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SEC Basketball Weekly Roundup: Vols Thrive, Cats Falter


Jan 5, 2019; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Kentucky Wildcats guard Keldon Johnson (3) goes to the basket against Alabama Crimson Tide guard Avery Johnson Jr. (5) during the first half at Coleman Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

The College Basketball season is another week old, and the SEC consistently provides the sport with several talented players and teams. Here are the major storylines from the previous week of conference play. (AP Rankings accurate up until January 6th.)

1. Wildcats Suffer Crushing Defeat Against Alabama

Just when we thought Kentucky had things figured out, the Wildcats went to Tuscaloosa and lost to an unranked Crimson Tide team. UK did not necessarily play “bad,” but the Wildcats found a way to lose to an Alabama team that is by no means great.

And that’s what I think Kentucky is having problems with. The Wildcats are just not a great team yet either. Of course, anyone with a brain knows that this team will be considerably better come March. For the past decade this program has dealt with each season as a continual growing process until it’s time to go to the big dance.

The question that is now in front of Kentucky is who is going to step up and be “great?” Besides Ashton Hagans who is playing all-world defense right now and Keldon Johnson’s hot streak, no other player has been great yet for the Wildcats. Travis Reid, P.J. Washington, and Tyler Herro all have been pretty good, but they haven’t consistently broken through yet.

I think that it begins and ends with Herro. Reid and Washington are tough and experienced, but great guard play is what powers teams in March. Everyone knows he has the potential to light up a game from behind the arc, but his 32% shooting from three-point land this season tells a different story.

Remember the Louisville game? Herro absolutely lit it up against the Cards in a performance that many Wildcat fans won’t soon forget.

The Wildcats are the best version of their selves when Hagans plays NBA-level defense and Herro can drop 20+ efficiently. I wouldn’t be too surprised if Kentucky goes as Herro’s field goal percentage goes.

2. Tennessee Obliterates Georgia In Record Blowout

On Saturday the Georgia Bulldogs walked into Knoxville fully thinking they had a chance to beat the No. 3 Tennessee Volunteers.

Narrator: “They were wrong.”

Folks, the Volunteers beat the Bulldogs by a score of 96-50. Yup. You read that right. Tennessee beat a SEC team by 46 points. If you don’t believe that the Volunteers are one of the best teams in the nation, then you need to recognize that right now.

Stars Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield were both great in the contest as they combined for 36 points and 14 rebounds. However, it was guard Jordan Bowden who stole the show in Knoxville.

The guard scored 20 points off the bench in just 23 minutes of action. If Tennessee starts getting that type of production from its bench, it will be a very long year for the rest of the conference. Don’t underestimate the program that Head Coach Rick Barnes has built.

3. Florida Gets Absolutely Robbed

To be clear, I am the LAST person to stick up for the Florida Gators, but here we are. On Saturday South Carolina defeated Florida on a miraculous last-second shot. However, to say that it was not without problems would be an understatement.

First things first: HOW DID THE REFS MISS THAT TRAVEL??? Chris Silva took four steps before he dunked the ball, and it was not even close. That’s an egregious miss by the refs who chose to sallow their whistles and “let them play.” I have always hated that saying because it makes zero sense. Yea, just ignore the rules of basketball and let them play. No team will lose because of it or anything, right?

Anyways, what is even worse is that Silva obviously pushed the Florida defender to create space to catch the ball. It’s the basketball equivalent of offensive pass interference in football and it should have been called.

(And yes, Florida’s defense was so terrible on this play that they deserved what happened but that’s beside the point)

But what’s done is done. The win was huge for the Gamecocks who were previously 5-7 on the year. Now South Carolina is undefeated in SEC play. There may not be a more perfect moment that showcases the craziness of college basketball than this one did.

4. Texas A&M Enters the Danger Zone

The Aggies have easily been the worst team in the SEC so far this season with South Carolina being a close second. After Saturday’s loss to Arkansas, Texas A&M’s record fell to a pathetic 6-6. Don’t forget, that’s just with one SEC game played.

Their six losses include defeats to UC Irvine and Texas Southern. Yikes. The SEC has put together quite a season so far, but the Aggies are a huge blemish on what the conference has done.

Only three players on the team are averaging double figures, and their leading scorer TJ Starks is just averaging 14.3 points per contest. I am honestly concerned with how many SEC games Texas A&M will win in 2019. It will for sure be very little, but I would put the over/under at three.

