Let’s take a looksies at what’s ahead of us this evening:
(All times Eastern)
Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. (18) Tennessee Volunteers — 7 p.m., SEC Network
Kentucky Wildcats vs. (9) Alabama Crimson Tide — 7 p.m., ESPN
LSU Tigers vs. Texas A&M Aggies — 9 p.m., SEC Network
(12) Missouri Tigers vs. Auburn Tigers — 9 p.m., ESPN2
Tennessee, in need of a serious rebound, opens the night against Mississippi State. The Vols are a heavy favorite in this one despite losing their last two games to Florida and Mizzou. Probably for good reason, as State is 9-7 on the year and despite knocking Florida and Mizzou off, they’ve been very inconsistent. Especially so over the last six games, as they’ve gone an even 3-3. Tennessee will look to take advantage of State’s weak perimeter defense in this one, as State’s interior defense has been a very strong unit. While UT is an average shooting team, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was their point of attack.
Alabama will play Kentucky simultaneously at the 7 o’clock hour. The Crimson Tide are heavy favorites over the Wildcats, which is a weird thing to say about basketball. But this season it’s proven true and credible. Kentucky’s objectively bad offense is in for a run for their money, as they’re going against one of the best defenses in the SEC. Still, a very weird thing to say about basketball. UK’s defense is strong, but ‘Bama’s offense has been pretty good. If UK doesn’t shoot the ball well yet again — and boy have they not this year — Alabama will likely get enough possessions to pick up a W here.
Then at 9, LSU and Texas A&M square off. The Tigers have lost two in a row entering play, as have A&M. So something has to give in this one. LSU is the favorite here and for pretty good reason. A&M’s offense has been ghastly, while LSU’s has been one of the best in the entire country. Led by freshman star Cameron Thomas, the Fighting Tigers pose a legit threat against the Aggies. Especially inside, where A&M’s 2-point defense ranks 280th in the country. I would not expect A&M to hang here, but stranger things have happened.
Lastly, Mizzou is set to take on Auburn. Mizzou has won three in a row and four of the last five heading into play, while Auburn has won three of four. Auburn’s engineering a bit of a turnaround here, but they’ve got their work cut out for them. The Tigers possess one of the best defenses in the SEC, and Auburn’s offense has been good but not great. Their defense has been just okay as well, but it will prove interesting to see how this goes. Mizzou’s 3-point offense has been horrible this year, and Auburn has one of the best perimeter defenses in the conference. That being said, Mizzou could exploit a weak point inside, as they rank 34th in 2PT FG% while Auburn ranks 192nd in 2PT FG% allowed. I would honestly expect this matchup to be won inside, as both teams have great interior offenses. It will all be about who gets the most stops, and to be fair, Mizzou’s defense has been seemingly much more equipped to do that this year.