|7:00 PM||Mississippi State at Texas A&M||SEC Network/WatchESPN|
|9:00 PM||Ole Miss at Missouri||ESPN2/WatchESPN|
|9:00 PM||Kentucky at Arkansas||ESPN/WatchESPN|
|9:00 PM||Vanderbilt at LSU||SEC Network/WatchESPN|
In my formative years, Arkansas had just joined the SEC, Nolan Richardson was their coach, Rick Pitino was Kentucky’s coach, and both were perennial national title contenders: Arkansas won a national title in 1994 and made it back to the title game in 1995; Kentucky won titles in 1996 and 1998 and made the Final Four in 1993 and the title game in 1997. That was a run of six consecutive years in which one of these teams made the Final Four.
Tonight’s game hardly has national title implications: at present, Kentucky is ranked 31st in KenPom and Arkansas is ranked 39th. It doesn’t really have NCAA Tournament implications; both teams are solidly in the tournament as of right now (we might be having an awkward conversation about Kentucky if they’d lost to Alabama on Saturday, but they didn’t.) Still, tonight’s tilt in Bud Walton Arena should be fun. That game will be televised on ESPN at 9:00 PM ET.
In the early game, at 7:00 PM ET on the SEC Network, the Texas A&M Aggies host the Mississippi State Bulldogs. This is a tricky matchup for Texas A&M: the Aggies have lost two in a row, and Mississippi State has the size to compete with the Aggies’ frontcourt. On Mississippi State’s side, a win in College Station would have pretty significant implications for their NCAA Tournament hopes.
The late games opposite Kentucky-Arkansas don’t have as much intrigue. On ESPN2 at 9:00 PM ET, the Missouri Tigers host the Ole Miss Rebels, and Ole Miss is giving all outward appearances of having quit on the season. Also at 9:00 on the SEC Network, the Vanderbilt Commodores go on the road, where they haven’t won all season, to face the LSU Tigers.
Bad Gambling Advice
Season to Date: 107-95-7 ATS
- Mississippi State (+6.5) at Texas A&M: Texas A&M can’t have nice things, as now they don’t have a point guard and are facing a team with the size to slow them down. I like Mississippi State to cover if not win outright.
- Kentucky at Arkansas (-4): The Razorbacks haven’t lost at home all season and are scorching hot at the moment, having won four in a row by an average of 16 ppg. I think they cover this number easily.
- Ole Miss at Missouri (-9): One key to picking February games is spotting a team that’s quit on the season. Nine points seems like a lot, but there’s really no number that I wouldn’t feel comfortable taking Missouri on. Tony Madlock was named the interim not because he’ll rally the team, but because he’ll get zero support for the permanent job. That’s telling.
- Vanderbilt at LSU (-4.5): The Commodores haven’t won a game away from Memorial Gym this season, and I don’t expect that to change tonight.