Alabama Crimson Tide
OVERALL: 10-7 (9-0 H, 1-3 A, 0-4 N)
SEC: 2-1 (1-0 H, 1-1 A, 0-0 N)
Alabama returns home to host Kentucky in its fourth SEC game of the season and second SEC home game. The Crimson Tide is a perfect 9-0 at home this season and has won 10 straight home games dating back to last season. Alabama has only trailed for 8:49 of the 360 total minutes played at home this season. On Saturday, UA suffered its first SEC loss of the season in a 70-65 defeat at Arkansas to fall to 2-1 in the league and 10-7 overall. Tuesday’s game will pit the SEC’s top scoring offense in Kentucky (80.0 ppg) against the league’s top scoring defense in Alabama (56.8 ppg). The Tide has won five of its last six games and Arkansas is the only opponent during that span to score more than 60 points. In its three SEC games, Alabama is allowing 0.84 points per possession and is allowing just 0.82 overall this season, tying for the top mark in the nation with Nebraska. Additionally, opponents are converting on just 35.8 percent of their field goals, the third best percentage in the nation. Alabama and Kentucky meet for the 136th time and the 50th time in Tuscaloosa. The teams are the two winningest SEC programs with 1,588 combined SEC wins between the two programs. JaMychal Green has led Alabama in SEC play with 17.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. He is shooting 40-of-73 (.548) from the field in his last five games. Since returning to the lineup eight games ago, Green has averaged 16.7 points and 8.8 rebounds per game while shooting 52.9 percent from the field and 73.7 percent from the free-throw line. Freshman point guard Trevor Releford led all scorers with 17 points at Arkansas and is averaging 12.3 points on 58.3 percent shooting with 3.0 assists per game against SEC foes.
OVERALL: 12-4 (11-1 H, 0-2 A, 1-1 N)
SEC: 2-1 (2-0 H, 0-1 A, 0-0 N)
With a victory over Alabama at Bud Walton Arena on Saturday Arkansas moved to 12-4 overall and 2-1 in Southeastern Conference play which places it in a four-way tie atop the SEC’s Western Division. Arkansas opened last week with its first SEC road game, losing 56-53 to the LSU Tigers. Marshawn Powell led the way with 15 points as the Razorbacks were unable to overcome a tough first half shooting the ball. Saturday’s win over Alabama also saw a furious Arkansas comeback effort. The Razorbacks did not take their first lead in the game until two minutes remained in the contest and a pair of steals late by the Hogs sealed the victory. Powell again led the Razorbacks in scoring with 17 points while Delvon Johnson added three blocks and 14 points, all in the second half. The Razorbacks are on the road this week with a game at South Carolina on Wednesday followed by another at Florida on Saturday. The South Carolina game is scheduled for 7 p.m. central and will be televised by the SEC Network while Saturday’s contest is also a 7 p.m. central start and televised by Fox Sports Net.
OVERALL: 7-10 (7-6 H, 0-3 A, 0-1 N)
SEC: 0-3 (0-1 H, 0-2 A, 0-0 N)
Mississippi State shot 62 percent from the field and jumped on Auburn early to defeat the Tigers 85-66 behind 21 points from Ravern Johnson in Humphrey Coliseum on Sunday. The Bulldogs had a 22-3 lead nine minutes into the game and were never threatened by the Tigers. The closest Auburn (7-10, 0-3 SEC) would get the rest of the way was 12 points in the second half. The Tigers fell behind by as much as 30-9 before ending the half down 41-22. Mississippi State (10-7, 2-1 SEC) pushed its lead to 46-23 and then led 53-36 before Auburn scored five straight points behind a layup and 3-pointer both by Earnest Ross to close to within 53-41 with 13:50 remaining. The Bulldogs grew their lead to as much as 68-43 with 7:55 left. Earnest Ross led Auburn with 15 points, six rebounds and four steals, but went 5-of-17 from the field, 2-of-9 from 3-point range and 3-of-7 from the free throw line. Kenny Gabriel added 14 points and seven boards while freshman Chris Denson scored a season-high 12 points off the bench on 4-of-6 shooting from the field, including 2-of-4 from 3-point range. Josh Wallace added 10 points, five assists and three steals. Renardo Sidney had 15 points and six rebounds for Mississippi State. Auburn shot 35.8 percent from the field for the game, including 25.0 percent in the first half. The Tigers went 7-of-23 (.304) from 3-point range and 11-of-24 (.458) from the foul line. Mississippi State made 7-of-17 (.412) from behind the arc and 16-of-26 (.615) free throws. The Bulldogs had 20 assists on 31 baskets. Auburn returns to action with two games in three days in Auburn Arena beginning on Thursday at 6 pm Central vs. Florida on ESPN.
