The 2019 college basketball season tips off on Tuesday night. With that comes an eight-game slate featuring the teams of the SEC, including one matchup that rules them all.
SEC Basketball Schedule - November 5
|Florida vs. North Florida||7 p.m.||SEC Network|
|Georgia vs. Western Carolina||7 p.m.||SEC Network+|
|Tennessee vs. UNC Asheville||7 p.m.||SEC Network+|
|Alabama vs. Penn||8 p.m.||SEC Network+|
|Arkansas vs. Rice||8 p.m.||SEC Network+|
|Mississippi State vs. FIU||8 p.m.||SEC Network+|
|Auburn vs. Georgia Southern||9 p.m.||SEC Network|
|Kentucky vs. Michigan State||9:30 p.m.||ESPN|
The premier game of the night is the one going on last. The reloaded Kentucky Wildcats will do battle with the Michigan State Spartans at historic Madison Square Garden. This game pits the teams ranked #1 and #2 in the AP Top 25 and on KenPom as well, as the second-ranked Cats will face off with top-ranked Sparty. We’ll get to see the 10th and 11th-ranked recruits in the nation in Tyrese Maxey and Kahlil Whitney, as well as Michigan State’s Cassius Winston who might be the best guard in the nation.
Speaking of top-flight recruits, may I interest you in the first two games on the schedule? The Georgia Bulldogs possess the second-best recruit in the nation in shooting guard Anthony Edwards, and he and the Dawgs are facing the Western Carolina Catamounts. Elsewhere, Scottie Lewis, ranked seventh in the country, suits up for the Florida Gators as they play the North Florida Ospreys, who should be a solid team in the A-Sun this year. And by the way, if the aforementioned Winston is the best guard in the country, then Gators guard Andrew Nembhard is not too far behind him.
Going down the rungs, you may find that the Tennessee-UNC Asheville matchup suits you. Tennessee looks loads different after plenty of graduations and departures, but Lamonte Turner and Jordan Bowden are still around and eager to make an impact.
One of the more fascinating teams in the conference begins play on Tuesday night in the form of the Alabama Crimson Tide. New head coach Nate Oats was able to get Kira Lewis Jr. to stick around to continue to play alongside John Petty Jr. and they could be quite the tandem this year. They begin play against the Penn Quakers, who figure to jostle with the Harvard Crimson at the top of the Ivy League.
The Arkansas Razorbacks are now without Mike Anderson. Eric Musselman will make his debut as the Razorbacks coach on Tuesday night against the Rice Owls. Rice could be a decent squad in Conference USA, but this should be easy pickens for Musselman in his first night on the sidelines. You know who else should be easy pickens in his first night on the sidelines?
Okay. I won’t finish the joke. But if you like Regular Show, you know exactly where I was going.
An intriguing year in Starkville begins on Tuesday night as well. The Mississippi State Bulldogs will take the floor against the FIU Golden Panthers. State made the NCAA Tournament a year ago, but were of course bounced by the Liberty Flames in the Round of 64. How can they follow that up? We may get a rough idea of how things go in their opener.
Finally, after their magnificent run to the Final Four, we’ll see the Auburn Tigers in action for the first time since their loss to the eventual National Champions, the Virginia Cavaliers. Auburn will face the Georgia Southern Eagles, who could prove to be a stern-ish test. Georgia Southern figures to be a fixture near the top of the Sun Belt this year, and could give Auburn some fits if they aren’t too careful. It figures to be a fun atmosphere nonetheless though.