What Happened Last Night
Tuesday night started with Ole Miss posting an 88-61 dismantling of Mississippi State in Oxford. I thought the Rebels would win this one, but it was a bit surprising that it came this easily; Ole Miss led wire-to-wire and closed out the first half on a 22-5 run to build a 51-33 halftime lead. Sebastian Saiz posted his 15th double-double of the year with 17 points and 11 boards, while Terence Davis led all scorers with 18 points.
In the late games, Tennessee kept things rolling with an 87-77 win at Auburn that really wasn’t as close as the final score indicates: Tennessee led by 16 at the half and led by as much as 22 in the second half before a late Auburn run made the final score look respectable. A similar story unfolded in College Station, as Texas A&M just couldn’t get anything going offensively against Vanderbilt and trailed by as much as 22 in the second half before going on a 14-0 run to keep up appearances in a 68-54 loss to the Commodores.
Strangely, the most competitive game of the night was the one that most people thought wouldn’t be competitive: Kentucky needed a late basket by Malik Monk (2 of Monk’s 37 points on the evening) to get to overtime at Rupp Arena, where they eventually prevailed over Georgia by a score of 90-81. Initially this game looked like it would be notable mostly for it being Brent Musburger’s last game ever, but the Bulldogs built a 14-point lead early on and never really went away behind 23 points from J.J. Frazier and 22 from Yante Maten.
|Alabama at Arkansas
|South Carolina at LSU
The early game is of interest: Alabama is a bit surprisingly 6-2 in the SEC and currently in a tie for third place. But at least some of that is favorable scheduling; the Tide have played Mississippi State twice, and they’ve also played both LSU and Missouri, plus a home game against Vanderbilt. That’s five of their six wins. Of course, last week they beat Georgia by 20 on the road. Their RPI numbers aren’t great, though, so they’re still a longshot for the tournament, but a win in Fayetteville would help them quite a bit. I wouldn’t call this a must-win for Arkansas, but it’s also not difficult to see how Saturday’s big loss to Oklahoma State could be the kind of thing that causes a season to go off the rails... so, well, that’s worth monitoring.
As for the late game... LSU has lost seven in a row and nine of its last 10 (and the only reason it’s not ten straight is because somebody had to win between them and Missouri), so yeah, it’s probably advisable for South Carolina to take care of business in Baton Rouge tonight. The Gamecocks are in solid shape for a tournament bid right now, but their resume isn’t strong enough that you can assume they’ll be fine with the black mark of a loss to the #132 team in the RPI.
Odds and Picks
Season to Date: 84-99-1 ATS; Yesterday: 3-1 ATS
- Alabama at Arkansas (-3.5): As I pointed out above, there’s a bit of smoke and mirrors to Alabama’s 6-2 start to SEC play, and it’s only been a week and a half since they got drilled at Auburn. That said, there’s reason to be a bit concerned about Arkansas’s mental state after that kind of a loss and I could easily see them having a hangover... but I also think they’re simply a better team than Alabama.
- South Carolina (-7.5) at LSU: Speaking of mental states, LSU appears to be mailing it in at this point and I’m actually surprised that the line is this low (granted, it opened at 9.5...)