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On Tap for SEC Basketball: February 20

Some intriguing action on this Wednesday.

NCAA Basketball: Louisiana State at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Three games are on the docket tonight. Before we get there, let’s look at what happened on Tuesday.

Tennessee 58, Vanderbilt 46: The Tennessee Volunteers got back to their winning ways with a 58-46 victory over the Vanderbilt Commodores. It might not have been the prettiest of wins, but they all count the same in the end. The W pushed them up to 24-2 on the season and they still have a good trajectory to get a Top 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Grant Williams had 14 & 11 in the victory. The loss of course means that the Commodores are still searching for that elusive first SEC victory of the year.

South Carolina 79, Ole Miss 64: The Ole Miss Rebels did not help themselves at all on Tuesday. Kermit Davis’ squad fell 79-64 on the road to the South Carolina Gamecocks. The Rebs were up 13-2 at one point in the game but saw that lead go completely by the wayside. South Carolina scored 30 points in the final 10 minutes of the first half to take a 40-32 lead into the break. That margin was only extended along the way, and while Ole Miss challenged them at the start of the second half, they allowed 24 points in the final 10 minutes of the game and scored merely 13. Chris Silva had 18 points while A.J. Lawson scored 15. Terence Davis had 18 and Breein Tyree scored 19, but no one else for the Rebels scored more than eight. Ole Miss didn’t completely screw away their NCAA Tournament chances, but they can ill afford for losses like this going forward.

Texas A&M 65, Alabama 56: Now, meanwhile, the Alabama Crimson Tide’s chances of making the NCAA Tournament took a big blow Tuesday. The Tide lost 65-56 to the lowly Texas A&M Aggies in College Station. The Aggies have just four SEC wins now and it was a game that Alabama could not afford to drop. And yet, they pieced together a porous offensive display despite going an even 50 percent on their 2-point tries. They couldn’t stop the duo of Savion Flagg and Wendell Mitchell who combined for 36 points, 18 apiece. Tevin Mack led ‘Bama with 14 points. Alabama is firmly on the bubble and they’ll have to recuperate going forward, because this was a heavy hit.

Kentucky 66, Mizzou 58: As expected, normalcy on Tuesday resided in the hands of Tennessee and the Kentucky Wildcats. The top two teams won their games, with UT’s aforementioned victory over Vandy paired up with Kentucky’s 66-58 victory over the Mizzou Tigers. PJ Washington and Tyler Herro each scored 18 points, with Herro adding five boards, two assists and just one turnover to his line in 35 minutes. Washington had eight boards, three assists and a block, as he continues to make his All-American case. Ashton Hagans chipped in 12 points and was a perfect 4-for-4 at the FT line. Meanwhile, Ronnie Suggs had 13 points off the bench in the loss and Jordan Geist had 11 with six rebounds , four assists and two steals.


WEDNESDAY’S SLATE

Mississippi State vs. Georgia (6:30 p.m., SEC Network)
Florida vs. LSU (7 p.m., ESPN2)
Arkansas vs. Auburn (8:30 p.m., SEC Network)

For the Mississippi State Bulldogs, it will be about avoiding what Ole Miss and Alabama could not. And that’s eluding a road loss to one of the woeful teams in the conference. State will face the Georgia Bulldogs in Athens, and obviously UGA has gone through their growing pains under Tom Crean in his first season. State already has losses to South Carolina and Alabama under their belt, and it would behoove them to avoid one here.

Meanwhile, later on in the night, the Arkansas Razorbacks and Auburn Tigers square off. Auburn could certainly use a win to keep the heat off them as they have struggled a bit this season. Having been swept by Ole Miss and taken losses to South Carolina, Mississippi State and Kentucky, they need not fall further into the hole. But of course, Arkansas is looking to boost their case to slide into the NCAA Tournament. A win over Auburn would go a long way towards doing so.

Lastly, the Florida Gators and LSU Tigers will meet up at the PMAC in Baton Rouge. This is the first of two meetings the teams will have in the final three weeks of the regular season, the last coming in the last week of the 2018-19 campaign. LSU is favored to win this matchup at home unsurprisingly, as they have been relatively great at home this season minus one hiccup to Arkansas. This should be the most intriguing game of the day and a win for Florida could help them get back into NCAA Tourney contention.