July 14, 2024

SEC men’s basketball reactions of the week

This was an exciting week in the SEC, full of surprising teams on the rise and others falling away. Much more excitement is soon to come as the SEC and NCAA Tournaments near.

Photo by Brad Blackwelder

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee redshirt senior forward #21 Lew Evans sighs after a foul call during the Vols' game against Missouri on Feb. 18, 2017, in Thompson-Boling Arena.

Tennessee loses two straight in SEC play to shatter NCAA Tournament hopes

The first loss this week for the Vols was 67-56 to a hot Vanderbilt team that had won two straight, and the second loss was 82-55 to a dominant South Carolina team. Robert Hubbs III was the leading scorer for the Vols in both games with 16 points in each contest.

The Vols could not afford any more losses in SEC play this week to keep hopes alive for an NCAA tournament bid. Dreams were shattered for an NCAA spot, but not for the NIT. This Tennessee team is very young and was picked to finish next-to-last in the SEC, but these Volunteers have stepped up in big games this season and had a realistic shot to make the Big Dance. Mistakes have been made and experience gained, so the SEC better watch out for these rising stars in years to come.

Kentucky takes charge of SEC with win against Florida

Freshman phenom Malik Monk went off against No. 13 Florida on Saturday. After scoring only three points in the first half, Monk exploded for 30 more in the second. Bam Adebayo also added 18 points and 15 rebounds as No. 11 Kentucky rallied back for the impressive win.

The Wildcats now move into sole possession of first place in the SEC after the win over Florida. This Kentucky team can be very dangerous at times with its outstanding guards and their astonishing big men, but they have also had lapses in focus and determination which can cost them dearly down the road.

Vandy continues to surprise

Vanderbilt has been a surprising team as of late, accruing four straight SEC wins to move themselves into seventh place in the SEC with a 9-7 conference record. These four wins include Texas A&M, No. 21 South Carolina, Tennessee and Mississippi State. Jeff Roberson has stepped up as the leading scorer in their last two victories with 15 points against the Vols and 23 against the Bulldogs. It was all Vanderbilt on Saturday against Mississippi State as the Commodores routed the Bulldogs 77-48.

Vanderbilt has two important games left to play for a chance to go to the NCAA Tournament. The first is on the road at Rupp Arena on to face the No. 11 Kentucky Wildcats and the second is at home against the No. 13 Florida Gators. Both games are must-wins for the Commodores to go beyond bubble talk and reach their goal.

Other scores from this weekend

Ole Miss 80, Missouri 77

Georgia 82, LSU 80

Texas A&M 56, Alabama 53

Arkansas 79, Auburn 68

Edited by Robert Hughes

Featured image by Brad Blackwelder