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Conference season begins in the SEC

At long last, it’s conference play in hoops!

Valley Of The Sun Shootout:  St. John's v Grand Canyon Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

What Happened Last Night

Well, we’re being very loose with our definition of “night” but Kentucky beat the stuffing out of Louisville at Rupp. The Cardinals got out to an early 11-5 lead, Kentucky got rolling, and that was that. The Wildcats picked up a 90-61 victory to move to 10-2 on the year. Shai Gilgeous Alexander led the way for UK with a career-high 24 points on 9-16 shooting.

Today’s Schedule

(All games available via WatchESPN)

  • Tennessee vs. Arkansas (1 p.m. ET, SEC Network): The 19th-ranked Tennessee Volunteers get their conference season started on the road. The Vols will have to face the Arkansas Razorbacks in Fayetteville, which of course is no small task. Arkansas hasn’t lost a home game so far this season, with an average margin of victory of 25.6 points. Outside of one eight-point win over the Fresno State Bulldogs, Arkansas has bulldozed everybody they’ve welcomed to Bud Walton Arena. We’ll see if Grant Williams and Tennessee can avoid that trend.
  • Cornell vs. Auburn (3:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network): Auburn will likely continue their excellent start to the season as they welcome the Big Red for a final nonconference tune-up. The Tigers haven’t played the best nonconference schedule but got the job done and likely will again.
  • Vanderbilt vs. Florida (4 p.m. ET, ESPN2): The Florida Gators and Vanderbilt Commodores will be tasked with opening conference play against each other. Florida has rebounded after their messy three-game losing streak to go 3-1 in their last four. That includes a win over the vaunted Cincinnati Bearcats. Vandy, however, is on a two-game win streak but are off to a 5-7 start to the year.
  • North Florida vs. Mississippi State (5 p.m. ET, SEC Network+): Mississippi State, like Auburn, will likely continue their hot start to the year as the Ospreys head to Starkville. It remains to be seen if the Bulldogs’ success can keep up through SEC play, but perhaps it will.
  • Texas A&M vs. Alabama (6 p.m. ET, ESPN2): The best matchup of the day comes last. Robert Williams and the fifth-ranked Texas A&M Aggies begin SEC play on the road. They will tackle Collin Sexton and the Alabama Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa. The Ags are riding a four-game winning streak, while Alabama has been very up and down. The Tide have gone 4-4 in their last eight games after a 4-0 start to the season. The Texas Longhorns rolled them 66-50 the last time we saw them, so they’re hoping for much better results.

Tom’s Picks

Arkansas (-5.5)

Auburn (-23)

Vanderbilt (+9)

Texas A&M