By Cole Frederick/Sports Correspondent
Alabama Week 3 Review
Alabama currently is on a three-game winning streak after a pair of wins this past week, winning all three games by double digits. The Crimson Tide knocked off Vanderbilt, 77-62, on the road, and beat Missouri, 88-74. Nate Oats’ team is shooting well and is 11-7 overall and 4-2 in the conference. Kansas State visits Coleman Coliseum this Saturday (Jan. 25) for the Big 12/SEC Challenge before UA visits LSU at Baton Rouge next week.
Auburn Week 3 Review
After a double-digit loss at Florida, the Tigers got back on track with an 80-67 home victory over South Carolina. Freshman Devan Cambridge scores a career-high 26 points off the bench as Auburn improved to 16-3 overall and 4-2 in the SEC. AU welcomes Iowa State to Auburn Arena on Saturday and travels to Oxford next week to take on Ole Miss.
Week 4 Previews and Predictions
Saturday, Jan. 25
Game of the Week: Kentucky at Texas Tech. The Wildcats are starting to click but will be challenged on the road against the national runners-up from a season ago. Texas Tech isn’t quite as strong as it were last year, but the Red Raiders defend at a high level and can cause problems for this young Kentucky squad. Prediction: Kentucky 67, Texas Tech 64.
Iowa State at Auburn. Bruce Pearl’s team is undefeated at Auburn Arena this season and that streak should stay alive as the Cyclones come to The Plains. This Iowa State team isn’t as strong as in recent years, so the Tigers should be able to handle their business at home. Prediction: Auburn 85, Iowa State 73.
Missouri at West Virginia. West Virginia is playing at an elite level, and Bob Huggins’ team is defending very well. Morgantown is always a tough place to play, and Missouri has struggled away from home this season. Prediction: West Virginia 76, Missouri 58.
LSU at Texas. Shaka Smart’s tenure in Austin hasn’t gone as planned, and the Longhorns still are not a nationally relevant program. Texas has a chance to make the tournament this year but is far from being a championship contender. Will Wade has LSU playing at the top of the SEC, and a road win would be a big statement for the league. Prediction: LSU 78, Texas 77.
Mississippi State at Oklahoma. After a tough start to conference play, Mississippi State rebounded with a couple of victories. The Bulldogs on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament right now, but there is plenty of time to get on the right side. A road win at Oklahoma would be a big step in that direction. Prediction: Oklahoma 75, Mississippi State 70.
Oklahoma State at Texas A&M. Buzz Williams already has Texas A&M playing at a higher level than most expected. The Aggies won’t be an NCAA Tournament team this year, but Williams has the program trending in the right direction. Prediction: Texas A&M 60, Oklahoma State 55.
Tennessee at Kansas. The brawl between Kansas and Kansas State on Jan. 21was an ugly incident for college basketball and even worse for the Jayhawks, considering that they are a title contender. KU should have no trouble with Tennessee on Saturday, but there are plenty of concerning issues floating around Kansas moving forward. Prediction: Kansas 80, Te-nnessee 68.
TCU at Arkansas. Eric Musselman has quickly turned around the Arkansas program into a contender in the SEC, and the Razorbacks have been excellent at home this season. The Hogs should make the NCAA Tournament in Musselman’s first season. Prediction: Arkansas 84, TCU 79.
Ole Miss at Georgia. Anthony Edwards might be the top freshman in college basketball, and he is doing everything he can to keep the Bulldogs afloat for the postseason. If Tom Crean’s team is going to take that step, they must beat Ole Miss at home. Prediction: Georgia 68, Ole Miss 65.
Kansas State at Alabama. Alabama is playing very good basketball at the moment and is catching Kansas State at the right time. The Wildcats have two players suspended for fighting Kansas players earlier in the week, so they’ll be shorthanded as they visit Tuscaloosa. Alabama is improving its NCAA Tournament resume and has a chance to take a four-game winning streak to LSU. Prediction: Alabama 81, Kansas State 65.
Baylor at Florida. Florida had high expectations entering the season and is just starting to show flashes of a high-caliber team. The Gators welcome the No. 1 team in the country on Saturday, and Baylor has the best resume of any team in college hoops. This weekend is the perfect time for Florida to emerge and live up to the hype. Prediction: Florida 68, Baylor 64.
Vanderbilt at South Carolina. The Gamecocks cu-rrently are on the outside looking in for the NCAA Tournament and need to start adding wins in a hurry. Frank Martin’s team is solid defensively but inconsistent on the offensive end of the floor. Prediction: South Carolina 63, Vanderbilt 59.
Tuesday, Jan. 28
Tennessee 77, Texas A&M 70 ; Florida 74, Mississippi State 68; Georgia 68, Missouri 66; Auburn 76, Ole Miss 72
Wednesday, Jan. 29
Kentucky 87, Vanderbilt 65; LSU 78, Alabama 75; Arkansas 77, South Carolina 70