On the opening night of basketball season, almost everyone in the SEC came away with a win.
The conference favorite No. 3 Kentucky opened up its title defense against Maryland in the Brooklyn Nets' shiny new arena. The 'Cats narrowly came away with a 72-69 win after blowing a 13-point halftime lead. Kyle Wiltjer, the only guy from last year's rotation who is back, lead the team with 19 points and six rebounds. Heralded freshmen Nerlens Noel and Alex Poythress had solid debuts. The former had just four points but did grab nine rebounds, while the latter had eight points and seven boards. The freshman with the biggest night was Archie Goodwin, who had 16 points.
No. 10 Florida managed to get only a half of play in against Georgetown before condensation on the floor cancelled the game.
Like UK, Alabama also had a close escape. The Tide took one away from 2012 tournament team South Dakota State 70-67. The Jackrabbits' high scoring Nate Wolters got his 30 points and wingman Jordan Dykstra got 16, but the rest of the team was just 8-23 from the field. What won the game for the Tide was Trevor Lacey's buzzer-beating three pointer:
Much of the rest of the night's action was teams taking care of business against bad non-conference competition. Unfortunately, not too many of the wins were that impressive. Georgia edged Jacksonville 68-62, Tennessee held off Kennesaw State 76-67, Auburn beat IPFW 61-50, and Arkansas survived Sam Houston State 73-68. At least LSU took out UC-Santa Barbara by a nice 14-point margin 77-63, while Texas A&M did something similar to Louisiana Tech 71-59. The biggest blowout of the night was Ole Miss destroying Mississippi Valley State 93-57.
The lone loss of the night was a bad one with Mississippi State falling to Troy 56-53. While the game was at Troy, it's still really awful. That was not a good way for new head coach Rick Ray to get his tenure started.