This past week featured a lot of late game drama. It began on Tuesday with Kentucky escaping from Baton Rouge with a 71-69 win. On Wednesday, Tennessee barely held off Vanderbilt 76-73 in overtime. Thursday then brought a buzzer-beating three from Ole Miss that vanquished Florida 62-61.
If that wasn't enough, Saturday brought three more games decided by a single point. Auburn clipped Georgia 69-68, Texas A&M outlasted Florida 63-62, and Arkansas edged Ole Miss 71-70. There would have been a fourth such game had Missouri not fouled Mississippi State's Craig Sword, who made two free throws with a second to go, in MSU's 77-74 win over the Tigers. This was a harrowing week to be an SEC basketball fan.
TEAM OF THE WEEK: Arkansas
I really only had two choices here, as Kentucky and Arkansas are the only teams that went 2-0 last week. Since the 'Cats have their own regular feature, I'll give it to the Razorbacks. They earned it, anyway. The Hogs became the first team to top 100 points in SEC play in their 101-87 win over Auburn on Tuesday. They then got a nice win in taking down Ole Miss by a point over the weekend. It's not easy to beat the Rebels these days, so that's a great result. It's the second team of the week honor for Arkansas, after it got it in Week 1 as well.
NOT TEAM OF THE WEEK: Missouri
I feel bad for singling out the poor Tigers, who have been struggling for a while. Still though, they had games against two teams from the bottom of the league in South Carolina and Mississippi State. They ended up on the losing side both times, 65-60 to the Gamecocks and 77-74 to the Bulldogs. Mizzou does have its increasingly nonsensical upset of LSU to rest on, but this week seemed to be a chance to pick up a second conference win. No dice.
(Dis?)honorable mention goes to Florida, which suffered a pair of heartbreakers with a one-point loss to Ole Miss and a one-point loss to Texas A&M in a span of three days. That's going to leave a mark.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Michael Qualls, Arkansas
The junior guard for the Razorbacks had a nice week statistically, scoring 19 points in the big win over Auburn and leading his team with 15 point and nine boards in the win over Ole Miss. More than that, he was big down the stretch in that close win over the Rebels. He had four points and three rebounds inside the final five minutes of that game—both the most of any Razorback—and he hauled in the board that secured the possession for the game winning shot. Not bad work, I'd say.
TOURNAMENT BID QUEST: Hanging in there
Kentucky is a lock. Arkansas will be soon if it isn't already. Despite gacking one up big time on Saturday, Georgia is probably fine thanks to a great RPI value. Ole Miss is presently on the right side of the bubble and hasn't done anything to hurt itself in two months. The SEC can probably count on those four getting bids barring a rash of bad losses for the Bulldogs and/or Rebels.
Texas A&M and LSU are on less stable ground, and they are hanging in there. The Aggies exit the week no better or worse off, really, after falling to Georgia but beating Florida. The Bayou Bengals missed a great opportunity to beat Kentucky, but they at least maintained their A-game by stomping Tennessee 73-55 on Saturday. We leave Week 6 roughly in the same place as we entered it, though with a nasty eye turned towards Georgia for its loss to Auburn.
KENTUCKY UNDEFEATED WATCH: Roller coaster
The Wildcats got their third serious scare this season on Tuesday when they rode out a 21-2 second half run by the Tigers and took advantage of miserable LSU execution down the stretch in a 71-69 win. In complete contrast, the Cats then completely unloaded on poor South Carolina in a 77-43 laugher in Lexington. Playing on the road is different than at home, and there certainly is a quality difference in those opponents. Even so, these games were drastically different from each other. Crazy as the ride has been at times, including last week, UK is still unblemished on the season.
Arkansas gets to take it easy this week, and Georgia should be OK if the flop against Auburn is just a fluke rather than a sign of things to come.
The biggest game of the week is on Tuesday, when LSU travels to Texas A&M. All of the biggest bracket projections had those two firmly on the bubble heading into the weekend, with A&M even on the outside of CBS's. The Aggies already have a win at the PMAC, so a second victory would be huge here. If these two are in the running for the final few spots, TAMU's ability to say it beat the Tigers twice might be a deciding factor.
Tennessee is pretty firmly in NIT land at this point, so it has a chance to be spoiler this week. First up is a chance to spoil Kentucky's undefeated season on Tuesday, while it can then erase some of Ole Miss's recent good work on Saturday. Of the non-contenders, Mississippi State got the worst draw. The Bulldogs have to play against Ole Miss on Thursday and then face Arkansas two days later.
|Kentucky||25-0 (12-0)||at Tennessee, Tues.||Auburn|
|Arkansas||20-5 (9-3)||Missouri, Weds.||at Mississippi State|
|Texas A&M||17-7 (8-4)||LSU, Tues.||at South Carolina|
|Ole Miss||17-8 (8-4)||at Mississippi State, Thurs.||Tennessee|
|LSU||18-7 (7-5)||at Texas A&M, Tues.||Florida|
|Georgia||16-8 (7-5)||South Carolina, Tues.||at Alabama|
|Tennessee||14-10 (6-6)||Kentucky, Tues.||at Ole Miss|
|Alabama||15-10 (5-7)||at Auburn, Tues.||Georgia|
|Florida||12-13 (5-7)||Vanderbilt, Weds.||at LSU|
|Mississippi State||12-13 (5-7)||Ole Miss, Thurs.||Arkansas|
|Vanderbilt||14-11 (4-8)||at Florida, Weds.||Missouri|
|Auburn||12-13 (4-8)||Alabama, Tues.||at Kentucky|
|South Carolina||12-12 (3-9)||at Georgia, Tues.||Texas A&M|
|Missouri||7-18 (1-11)||at Arkansas, Tues.||at Vanderbilt|