance to avenge their loss to Auburn on Saturday as the Tigers visit Coleman Coliseum.
SEC basketball rankings
1. Kentucky (18-4, 8-1)
2. South Car. (17-4, 7-1)
3. Florida (16-5, 6-2)
4. Arkansas (16-5, 5-3)
5. Tennessee (13-9, 5-4)
6. Auburn (14-8, 3-6)
7. Alabama (13-7, 6-2)
8. Georgia (13-9 4-5)
9. Ole Miss (13-9, 4-5)
10. Miss State (13-8, 4-5)
11. Vand. (11-11, 4-5)
12. Tex. A&M (11-10)
13. LSU (9-11, 1-7)
14, Missouri (5-15, 0-8)
Week 5 Previews and Predictions
Week 4: 8-4; season: 15-7
Saturday, Feb. 4
Game of the Week
Auburn at Alabama. The Tigers won the first meeting of the season, 84-64, after an explosive run over the last 10 minutes of the game. Alabama is entering a pivotal stretch of its season as it takes on South Carolina and Kentucky in the following two games. Both Auburn and Alabama are long shots to make the NCAA Tournament, and each team likely needs a win on Saturday to give themselves a chance. Prediction: Alabama 65, Auburn 60.
Kentucky at Florida. The Wildcats lost consecutive games to Tennessee and Kansas but remain the favorites to win the SEC. If Florida can pull off the upset over Kentucky, it would likely lock the Gators into the NCAA Tournament. The Gators have a great resume and will likely make the cut regardless of the outcome against the Wildcats. It’s rare, however, for an SEC team to have a chance for a marquee victory during conference play due to its overall mediocrity. Prediction: Kentucky 81, Florida 75.
Georgia at South Carolina. Outside of Kentucky, the Gamecocks have been the most consistent team in the conference and at this point are almost a lock to make the Big Dance. On the other hand, Georgia is in desperate need of a big win and is certainly on the outside looking in at the moment. Prediction: South Carolina 67, Georgia 63.
Ole Miss at Vanderbilt. The Rebels gave No. 5 Baylor a scare last weekend but were unable to pull off the upset victory. Both teams have had up-and-down seasons, but each squad is each capable of getting hot and lighting up the scoreboard. Prediction: Vanderbilt 82, Ole Miss 75.
Arkansas at Missouri. Kentucky, South Carolina and Florida are the only SEC teams who would be considered “locks” to make the NCAA Tournament at this point. Arkansas is probably next in line, but the Razorbacks have plenty of work to do to in order to bolster their resume. One thing the Hogs can’t afford is a bad loss, and losing to a Missouri team that is winless in conference play would hinder their tournament chances. Prediction: Arkansas 77, Missouri 65.
Tennessee at Mississippi State. Second-year coaches Ben Howland and Rick Barnes have seen their respective teams make strides this season and have their programs trending in the right direction. The Volunteers beat Kentucky and Kansas State in back-to-back games and now look to defeat the Bulldogs for a second time this year. Prediction: Mississippi State 74, Tennessee 71.
Texas A&M at LSU. The Aggies and Tigers have been bottom feeders in the SEC this year, though Texas A&M has a slight chance of turning its season around. Billy Kennedy’s team is young but talented, and the Aggies should be able to go on the road and pick up a win over a hapless LSU team. Prediction: Texas A&M 66, LSU 63.
Tuesday, Feb. 7
South Carolina 72, Alabama 64; Florida 81, Georgia 77; Kentucky 88, LSU 62; Arkansas 76, Vanderbilt 74; Auburn 77, Mississippi State 73
Wednesday, Feb. 8
Tennessee 81, Ole Miss 72; Texas A&M 70, Missouri 62

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