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SEC Weekend Outlook: All Eyes on Bubble Teams

The teams with the least margin for error are in the most peril.

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

This weekend we've got one enormous mismatch, one decent sized mismatch, and one effectively meaningless game (sorry, black and gold teams). The rest? Watch out:

  • Texas A&M at South Carolina, noon ET, SEC Network
  • Florida at LSU, 1 p.m. ET, CBS
  • Missouri at Vanderbilt, 2:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network
  • Arkansas at Mississippi State, 4 p.m. ET, FSN/ESPN3
  • Auburn at Kentucky, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
  • Tennessee at Ole Miss, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU
  • Georgia at Alabama, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN2

With Kentucky getting a visit from Auburn and Arkansas visiting Mississippi State, the conference's two ranked teams should be good to go. With further apologies to Missouri and Vanderbilt, the only real intrigue there is if Mizzou can get a second SEC win.

The rest of the games are treacherous for the teams fighting for positioning.

Texas A&M's trip to South Carolina is tougher than it might look on the surface. The Gamecocks have a winning SEC record at home, just completed a sweep of Georgia, and do still have that one win over Iowa State somehow. They've defeated Alabama, and their losses to Tennessee and LSU were by just six points each. If the Aggies have a letdown because they've had two straight big wins over Florida and LSU, they could get beat.

Like A&M, LSU is barely on the right side of the bubble. The Tigers need to summon what they had back in January when they went to Gainesville and came out with a 79-61 win. With the Gators reeling a bit—they're 3-7 in their last 10 games, with only one road win in there (Alabama)—LSU should have a good chance to win one. Still though, this Tiger team hasn't been able to avoid shooting itself in the foot with regularity this conference season. Dropping this game wouldn't be entirely out of character. The Aggies will be rooting hard for the home team in this one, as LSU is its sole chance of getting top 50 RPI wins before the SEC Tournament unless they upset Arkansas.

Ole Miss is in better shape than either of Texas A&M or LSU, so its game against Tennessee is not quite as crucial. The Vols are also sliding of late, with just two wins (Auburn, Vandy in OT) in their past eight games. Only one of those six losses is a bad one (Mississippi State), but it's not a good trend. The Vols are still a dangerous team though, and Josh Richardson will pose problems for the occasionally spotty Rebel defense. A loss here wouldn't knock Ole Miss down into bubble trouble territory, but a win would keep the drama level down in Oxford a lot better than the reverse would.

Finally, Georgia could really use a win against Alabama. The Bulldogs are still in better shape than A&M and LSU are, but they burned a considerable bit of their cushion in dropping back-to-back games to Auburn and South Carolina. Their funk is partially attributable to injury—Marcus Thornton hasn't hit double digits in points since his concussion in January, and J.J. Frazier missed the South Carolina loss with a concussion of his own—and their low-output bench hasn't picked up much slack. Alabama won't burn up the nets, so the Tide is actually a not a terrible opponent to be facing right now. Beating Bama won't pad UGA's resume so much as the Bulldogs need to just stop losing for a little while.