In & around SEC men’s basketball

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Auburn week in review

The Tigers lost games to Alabama and Texas A&M in the past week. Despite leading Alabama by as many as eight points in the second half, Auburn lost to its archrival, 57-55, at Coleman Coliseum. K.T. Harrell scored 22 points and Cinmeon Bowers added 14 points and eight rebounds, but it wasn’t enough for the Tigers, who are in a midseason slump. Auburn dropped to 10-10 overall, and 2-5 in league play. The Tigers travel to Knoxville to take on Tennessee on Saturday (Jan. 31).

Alabama week in review

Alabama’s NCAA Tournament hopes took a slight hit on Tuesday (Jan. 27) after losing to Florida. The Crimson Tide defeated Auburn over the weekend and had an excellent chance to improve their tournament resume with a win over another bubble team at home. Instead, Alabama lost to Florida, 52-50, and are now a long shot to make the Big Dance. With the loss, Alabama fell to 13-7 overall and 3-4 in conference play. The Crimson Tide have a chance to pick up a signature victory on Saturday as they travel to Lexington to face undefeated Kentucky. 

SEC men’s basketball rankings 

1. Kentucky (20-0, 7-0)

2. LSU (16-4, 5-2)

3. Arkansas (16-4, 5-2)

4. Georgia (14-5, 5-2)

5. Tex A&M (14-5, 5-2)

6. Tennessee (12-7, 4-3)

7. Ole Miss (12-7, 4-3)

8. Florida (11-9, 4-3)

9. Alabama (13-7, 3-4)

10. MSU (9-11, 2-4)

11. Vand. (11-9, 1-6)

12. Auburn (10-10, 2-5)

13. So. Car. (10-9, 1-6)

14. Missouri (7-13, 1-6)

Week 4 Previews and Predictions 

Week 3: 5-2

Saturday, Jan. 31

Auburn at Tennessee. Bruce Pearl makes his first return to Knoxville on Saturday since he was fired as Tennessee’s head basketball coach in 2011. Auburn is struggling in Pearl’s first year, but expectations weren’t necessarily high entering the season. Tennessee made the NCAA Tournament every year under Pearl but has only made it once since his departure. The Vols have a chance to make it back this season and cannot afford a loss to their former coach. Prediction: Tennessee 65, Auburn 53. 

Arkansas at Florida. Arkansas’s NCAA Tournament chances are in good shape right now, although the Razorbacks have had a few close calls in SEC play thus far. On the other hand, the Gators are in need of marquee victories – or any victories at this point – if they want a chance at playing in March. A win over Arkansas would be a great start for Billy Donovan’s crew. Prediction: Florida 73, Arkansas 70. 

LSU at Mississippi State. Despite a sluggish start to the season, the Bulldogs have gradually improved throughout the year. They’re still at least a year away from being relevant, but at least they’re competitive on most nights. LSU looks like a solid NCAA Tournament team at this point, but the Tigers need to avoid flirting with disaster like they have over the last week. Prediction: LSU 60, Mississippi State 57. 

Georgia at South Carolina. A month ago, it looked as if Frank Martin’s squad had turned the corner. However, conference play has not been kind to the Gamecocks. They have been close on numerous occasions but haven’t been able to win close games. Meanwhile, Georgia looks like it should be an NCAA Tournament team right now, but the Bulldogs still need to accumulate victories in league play. Prediction: Georgia 55, South Carolina 52. 

Ole Miss at Missouri. It seems as if Andy Kennedy and the Ole Miss Rebels are on the NCAA Tournament bubble every season. The Rebels are right on the line yet again, and cannot afford to lose to teams like Missouri. The Tigers are enduring a difficult season in Kim Anderson’s first year as head coach, and there aren’t many more wins on the horizon this season. Prediction: Ole Miss 71, Missouri 65.

Vanderbilt at Texas A&M. This is probably Billy Kennedy’s best team since he arrived in College Station. The Aggies have a real chance to make the NCAA Tournament, but need wins in order to reach that goal. A home loss to a reeling Vanderbilt squad would be devastating. Prediction: Texas A&M 67, Vanderbilt 60. 

Alabama at Kentucky. Alabama is yet another SEC team that’s on the tournament bubble right now, and the loss to Flo-rida didn’t help matters. It’s very unlikely that the Crimson Tide can beat Kentucky in Rupp Arena, but the schedule does lighten a little after this game. Kentucky has looked dominant for most of the year, although the Wildcats have looked somewhat lethargic in recent games. Prediction: Kentucky 75, Alabama 57.

Tuesday, Feb. 3

Kentucky 73, Georgia 62

Tennessee 63, Mississippi State 51

Florida 76, Vanderbilt 62

Arkansas 81, South Carolina 67

Wednesday, Feb. 4

Texas A&M 67, Ole Miss 64

Alabama 70, Missouri 57

Thursday, Feb. 5

LSU 72, Auburn 60

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