OVERALL: 13-4 (8-3 H, 3-0 A, 2-1 N)
SEC: 2-1 (1-1 H, 1-0 A, 0-0 N)
The University of Florida fell to 13-4 on the season and 2-1 in SEC play with a 72-69 loss to South Carolina. It was the 11th time in the last 13 meetings between the two that the two schools played to within six points of each other. The Gators rallied from 13 points down to tie the game late but could not complete the comeback, plagued by giving up too many offensive rebounds and second chance points and missing free throws - the Gators hit just 12-22 on the day and were 0-3 in the final four minutes missing the front end of a 1-and-1 and two FTs that would have completed three-point plays. Erving Walker scored 17 points to lead the Gators while Vernon Macklin and Patric Young had 12 apiece. Macklin added 10 rebounds for his second double-double of the season. Walker continued a torrid pace that has seen him average 17.3 ppg over the last eight outings. He is hitting 44.4 percent from three-point range in that stretch after going 3-6 on Saturday. The Gators return to action on Thursday night at Auburn where they will look for their eighth straight regular season win over the SEC West. UF is 51-16 since 2000 against the West.
OVERALL: 13-3 (8-0 H, 4-1 A, 1-2 N)
SEC: 2-1 (1-0 H, 1-1 A, 0-0 N)
Georgia starts a 3-game homestand Tuesday night when it entertains Tennessee. The Bulldogs begin this week with a 13-3 record, 2-1 in SEC games, after splitting a pair of road contests last week. Most recently, they turned in the offensive highlight of the season to date when they defeated Ole Miss 98-76 in Oxford on Saturday. To find an equal offensive performance by a Georgia team against an SEC foe, one much reach back quite a ways. Not since 1995 has a Bulldog team scored that many points in a league contest (101 vs. Florida). Not since 2001 has Georgia tallied 53 points in a half against an SEC team. Not since 1998 as Georgia shot free throws that well in an SEC contest (26x27). And finally, not since early in the 2003-04 season had Georgia placed all five starters in double figures before last Saturday. Georgia’s 13-3 record at this mid-season juncture is the program’s best since the 2002-03 season. Not coicidentally, it was the last time a Bulldog team was ranked in the nation’s weekly polls. These two programs split their regular-season series last year, Georgia taking a 78-63 victory in Athens before Tennessee won the return matchup in Knoxville 25 days later. Georgia’s victory last Jan. 23 stopped a 10-game Tennessee victory streak in this series. This year’s Bulldogs also became just the third Georgia squad in 30 years to go undefeated in the month of December. The other two? Perhaps the two best teams in UGA history: 1982-83 and 2002-03. Georgia had spent all of December playing a 5-game diet of teams whose average RPI rating is 259. During that time, its own RPI rating dropped from near 40 to near 60, despite winning all five games. The Bulldogs have begun to experience a large upgrade in schedule difficulty. Tuesday’s game is the fourth in a 4-game series during which their opponents have an average RPI of 26.
