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Favorites Ruled on SEC Basketball Tuesday

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For once, all of the teams that were supposed to win did win.

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday night in SEC basketball saw all four favorites win for what feels like the first time in years.

The biggest of the games was the Kentucky Wildcats securing an 88-79 road win against the Florida Gators. UK led for just about all of this one, with a late UF runs in each half making the halftime and final margins closer than the game really was. Jamal Murray, with 21 points and eight boards, and Tyler Ulis, with 19 points and 11 assists, led Kentucky as usual, but all five starters made double digits. John Egbunu's 27 points led Florida, which suffered from poor free throw shooting. The Gators made just 43.2% of their 37 foul shots, missing 21 of them.

The Vanderbilt Commodores followed up their Saturday win over UK by beating the Tennessee Volunteers 86-69. The 'Dores dominated in the first half and ran up a commanding 43-24 lead at the break. The Vols actually outscored VU by a pair in the second half, but the game was never really in doubt. Four Commodores hit double digits, led by Wade Baldwin IV's 17, while UT's Shembari Phillips led all scorers with 23. The win solidified Vandy's place on the right side of the bubble, while the loss put Tennessee in jeopardy of having to play in the first round of the SEC Tournament.

The Texas A&M Aggies put themselves a win away from the SEC regular season championship by breezing past the Auburn Tigers 81-63. AU actually led by double digits early in the game, but once A&M kicked things in gear with a 26-3 run that spanned the halves, that was it. TAMU dominated down low in particular, snagging 30 offensive rebounds compared to Auburn's 27 total rebounds. The Aggies' last regular season conference title came when they shared the SWC title in 1986.

Finally, the LSU Tigers managed to hold off the Missouri Tigers 80-71. LSU led the game 46-24 at the half, but Mizzou managed to cut the lead to single digits just under the eight minute mark. In the final 5:07, Ben Simmons powered his team to victory with eight points and an assist on an Antonio Blakeney three pointer. Simmons had 22 and 14 while Blakeney had 18 points in what could be each's final home game in LSU colors. Three Missouri players tied for the team lead at 13 points each.