It’s now that time of year again. Basketball has returned and it looks better and more interesting than ever.
Kentucky has continued to impress, as usual. However, teams like South Carolina have proven that possibly the SEC could be more dangerous than expected. This past week was filled with big plays and upsets in the SEC, as the conference had a combined record of 17-13.
Kentucky continues to dominate
Coach John Calipari and the top-ranked Wildcats improved their record to 6-0 on the year after recording wins over Cleveland State (101-70) and Tennessee-Martin (111-76).
Star freshman Malik Monk continued his impressive season by scoring a combined 49 points over the two games. The ball movement has been phenomenal for Kentucky, as they have had over 100 assists over the past six games. As a result, four Wildcats players are averaging double digits in points. Kentucky has also gotten help from six-foot-ten big-man “Bam” Adebayo, who had a combined 29 points and 19 rebounds in the last two games. The Wildcats have made it clear that this is not your average Kentucky team.
South Carolina surprise
The Gamecocks improved to a 6-0 record on the season after upsetting two ranked teams this past week. South Carolina upset No. 25 Michigan 61-46 at home and No. 18 Syracuse 64-50 on the road.
Sindarius Thornwell has been the bright spot for South Carolina and had a combined 37 points and 26 rebounds in the two upsets. Against Michigan, Thornwell scored 21 points on 8-12 shooting and currently leads the team in averaged points, rebounds and assists. Senior guard Duane Notice helped on the scoring side for the South Carolina as he had 20 points and eight rebounds over the two games
The Gamecocks defense played great this past week. Against Michigan, they held the Wolverines to just 10-52 from the floor shooting and forced 16 turnovers. In the second game against Syracuse, South Carolina held them to 14-44 shooting and forced 17 turnovers. The Gamecocks also out-rebounded both opponents.
Tennessee holds their own in Maui
Rick Barnes and the Volunteers now have a 2-3 record after losing two of three tough games in the Maui Invitational this past week. Tennessee’s first game came against the No. 16 Wisconsin Badgers, where the Volunteers fell short, 74-62. The second game was against No. 13 Oregon, where Tennessee lost 69-65 in overtime. However, the Vols recovered by beating the Hawaiian-native Chaminade, 95-81.
Against Wisconsin, even though they fell short, Tennessee showed how well they respond to adversity as they overcame a 17 point deficit to take the lead in the second half. Sophomore guard Shembari Phillips led the Volunteers in scoring with 16, 10 of which came in the second half. Big contributions also came from Detrick Mostella and senior Robert Hubbs who both had double digits scoring.
In the overtime loss to Oregon, Tennessee’s Detrick Mostella had another great outing, scoring a team-high 22 points. Freshman John Fulkerson also helped the Vols by recording the first double-double by a Tennessee freshman since Jarnell Stokes in 2012.
After dropping the previous two games, the Vols had a nice showing against Chaminade, beating them 95-81. Hubbs once again had a big game as he had a career-high 28 points as Tennessee shot over 50 percent from the field. Mostella had 14 points in the game, making him the leading scorer for the Vols at the Maui.
Though Tennessee has been struggling, the future is bright for the young team, who only have three players on the roster that are upperclassmen.
Alabama Crimson Tide – L 68-60 vs Valparaiso, W 62-57 vs Saint Louis
Arkansas Razorbacks – L 85-71 vs Minnesota
Auburn Tigers – W 67-65 vs Texas Tech, L 96-71 vs Purdue
Florida Gators – W 78-61 vs Belmont, W 81-67 vs Seton Hall, L 77-72 vs Gonzaga
Georgia Bulldogs – W 81-73 vs George Washington, L 65-54 vs Kansas, W 77-59 vs Gardner-Webb
Kentucky Wildcats – W 101-70 vs Cleveland State, W 111-76 vs Tennessee-Martin
LSU Tigers – L 82-47 vs Wichita State, W 66-60 vs Old Dominion, L 85-74 vs VCU
Mississippi State Bulldogs – L 87-73 vs Lehigh
Missouri Tigers – W 84-60 vs Northwestern State
Ole Miss Rebels – L 86-77 vs Creighton, W 86-81 vs Montana
South Carolina Gamecocks – W 61-46 vs Michigan, W 64-50 vs Syracuse
Tennessee Volunteers – L 74-62 vs Wisconsin, L 69-65 vs Oregon, W 95-81 vs Chaminade
Texas A&M Aggies – W 95-73 vs CS Northridge, W 68-65 vs Virginia Tech
Vanderbilt Commodores – L 75-72 vs Bucknell, L 76-66 vs Butler, W 76-66 vs Santa Clara
Edited by David Bradford
Featured image by Parker Eldson, courtesy of Tennessee Athletics