OVERALL: 14-3 (9-0 H, 2-2 A, 3-1 N)
SEC: 2-1 (2-0 H, 0-1 A, 0-0 N)
Kentucky is 27-0 at Rupp Arena under Coach John Calipari. UK has won 28 in a row at home, beginning with the 2009 NIT game at Memorial Coliseum and continuing with the last 26 at Rupp. It is the third-longest active streak in the nation. LSU shot 26.2 percent from the field, UK’s best defensive figure of the season. UK is 10-0 this season when holding the opponent under 40 percent from the field. UK is 14-0 this season when holding the opponent under 70 points. Kentucky won the battle of the backboards, 50-42. UK is 13-0 this season when outrebounding the opponent. Five Wildcats scored in double figures, the fourth time that has happened this season. Kentucky has made at least one three-point shot in 766 consecutive games.
OVERALL: 10-8 (8-3 H, 2-3 A, 0-2 N)
SEC: 2-1 (1-0 H, 1-1 A, 0-0 N)
The Tigers play just one game this week with the mid-week bye and will face Ole Miss Saturday at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in the first game of the SEC Network doubleheader at 12:30 p.m. CST. LSU is 2-1 after splitting games last week, downing Arkansas at home and losing on the road at Kentucky. Garrett Green had double figure games in both contests, both off the bench, playing 34 minutes against Arkansas to record his second double double in an eight-game period with 10 points and 10 rebounds, while against Kentucky he played 26 minutes and had 13 points and nine boards, including career best two three-point field goals in the game. Green has had all six of his LSU career double figure scoring games in the last eight contests and leads the team in scoring and rebounding in SEC play with an average of 13.7 points per game and 8.0 rebounds a game. Matt Derenbecker, who has started the three conference games for the injured Ralston Turner, is averaging 10.3 points per game in the conference play. This will be the final home game in January for LSU, who leads the Ole Miss series by a 116-82 count and a 74-28 advantage in games played in Baton Rouge. Ole Miss swept both games last year.
Ole Miss Rebels
OVERALL: 12-6 (8-3 H, 2-2 A, 2-1 N)
SEC: 0-3 (0-2 H, 0-1 A, 0-0 N)
Ole Miss enters a two-game road swing with a 12-6 overall record and 0-3 mark in SEC play. After Saturday's 98-76 defeat to No. 24 Georgia in Oxford, the Rebels are 0-3 in league play for the first time since the 2004 season. The last time Ole Miss started 0-4 was in 2000, when the team lost its first five conference games but still went on to earn an NIT postseason berth. Georgia was the first ranked opponent Ole Miss has faced this season. Zach Graham collected his second 20-point game of the season with 21 against the Bulldogs. Chris Warren continues to lead the Rebels in scoring at 18.4 ppg, which ranks fourth in the SEC. Ole Miss travels to Vanderbilt on Wednesday and LSU on Saturday before returning home next Saturday against Tennessee.
Mississippi State Bulldogs
OVERALL: 10-7 (8-3 H, 1-1 A, 1-3 N)
SEC: 2-1 (1-1 H, 1-0 A, 0-0 N)
Sunday’s game against Auburn was the 500th in Humphrey Coliseum history. With the win, Mississippi State now owns a 362-138 ledger at the Hump. Against the Tigers, MSU led at halftime for the first time since playing San Diego in Hawaii on Dec. 23. The Bulldogs are now 5-1 when shooting 45 percent or better. MSU shot a season-best 62 percent from the floor against the Tigers, marking the first time it’s eclipsed 60 percent since shooting 63 percent against Wright State on 12-16-09. The Bulldogs also had 11 different players score against Auburn, the most this season. The nine dunks were also a season high. Junior guard Dee Bost is now just 92 points shy of becoming the 33rd player in school history to score 1,000 points for a career. With 8 assists against Auburn, Dee Bost now has 365 for his career, the sixth most in school history. Ravern Johnson now has 1,264-career points, the 17th most in school history. The Bulldogs are two home wins shy of winning at least 10 for the 13th time with Rick Stansbury at the helm.
