Sidelines with John Clay

SEC basketball status reports: Arkansas is heating up

SEC basketball status reports:

Tennessee (8-0): Road games? No problem for the top-ranked Volunteers. Tennessee won 92-70 at South Carolina on Tuesday. It won 93-76 at Texas A&M on Saturday. Rick Barnes’ team has scored 83 or more points in 11 of its last 13 games. Missouri should not be much trouble for UT in Knoxville on Tuesday. Florida comes to Thompson-Boling on Saturday. The Vols beat the Gators in Gainesville 78-67 on Jan. 12.

[Does this Tennessee team compare to Kentucky’s 1996 national champs?]

Kentucky (7-1): The Cats extended their win streak to eight straight games with road victories at Vanderbilt (87-52) and Florida (65-54). South Carolina comes to Rupp Arena on Tuesday night. If you haven’t heard, PJ Washington has recorded three straight double-doubles. John Calipari’s club goes to Starkville on Saturday for a rematch with Mississippi State. UK dominated the first matchup 76-55 on Jan. 22.

LSU (7-1): The Tigers had won 10 straight games before losing at home to Arkansas 90-89 on Saturday. That came four days after Tremont Waters scored 36 points in a 72-57 win at Texas A&M. Will Wade must take his team to Mississippi State on Wednesday. Auburn comes to the Pete Maravich Assembly Center on Saturday. So it’s a big week for the Bengals.

South Carolina (6-2): Even at home, the Gamecocks were no match for Tennessee on Tuesday, losing 92-70. They rebounded to beat Georgia 86-80 on Saturday. Chris Silva has led USC in scoring in four consecutive games. Now Frank Martin’s team faces Kentucky in Rupp on Tuesday. Arkansas visits South Carolina on Saturday.

Alabama (4-4): The Crimson Tide followed an impressive 83-79 win over Mississippi State on Tuesday by being smacked at archrival Auburn 84-63 on Saturday. Now 13-8 overall, Avery Johnson needs a run for a team. This week’s schedule should accommodate. Georgia comes to Tuscaloosa on Wednesday, then Bama visits Vanderbilt on Saturday.

Arkansas (4-4): The Razorbacks are playing much better. After starting 1-4 in the conference, Arkansas has won three straight including an upset 90-89 win over LSU in Baton Rouge on Saturday. It was LSU’s first league loss of the season. Vanderbilt comes to Fayetteville on Tuesday. The Hogs then travel to South Carolina on Saturday.

Auburn (4-4): Bruce Pearl may have the Tigers back on track. Auburn had a good week, whipping first Missouri 92-58 and then Alabama by 21 points. Bryce Brown scored 23 points in the win over the Tide. Florida comes to Auburn Arena for a big Tuesday matchup. Then Auburn is at LSU on Saturday. We should know more about Pearl’s squad in the next five days.

Florida (4-4): Part of the six-team logjam in the middle of the league standings, the Gators scored 90 points in overtime win over Ole Miss, then managed just 54 in an 11-point loss to visiting Kentucky. Mike White takes his team on the road this week. Tuesday night’s destination is Auburn. Then Saturday the Gators play No. 1-ranked Tennessee in Knoxville. Could be make-or-break.

Ole Miss (4-4): The wheels are coming off in Oxford, where the Rebels have lost four straight games, three of them league games. Ole Miss blew a late lead and lost at Florida 90-86 in overtime on Wednesday. Then archrival Mississippi State knocked off the Rebels in the Pavilion 81-75 on Saturday. Ole Miss will try to rebound Wednesday against Texas A&M. It visits Georgia on Saturday.

[SEC basketball game-by-game results and schedule]

Mississippi State (4-4): Quinndary Weatherspoon scored 27 points Saturday as the Bulldogs beat Ole Miss. That made up for Tuesday’s 81-75 loss at Alabama. Look out for Reggie Perry, the five-star freshman who appears to be figuring things out. Perry scored 18 points at Alabama. He grabbed 11 rebounds against Ole Miss. MSU gets LSU and Kentucky at home this week.

Missouri (2-6): In a battle to stay out of the conference basement, Mizzou beat visiting Vanderbilt 77-67 on Saturday. That followed a dreadful 34-point loss at Auburn on Wednesday. The Tigers are at Tennessee on Tuesday. That could get ugly. Texas A&M comes to Columbia on Saturday. That should be competitive.

Georgia (1-7): If only Tom Crean’s team could go back to playing non-conference games. The Bulldogs beat Texas 98-88 as part of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge, then returned to their losing ways with the return to league play. They lost first at Arkansas 70-60 on Tuesday, then at home to South Carolina 86-80 on Saturday. Georgia is at Alabama on Wednesday before Ole Miss comes to Athens on Saturday.

Texas A&M (1-7): The Aggies are like Georgia. Billy Kennedy’s club posted a big SEC/Big 12 Challenge win, besting Kansas State 65-53. They then followed with a pair of conference losses, falling 72-57 to LSU and 93-76 to top-ranked Tennessee. Both at home. Ole Miss is at College Station on Wednesday. Then A&M goes to Missouri on Saturday.

Vanderbilt (0-8): It’s just not getting any better for Bryce Drew and his Commodores. After Kentucky routed the ‘Dores by 35 points on Tuesday, they lost by 10 at Missouri. Now Vandy must travel to a suddenly hot Arkansas on Tuesday. Alabama comes to Music City on Saturday. The Commodores have to win at least one SEC game, don’t they?

SEC men’s basketball standings

S Carolina6-211-10
Miss State4-416-5
Ole Miss4-414-7
Texas A&M1-78-12
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