It feels like this weekend is when the conference season hits high gear. After having the SEC-Big 12 challenge last weekend, today we only get pure SEC basketball. And I know some of this is just me personally being a Florida fan, but it always feels bigger when the Gators play Kentucky.
GAME OF THE WEEKEND
Florida at Kentucky, 4 p.m. ET, CBS
UF hasn't won at Rupp since mid-February during its undefeated 2014 conference campaign, but that's OK. No one but UK has won there in the last 32 games played in those hallowed halls. That streak is in jeopardy today as the rising Gators come to visit the erratic Wildcats. Florida has been a good defensive team all season, but the offense seems to have arrived as the team has scored 80+ points in five of its last six. Kentucky is smarting after blowing a 21-point lead against Tennessee earlier in the week.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 6
Missouri at Alabama, 3 p.m. ET, SEC Network
Mizzou's Jakeenan Gant and Russell Woods were arrested yesterday and are suspended today. I was expecting a Bama win anyway, but that should put things over the top for the Tide.
South Carolina at Texas A&M, 4 p.m. ET, ESPNU
Whoever it was in the league office or at ESPN who scheduled this game opposite UF-UK should lose their office coffee privileges for a week. This is clearly the other big game of the weekend, as two of the better SEC teams look to get back on track after suffering mid-week upset losses. South Carolina in particular could use this win, as this is the first game it's had against a true top SEC team. Getting a big SEC win would bolster the team's record along with its undefeated (and untested) non-conference run.
Auburn at Georgia, 5:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network
Georgia is in the half of the league above .500 in conference play with its 5-4 record, and it will need to win this one to avoid falling back to even. The home-road splits in this one heavily favor the Bulldogs.
Mississippi State at LSU, 6 p.m. ET, ESPN2
The Tigers' "don't do anything you'll regret later" week continues with a game against MSU after they beat Auburn earlier in the week. They can't afford to no-show in this game while looking ahead to South Carolina and Texas A&M next week.
Tennessee at Arkansas, 8 p.m. ET, SEC Network
Can the Volunteers handle prosperity? After beating Kentucky, they get a Razorback team still smarting from a close loss to its nemesis Florida. The Hogs are rock solid at home, while the UT's only road win this year has come against Mississippi State.
Vanderbilt at Ole Miss, 8 p.m. ET, ESPNU
The Commodores are putting their early season disappointments behind them and getting into NCAA Tournament contention with wins over Florida and Texas A&M in their last three. They still can't afford to lose this one to the Rebels, who are always dangerous thanks to Stefan Moody.