The Aggies will travel to Lexington on Tuesday where they will take on UK. A road win would be huge for a program that is in rebuilding mode right now. There should be no way that Kentucky drops this game. If the Cats do, then it’s panic time.

5. How Good Is Ole Miss?

The Rebels are currently sitting with a 11-2 record after their road victory over Vanderbilt to open conference play. I’m not suggesting that Ole Miss is a threat in the SEC, at least not yet. However, I do think that it’s significant that the Rebels have just one less win than they had all last season (12).

Yes, Ole Miss has not beaten anyone great so far, but this is a different team than the one we saw on the court in 2018. It has everything to do with the arrival of Head Coach Kermit Davis from Middle Tennessee State.

I think the Rebels are a very interesting team in the SEC in 2019. They can easily come out of nowhere and finish near the middle of the league. While the top half of the conference is incredibly talented, the bottom is bad enough to where Davis can lead the program to finish possibly 7th or 8th.

It would be a great story if Ole Miss could possibly make the NIT or maybe even the NCAA Tournament. But for now, let’s wait and see how well the Rebels play Auburn on Wednesday night before we make any rash judgments.

Article written by John Reecer

45 responses to “SEC Basketball Weekly Roundup: Vols Thrive, Cats Falter”

  1. 8 god

    Travis Reid lmao

  2. BigolBlue

    The Vols are gonna make Cal bend over and take it rough. Both games. Rick Barnes is a much better coach.

    1. henderblue

      You hope

    2. henderblue

      Rick Barnes ain’t done crap..name something, anything, that he ever did..

    3. KYCat4EVER

      LOL!
      Henderblue, your Cal worship is clouding your judgement!

      Yes, Cal is a good Coach, and outstanding person: he truly is!

      Now, relax, take a few breaths, and look at facts… remember facts are not opinions… just facts.

      A) Rick Barnes beat your hero 3 out of the last 4 regular season meetings… and I mean right in Rupp Arena…

      Now, should a GOLD STANDARD lose to Tennessee 3 of 4, or in RUPP ARENA?

      Isn’t beating UK in Rupp Arena quite impressive?

      I mean Henderblue, you possibly got caught up in some emotions, but don’t you think Coach Calipari would give cud’s to Rick Barnes and Tennessee? I believe he did just that after these losses: but you can’t?

      Henderblue… I respect your energy and perspectives: we just disagree on if Coach Calipari is suitable as our head coach at UK!

      Hang in there! We have a lot more season to get through!

      GO BUG BLUE!

    4. RealCatsFan

      You sound like you are very experienced at “bending over and taking it rough.”

    5. runningunnin.454

      BigolBlue revels in juvenile humor…very small mind.

    6. runningunnin.454

      KYCat4EVER; but when UT had to beat UK to win the SEC’s only guaranteed bid to the NCAA tournament last year…they couldn’t do it. If it was like the old days when there were no at-large bids, UT wouldn’t have even been in the tournament.
      You and BigolBlue wouldn’t be satisfied with any coach. You would have been screaming when Barnes went 20-14 and 8-10 at Texas. Even with Coach K, ya’ll would have had a rope looking for a white oak tree when he lost to Lehigh and Mercer.

    7. KYCat4EVER

      Runninggunnin.454…

      LOL
      I agree with your point on that crucial win against UT in the SEC Tournament last year. SPOT ON! That, for me, was the peak of that disappointing UK team: the PEAK of that dismal year!

      Now, in addition to your point on that UK tournament win, you seem to be very eager to make predictions without any reflection, knowledge, or facts to back them up!

      In fact, you, and others in your small contingency ( of which HenderBlue appears to belong) really should try to relax and look at facts prior to making EMOTIONAL accusations, cursing, labeling, or predictions on others behavior: truly my friend… it portrays you as immature, and I don’t truly believe you or Henderblue are.

      Again, Henderblue got overly emotional and demanded that BigoBlue state what Rick Barnes had ever accomplished!

      Seriously?

      Even Calipari himself complimented Barnes after each victory: he even complimented Barnes and Tennessee before the NCAA Tournament started.

      Runninggunnin… relax, get control of your emotions, and all the best to you and your small contingency!

      You all are entitled to your opinions, but I will always uphold our HIGH STANDARDS and ACCOUNTABILITY at UK as Adolph Rupp mandated, and I’m very proud of my frllow UK fans, like BigoBlue who do this as well!

      GO BIG BLUE

    8. runningunnin.454

      Crickets. Deafening silence.

