(All Times Eastern)
Kentucky Wildcats vs. Tennessee Volunteers — 1 p.m., CBS
Vanderbilt Commodores vs. Alabama Crimson Tide — 1 p.m., SEC Network
Missouri Tigers vs. South Carolina — 2 p.m., ESPN2
Georgia Bulldogs vs. Florida Gators — 3:30 p.m., SEC Network
Auburn Tigers vs. LSU Tigers — 4 p.m., ESPN
Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. Ole Miss Rebels — 6 p.m., SEC Network
We have six games coming at you on this Saturday. With only a few weeks to go until March, the action is barreling towards the finish line of this truncated 2020-21 season.
At 1 p.m., a pair of games are going down. Tennessee and Alabama, ranked 19th and 8th, host Kentucky and Vanderbilt. As you might expect, both teams are favored going into these games. Alabama has the comfort of a three-game lead in the SEC standings and a four-game lead over the Volunteers. But obviously, ‘Bama will want to avoid a loss to lowly Vanderbilt, who are currently last in the SEC. Kentucky is a meager 6-7, as the Wildcats are dealing with one of their worst efforts in recent memory.
‘Bama has been struggling a little bit, failing to cover in four of their last six games. They’re 4-2 in general, but it will be interesting to see if they can play strongly against Vandy. The Commodores have three single-digit losses in their last four games, and four single-digit losses in their last six. While they’re 2-4 in that stretch, they’ve been playing competitively. Can they catch Alabama napping? If ‘Bama can get hot from 3 against Vandy’s weak perimeter defense, this won’t be close. But an off day from the field could result in some trouble, and I’d doubt they hit 60 percent like they did against UGA last week again.
Meanwhile, Tennessee has played wildly inconsistent ball, which explains their 3-2 record in the last five games. Kentucky has reeled off two wins in a row, but both of them were by a combined six points. Tennessee will need their good offense to show up, and not the one that appeared in losses to Ole Miss and LSU. These two tilts could prove very, very interesting.
Mizzou will hope to get off their recent schneid against lowly South Carolina. The Gamecocks have been putrid offensively this season, and that’s probably putting it mildly. While Mizzou has had their issues, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a get-right game for the Tigers. Especially since Mizzou’s dominance on the interior should overwhelm South Carolina’s lack of defensive presence inside. If Mizzou loses this one, well, the once 13-3 and Top 10-ranked Tigers could be sent further into their tailspin.
At 3:30 and 4, a pair of games go down with UGA taking on Florida, while LSU plays Auburn in the battle of Tigers. LSU and Florida are separated by one game in the loss column right now, while Auburn and Georgia have the same amount of losses (8) and are near the bottom. LSU needs the separation and has to try and stay neck and neck with Arkansas, who’ll be idle this week after their game was postponed. A loss coupled with wins for Tennessee and perhaps Florida would send them down to five losses and tied up in the loss column with the Vols and Gators, assuming Florida takes care of business against Georgia. You’ll want to pay attention to these games, as they could prove most impactful.
Finally, it’s always fun to see rivals play each other. That’s why Ole Miss-Mississippi State could be a fun one. The Rebels host the Bulldogs in the final game of the day in Oxford. Ole Miss, defensively, has been a very strong unit. And while there might be a mismatch on the perimeter, it ought to be noted that the Bulldogs don’t shoot the ball so frequently from 3. While their 36.3 percent mark is pretty nice, their 3-point rate (3PA/FGA) is ranked 336th in the nation (27.9 percent of their shots from the field have been 3-pointers, basically). Will State have that in the gameplan? It’s possible, as teams haven’t been too shy about attacking Ole Miss defensively. But, they ought to beware one thing: The Rebels rank sixth in TO% on defense, and State ranks 288th in TO% on offense. The Rebs can and will pick pockets, and if State isn’t careful, that could spell trouble in this one.