South Carolina Gamecocks
OVERALL: 11-5 (9-1 H, 2-4 A, 0-0 N)
SEC: 2-1 (1-0 H, 1-1 A, 0-0 N)
South Carolina split a pair of SEC road contests last week, suffering a 57-47 loss at Alabama on Wednesday before rebounding with a convincing 72-69 win at Florida on Saturday. Carolina hit season lows with just 16 shots made for a 28.6 (16-56) field goal percentage vs. the Crimson Tide. The Gamecocks rebounded with a win at Florida on Saturday, leading the majority of the contest, including a 10-point advantage at halftime . South Carolina out-rebounded Florida 39-36. The Gators entered the matchup leading the SEC in rebounding margin (+7.3). The Gamecocks have now out-rebounded 11 of 16 opponents this season. Carolina collected 14 offensive rebounds in the contest, just below its season average of 14.4 per game. Sophomore forward Lakeem Jackson tallied a team high three offensive rebounds vs. the Gators. Freshman point guard Bruce Ellington tallied his sixth 20-point effort of the season with 23 points vs. Florida. It marked the seventh time this season Ellington has led, or shared the team lead, in scoring. His 23 points marked his second-highest point total of the season (season high of 31 vs. Furman). Senior forward Sam Muldrow blocked three shots in the contest. He has now blocked 25 shots in the last four games for a 6.25 blocks per game average during the stretch. South Carolina newcomers accounted for 48 of the 72 Gamecock points scored in the contest (Ellington 23, Richardson 10, Harris 8, Cooke 7). The Gamecocks begin a three-game homestand hosting Arkansas on Wednesday.
OVERALL: 11-6 (8-4 H, 0-2 A, 3-0 N)
SEC: 1-2 (1-1 H, 0-1 A, 0-0 N)
The Tennessee Volunteers (11-6, 1-2 SEC) split a pair of games last week. The Vols fell in overtime to Florida on Tuesday before overcoming a 17-point deficit to defeat Vanderbilt 67-64 on Saturday with ESPN College GameDay broadcasting live from Thompson-Boling Arena. Tennessee improved to 3-1 in GameDay matchups over the last four seasons, and its four straight regular-season appearances in a Gameday matchup gives UT the nation’s longest active streak of appearances on the popular franchise. The Volunteers are 1-2 thus far in games in which associate head coach is serving as “acting head coach” in the absence of Bruce Pearl, who was suspended for UT’s first eight SEC games by league commissioner Mike Slive. Tennessee travels to Athens, Ga., to face Georgia Tuesday night at Stegeman Coliseum (7 p.m. ET, ESPNU), and Pearl returns to the sidelines Saturday as the Vols break from conference play by traveling to Hartford, Conn., to play UConn at the XL Center (2 p.m. ET, CBS).
OVERALL: 12-4 (9-0 H, 1-3 A, 2-1 N)
SEC: 1-2 (1-0 H, 0-2 A, 0-0 N)
Vanderbilt went 1-1 on the week with a win over Georgia at Memorial Gym on Wednesday and a loss at Tennessee on Saturday. Commodores are now 0-2 on the road in league play this year, although Vanderbilt led by as many as 14 at South Carolina and 17 at Tennessee. Sophomore John Jenkins led the team with 19.5 points for the two games and 5-for-12 from three on the week. Vanderbilt moved to 9-0 in games played and 1-0 in SEC games at Memorial Gym with the win over Georgia. The Commodores have been outscored 123-102 in the second half in the last three games, and have been outrebounded 70-48, including 37-15 on the offensive glass. Festus Ezeli surpassed the 100-block mark in his career after tying his career-high in blocks with six against Tennessee; he now has 104 in his career. Against Tennessee, Brad Tinsley matched a career-high six rebounds against an SEC opponent and also had a season-high three three-point field goals, topping his previous best of two.