TEAM OF THE WEEK: Texas A&M
The schedule for the week wasn't loaded for anyone other than Tennessee, and the Vols went 0-2. That fact made it a little difficult to pick out a team of the week, but I think A&M has earned it. The Aggies began by holding off LSU 68-62 to get a key win for the team's postseason profile, and they picked up another victory on Saturday by downing South Carolina 62-52. One win came against a fellow bubble contender, while the other was an always-helpful road win (given the way the RPI gives any and all road wins more emphasis). The league is striving to double the three bids it's gotten in each of the past two years, and A&M did its part this week.
NOT TEAM OF THE WEEK: Georgia
The Bulldogs are struggling right now, and even if they did go 1-1 this week, they kind of earned this one. UGA took a 64-58 home loss to South Carolina on Tuesday, continuing negative momentum from the team's loss to Auburn. Georgia did beat Alabama on Saturday, but it was by a single point in overtime in a fairly dreadful game. Neither team cracked 38% shooting, and Alabama practically gave the thing away by going 16-31 from the free throw line. A win is a win, but that particular win does not inspire confidence.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Danuel House, Texas A&M
The hot shooting Aggie guard had one of the better weeks that anyone in the league has had so far. He first led his team with 20 points on 7/12 shooting in the team's big win over LSU on Tuesday. Then on Saturday, he sank seven shots from three en route to 25 total points in A&M's win over South Carolina in Columbia. TAMU was 2-0 on the week, and House scored about 35% of the team's total points. Not bad, man. Not bad.
TOURNAMENT BID QUEST: Stabilizing
Georgia's loss to South Carolina was the only bad news of the week on this front. The only other loss from any of the six contenders was LSU's loss to A&M, which is something of a wash and probably what the SEC needed for maximizing bids anyway. Aside from the Bulldogs understandably losing ground, the overall outlook is roughly the same this week as it was last week. The coming week could shake things up, though.
KENTUCKY UNDEFEATED WATCH: Flexing muscles
You want to see some defense? Kentucky has some defense. The Wildcats turned a 35-31 halftime lead into a 66-48 win at Tennessee on Tuesday, logging yet another sub-20 point defensive half in the process. But do you want some offense too? Oh, Kentucky can make some offense. The 'Cats became the second team to hit triple digits in conference play by blowing the doors off of Auburn 110-75 on Saturday. Unless you want to complain about the Tigers getting above 70 points—and it was mostly garbage time scoring for them, given the 52-26 halftime score—then UK had a nearly flawless week. This is how UK shows off.
If you've been looking for some really consequential SEC hoops, this week is your time. The schedule has kept a lot of the top teams away from each other for the most part, but they're crashing together this week.
The fireworks begin on Tuesday with Texas A&M taking a trip to Arkansas. If the Aggies plan on getting anything resembling a signature win before the SEC Tournament, that game is their last chance to do so. It continues on Wednesday, with suddenly desperate Georgia traveling to Oxford. Beating the Rebels would go a long way to getting UGA out of the funk it's been in for the last three games. Ole Miss then gets to host LSU on Saturday in another game where the Rebels' opponent could dearly use a win.
The biggest game of all is the sole regular season matchup between Kentucky and Arkansas on Saturday. The conference's best two teams finally get to slug it out, and Arkansas faces the challenge of the game being in Fortress Lexington. This one is probably our last, best chance of seeing the Wildcats go down prior to the postseason. Get thee to CBS for that one.
|Kentucky||27-0 (14-0)||at Mississippi State, Weds.||Arkansas|
|Arkansas||22-5 (11-3)||Texas A&M, Tues.||at Kentucky|
|Texas A&M||19-7 (10-4)||at Arkansas, Tues.||Auburn|
|Ole Miss||19-8 (10-4)||Georgia, Weds.||at LSU|
|LSU||19-8 (8-6)||at Auburn, Tues.||Ole Miss|
|Georgia||17-9 (8-6)||at Ole Miss, Weds.||Missouri|
|Alabama||16-11 (6-8)||South Carolina, Tues.||at Vanderbilt|
|Tennessee||14-12 (6-8)||Vanderbilt, Thurs.||at Florida|
|Florida||13-14 (6-8)||at Missouri, Tues.||Tennessee|
|Vanderbilt||15-12 (5-9)||at Tennessee, Thurs.||Alabama|
|Mississippi State||12-15 (5-9)||Kentucky, Weds.||at South Carolina|
|South Carolina||13-13 (4-10)||at Alabama, Tues.||Mississippi State|
|Auburn||12-15 (4-10)||LSU, Tues.||at Texas A&M|
|Missouri||7-20 (1-13)||Florida, Tues.||at Georgia|