We have reached the final Tuesday in January, and that means there’s plenty of SEC basketball on the horizon. Let’s dive into what’s to come this evening.
TENNESSEE vs. SOUTH CAROLINA
The top-ranked Tennessee Volunteers will have their hands full against the South Carolina Gamecocks. The Gamecocks, of course, have surprised many this season with their 5-1 record in SEC play. Of course, their overall record is a mere 10-9, and they rank 103rd on KenPom, third-worst in the SEC, but they are getting it done regardless. Chris Silva has played out of his mind so far and has undoubtedly helped lead SC to this record. As has A.J. Lawson, who also has shown up in a big way in SEC play so far. But make no mistake, this will absolutely be their toughest test yet, and Tennessee certainly has the juice to knock SC on their heels.
Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
TV: SEC Network
Watch Online: WatchESPN
GEORGIA vs. ARKANSAS
This matchup will feature two teams looking to get themselves out of the cellar in the SEC. The Arkansas Razorbacks are 2-4 in league play, and while they have the same conference record as the touted Auburn Tigers, they obviously are looking to achieve more than this sub-.500 league record so far. Arkansas fell to the Texas Tech Red Raiders the last time we saw them, having felt the pressure of Tech’s touted defense, never scoring more than 18 points within the four 10-minute segments of the game.
They will be taking aim at the Georgia Bulldogs on Tuesday night. The Dawgs are 1-5 in league play and 10-9 overall, as Tom Crean is certainly going through some struggles so far in this first season in Athens. With that being said, UGA did knock off the Texas Longhorns over the weekend, their best win to date. Nicolas Claxton was integral in the win, as he scored 18 points and pulled down seven rebounds, along with four assists, three steals and one block.
Time: 7 p.m. ET
Watch Online: WatchESPN
MISSISSIPPI STATE vs. ALABAMA
The Mississippi State Bulldogs are on the heels of a huge win over the Auburn Tigers. Now, State turns their attention to Tuscaloosa for a midweek showdown with the Alabama Crimson Tide. These two teams could produce a solid showing, as State ranks 26th on KenPom while Alabama ranks 46th.
Quinndary Weatherspoon unsurprisingly stood out in the win over the Tide. Weatherspoon picked up 27 points and needed only nine shots from the field to get there. An 11-for-11 mark from the FT line certainly helped matters quite a bit as well. State also got 16 from Lamar Peters, who went 4-for-10 from 3-point land, on a day where State made 13 from outside. They will be aiming for similar outputs when they take the floor again.
Meanwhile, Alabama looks to get some consistency in their lives. ‘Bama has alternated losses and wins dating back to January 12. Their last two wins came over the Missouri Tigers and Ole Miss Rebels, but they’ve lost to the Texas A&M Aggies, Tennessee and the Baylor Bears. The trend would indicate a victory on Tuesday evening, so we’ll see how things shake out.
KENTUCKY vs. VANDERBILT
Lastly, the Kentucky Wildcats will hit the floor in Nashville against the Vanderbilt Commodores. Kentucky is understandably a heavy favorite, as they’ve won their last six and nine of their last 10 dating back to December 15. This might surprise you, but a John Calipari coached team is coming together midway through the year. Shocking, right?
Vandy, meanwhile, is mired in a terrible losing streak. They’ve lost their last seven and are on the heels of a blowout loss to the Oklahoma Sooners in Norman over the weekend. They are getting great output from Saben Lee, but it has been for naught. He scored 24 in the loss against OU and 21 in an OT loss to Tennessee in their last go-around at home.
Kentucky got a great game from PJ Washington last time around. Washington had a double-double with 20 points and 13 rebounds and had no turnovers in 36 minutes against Kansas. Tyler Herro could use a bounce back, as he scored just six, but he was picked up by his teammates. We’ll see if Herro can play “hero” on Tuesday.