Week of Feb. 20-26
Kentucky continues to roll
The Wildcats continued their conference dominance with a pair of wins over Missouri and Florida. Kentucky’s offense struggled with 17 turnovers against Mizzou, but freshman Bam Adebayo’s 22 points and career-high 15 rebounds lifted the Big Blue to a 72-62 win. Kentucky outmatched the Tigers in the frontcourt, which allowed Adebayo to go to work.
Kentucky was challenged at home by the Gators. These two squads were fighting for the top spot in the conference and gave the fans a show. Freshman star Malik Monk, exploded in the second half, scoring 30 of his 33 points in the second frame. Adebayo added 18 points and matched his rebound total from Tuesday with 15 boards. The conference title is Kentucky’s to lose with two games remaining on the schedule.
Vanderbilt extends win streak to four
The ‘Dores earned back-to-back wins to put themselves on the map for a spot in the Big Dance. Vanderbilt’s defense held the Vols to under 30 percent shooting from the field to lead them to a double-digit victory. This is the third year in a row the Commodores have beaten Tennessee in Knoxville, which hasn’t been done since 1955-57. Senior Luke Kornet, recorded a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Vanderbilt had a blowout win against Mississippi State on Saturday, 77-48. Forward Jeff Roberson scored a career-high 23 points with five 3-pointers. The final stretch for the Commodores is against the top two teams in the conference with Kentucky and Florida. A win against one of these teams all but solidifies a spot for Vandy in the NCAA Tournament.
South Carolina stumbling down the stretch
South Carolina dropped to the fourth spot in the conference during the week with a loss against Florida, but avoided consecutive losses with a home victory against Tennessee.
South Carolina’s defense suffered against Florida. The Gamecocks allowed the Gators to shoot 49 percent from the field and 9 of 19 from behind the arc. This was South Carolina’s third loss in a row after what looked what to be a three-way race for the top spot in the SEC.
The Gamecocks got back on the winning side at home against Tennessee. They held the Vols to just one 3-pointer and forced 20 turnovers. South Carolina used everyone on the bench to earn an 82-55 win. It was almost panic time in Columbia when the losses started piling up, reminiscent of last year when they lost five of the last eight games to drop out of the NCAA Tournament. This win was huge for the Gamecocks to stay in the top four of the SEC and get the confidence back before the tournament.
Alabama Crimson Tide – L 60-55 vs Georgia, L 56-53 at Texas A&M
Arkansas Razorbacks – W 86-77 vs Texas A&M, W 79-68 at Auburn
Auburn Tigers – W 98-75 at LSU, L 79-68 vs Arkansas
Florida Gators – W 81-66 vs South Carolina, L 76-66 at Kentucky
Georgia Bulldogs – W 60-55 at Alabama, W 82-80 vs LSU
Kentucky Wildcats – W 72-62 at Missouri, W 76-66 vs Florida
LSU Tigers – L 98-75 vs Auburn, L 82-80 at Georgia
Mississippi State Bulldogs – L 87-82 vs Ole Miss, L 77-48 at Vanderbilt
Missouri Tigers – L 72-62 vs Kentucky, L 80-77 at Ole Miss
Ole Miss Rebels – W 87-82 at Mississippi State, W 80-77 vs Missouri
South Carolina Gamecocks – L 81-66 at Florida, W 82-55 vs Tennessee
Tennessee Volunteers – L 67-56 vs Vanderbilt, L 82-55 at South Carolina
Texas A&M Aggies – L 86-77 at Arkansas, W 56-53 vs Alabama
Vanderbilt Commodores – W 67-56 at Tennessee, W 77-48 vs Mississippi State
Edited by Robert Hughes
Featured image by Brad Blackwelder