Sitting atop the SEC standings with a 5-1 record, you will find the Kentucky Wildcats Florida Gators Vanderbilt Commodores Alabama Crimson Tide.
Yep, that’s right. Second year head coach Anthony Grant has his team playing some fantastic defense. Granted, the schedule outside of Kentucky has been soft, but the Tide have a two game lead in the loss column in the West and look to have no intention of giving it up.
With their latest win, a 70-46 shellacking of LSU, ‘Bama has run its overall record to 13-7, but the battle to get back into contention for an NCAA Tournament berth is still significantly uphill. Buried in the 100′s in the RPI with literally no quality wins out of conference, it’s going to take some kind of ridiculous finish to pull it off. However, with how teams in the East figure to cannibalize themselves, is there a chance that Alabama could actually win the regular season title?
Notable Results from the Week That Was
Florida 104 Georgia 91 (2OT) – Wednesday
Erving Walker nailed a 30 foot three pointer with time expiring in the first overtime to send this one to another five minutes, which seemed to deflate the home standing Bulldogs, because Florida blitzed UGA in the second OT.
It was the second straight Tuesday heart breaker for the Bulldogs, who put themselves in a position of needing to knock off UK in Lexington in order to avoid an 0-2 week. Georgia was unable to beat Kentucky and now is probably on the outside looking in on the NCAA Tournament as of right now.
Mississippi State 71 #24 Florida 64
The talented but underachieving Bulldogs fell short in a Thursday night game against Vandy in their bid for an upset, but the second time around on Saturday worked out a bit better. Dee Bost was a little beat up after a Festus Ezeli elbow to the face, but he showed no ill effects. His 24 points and five assists played a major role.
Florida had a step on the rest of the difficult East division before this weekend, but the Gators gave up ground by dropping this one.
Arkansas 89 #19 Vanderbilt 78
File this one under the “WHAT??” result of the week. It would have been one thing for Vandy to drop one in Fayetteville, but dropping on in Memorial Gymnasium is another thing entirely. Rotnei Clarke led the way with 36 points for Arkansas and Vandy had no one who could keep him from getting his shots up. The guy playing second fiddle? Michael Sanchez. Not sure any one saw that coming. Sanchez had more points on Saturday (20) than he had all season up to that point.
Arkansas 73 Auburn 64
Tennessee 75 LSU 53
Vanderbilt 81 Mississippi State 74
Auburn 79 South Carolina 64 (huh?)
Kentucky 66 Georgia 60
Tennessee 74 Ole Miss 58
Alabama 70 LSU 46
Games of the Week That Will Be
#19 Vanderbilt @ #24 Florida – Tuesday 9 PM, ESPN
These are a couple of the contenders in the SEC East, and also a couple teams that are coming off of disappointing upset losses over the weekend. Vandy is 1-2 on the road in SEC play so far this year and the O-Dome is no easy place to break a bad road spell.
Alabama @ Tennessee – Saturday 5 PM, FSN
Don’t look now, but Tennessee is back on track having won four straight in conference play with Bruce Pearl just a week and half away from returning from his suspension. Alabama has another winnable game during the week at home against Mississippi State, so they could be 6-1 when they head to Knoxville.
#14 Kentucky @ #24 Florida – Saturday 9 PM, ESPN
Gainesville is the College Gameday site this week, so you can be sure the environment for this one will be electric, especially since first place in the East could well be on the line. Florida has Vandy at home during the week, so a 2-0 week could put them firmly in the driver’s seat.
South Carolina @ LSU – Wednesday 8 PM, SEC Network
Mississippi State @ Alabama – Wednesday 8 PM, SEC Network
Georgia @ Arkansas – Wednesday 9 PM, CSS
Tennessee @ Auburn – Thursday TBD, ESPN
Auburn @ Georgia – Saturday 1:30 PM, SEC Network
South Carolina @ Vanderbilt – Saturday 1:30 PM, SEC Network
Mississippi State @ LSU – Saturday 4 PM, SEC Network
Ole Miss @ Arkansas – Saturday 6 PM, ESPN
1. Kentucky 16-4 (4-2) – Two road tests this week could be telling
2. Florida 16-5 (5-2) – Will they capitalize on two opportunities for resume wins?
3. Tennessee 14-7 (4-2) – They seem to have turned the corner
4. Vanderbilt 15-5 (3-3) – I can’t in good conscience put them higher after Arkansas loss
5. Alabama 13-7 (5-1) – They keep on winning
6. Georgia 14-6 (3-4) – Good chance for a bounce back week against Arkansas, Auburn
7. Arkansas 14-6 (4-3) – I just don’t know what to make of them
8. Mississippi State 11-9 (3-3) – Last two games were probably their best back to back performances of the year
9. South Carolina 12-7 (3-3) – Two road losses next week could send them free falling
10. Ole Miss 13-8 (1-5) – Win over LSU is their only one in SEC play
11. LSU 10-11 (2-4) – They’ve lost four straight by nearly 28 per game
12. Auburn 8-13 (1-6) – I have no idea what happened in Columbia
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