In & around SEC men’s basketball

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Alabama week in review

The Crimson Tide’s finish to the regular season isn’t exactly the ending Anthony Grant needed for his future in Tuscaloosa. Alabama lost back-to-back games to Vanderbilt and Ole Miss, and Grant is now firmly planted on the hot seat. It is unclear whether Alabama Athletic Director Bill Battle will move on from Grant, but if the Tide loses at Texas A&M and early on in the SEC Tournament, he might not have much of a choice. Alabama fell to 17-13 overall and 7-10 in league play.

Auburn week in review 

Bruce Pearl’s inaugural season in Auburn cannot end soon enough. The Tigers have been inconsistent all season, but that was to be expected with a roster void of high-caliber talent. However, aside from a close loss at Missouri, Auburn has been beaten badly the last few weeks. Guard Antoine Mason has missed the last several games due to the death of his father, former New York Knicks star Anthony Mason, and his absence from the lineup has been noticeable. Regardless of how the Tigers fare against Georgia on Saturday, they will be playing in the opening round of the SEC Tournament in Nashville next Wednesday, likely against either South Carolina or Mississippi State. Auburn is 12-18 overall and 4-13 in conference play. 

SEC men’s basketball rankings 

1. Kentucky (30-0, 17-0)

2. Arkansas (23-6, 12-4)

3. LSU (21-8, 10-6)

4. Ole Miss (20-10, 11-6)

5. Georgia (19-10, 10-7)

6. Texas A&M (20-9, 11-6)

7. Florida (15-15, 8-9)

8. Vanderbilt (17-12, 7-9)

9. Alabama (17-13, 7-10)

10. Tennessee (14-14, 6-10)

11. South Carolina (14-14, 5-11)

12. Mississippi State (12-17, 5-11)

13. Auburn (12-18, 4-13)

14. Missouri (9-21, 3-14)

Week 9 Previews and Predictions 

Week 8: 9-2; season: 51-19

Saturday, March 7

Alabama at Texas A&M. Despite boasting an 11-6 conference record, the Aggies still have some work to do to feel good about their NCAA Tournament chances. Texas A&M doesn’t have many great wins, but also does not have many bad losses. If the tournament started this weekend, the Aggies would likely be a No. 11 seed. Prediction: Texas A&M 67, Alabama 62. 

Florida at Kentucky. The Wildcats are only 10 games away from perfection. Kentucky should easily defeat Florida in Lexington, and from there it’s all tournament play. The ‘Cats will have three games in the SEC Tournament and six in the NCAA Tournament. Prediction: Kentucky 71, Florida 57. 

LSU at Arkansas. Both teams are likely in the NCAA Tournament field at this point. Arkansas is a lock to make the field, and the Razorbacks could possibly be as high as a four seed. LSU has been on the bubble for much of the season but recently has started playing better than the Tigers have all year. Prediction: Arkansas 75, LSU 70.

Georgia at Auburn. Auburn upset Georgia in Athens a few weeks ago, but since then the Bulldogs have played very well. The Dawgs won road games at Alabama and Ole Miss and had a strong outing against Kentucky. Georgia is likely in the NCAA Tournament field as a No. 9 or 10 seed at this point, but probably needs to avoid another loss to Auburn. Prediction: Georgia 66, Auburn 60.

South Carolina at Tennessee. Neither team is making the NCAA Tournament, but Tennessee can avoid playing on the opening day of the SEC Tournament with a win over the Gamecocks. Prediction: Tennessee 62, South Carolina 53. 

Missouri at Mississippi State. If the Bulldogs defeat the Tigers, there’s a chance they can receive a first round bye in the SEC Tournament. Prediction: Mississippi State 68, Missouri 63. 

Vanderbilt at Ole Miss. The Rebels ended a two-game losing skid with a win over Alabama last week, and that was enough for them to feel good about their NCAA Tournament chances. Right now, Ole Miss is somewhere between a No. 9 nine and No. 11 seed, and that could improve with a strong finish to the season. Prediction: Ole Miss 74, Vanderbilt 70.

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