    9. henderblue

      What rg454 said. Pay attention KyCat. Do the research on Barnes.

    10. mikeg84

      Ok I’ve heard it all with your trolling. Rick Barnes was fired at Texas buddy. Why? Because they were the most underachieving program with what he brought in all the time. He made one final four in his time there and couldn’t even make it out of the first round with Kevin Durant. Just stop talking ? Bc you don’t know anything about basketball. When Cal was at MEMPHIS and Barnes at Texas – Cal smoked him by 20 in the elite 8. You literally are just a troll who won’t shut his mouth.

      I FORGET THOUGH, WE ARE UK AND PLAY FOR CHAMPIONSHIPS GOSH DAMNIT. CAL HASNT DELIVERED ONE TO KENTUCKY!! I think we need to hire you – or at least make you AD, because you would never have us lose another game again I truly believe that. Let’s get your resume pushed through so we can get you an interview – you will kill it with your hoops knowledge.

  3. Cousins Fake Tooth

    Losing like Florida did, the NCAA should go back and reverse the outcome. Its clear he walked. By rule, its a turn over. Follow your rules. But refs did not call it. They should make it right. Game over, Florida wins.

    1. Smyrna_Cat

      Fake Tooth, Florida lost. They played bad D. The small shuffle is never called, and most every basketball play could be reviewed. Is that really what we want?

  4. binarysolo

    Love KSR, love the Cats, but this is why you don’t go around saying “we’ve turned a corner” even after impressive wins.

    1. Smyrna_Cat

      But KSR does it all the time.

    2. binarysolo

      KSR: where every basketball win is a sign that we’re gonna win it all and every football transfer is coming to UK.

  5. UKPROF

    I am disgusted that the University of Kentucky athletic department decided to change the official school color from UK BLUE to “I left my uniform in the sun all summer and now it looks more like North Carolina crap blue”. UK has an OFFICIAL color and it is NOT faded blue-jean blue. When I see them wearing that dam faded out garbage it makes me want to vomit. Now, ya wanna know what I really think!!?

  6. Smyrna_Cat

    Drop the hyperbole … this was not a “devastating” loss. Did you read the Letter to BBN by Savannah about not over-reacting?

  7. Smyrna_Cat

    And we didn’t “find a way to lose.” That is just silly. Bama played harder than use, shot better, rebounded better, and just beat us.

  8. Smyrna_Cat

    “Florida Gets Absolutely Robbed” … no, they didn’t!!!!! They played horrid defense and let the other team score a bunny at the end of the game. We could say “THEY FOUND A WAY TO LOSE.” Refs will never call that small shuffle at the end of the game, even at Florida.

    1. BigolBlue

      Smyrna could possibly be Savannah or Cals daughter. He is beyond blue tinted. He even thought the loss to Wisoncsin in 15 was not devastating and everything was fine. Oh and losing to K state garbage school was just fine

    2. Ttimecat

      @bigolblue are you even a kentucky fan ive seen you on here saying there outstanding when they beat louisville and unc now your bashing your own team when they lose on the round..i even seen say the vols are going to bend us over well just so you know everybody last year said that amd what we do in the sec championship game to that same team last year?? We beat there ass

    3. henderblue

      We’ll beat them at Rupp. Feb 6th. Write it down

    4. RealCatsFan

      Ttime, it’s well established that he is a Louisville troll.

  9. henderblue

    I wouldn’t call it a crushing defeat. A bad loss, but not a total shock. A blip on the radar.

    1. mikeg84

      I love when Cal trolls y’all on national tv. Because real fans don’t give a rats ass what people like you say or think Bc you’re terrible people for our program and the ones the nation looks at as ridiculously crazy and laughs at. Didn’t Cal get to the Elite 8 just 2 years ago with D Fox and lose by a buzzer beater to the national champs? We got absolutely cheated by the refs also in that game so what are you talking about when you say we are done being a national title contender? Just shut your mouth dude – you’re a joke. Go sit in the corner with your 4 year old little girls where you belong and keep crying. Remember that next time when you wanna come post something so stupid. Just go vent and cry like a bitscchhh like usual, then see if you can grab your sac and man up one day.

    2. BigolBlue

      Hey mike. Cal has 1 title with 30+ nba guys. UK isnt moral victory university. Buzzer beaters elite 8’s etc. What matters? Winning it all. Cal is a huge underachiever considering.

    3. henderblue

      mikeg84,thanks for backing me and rg454 above. I’m sure this particular comment was aimed at one the knuckleheads above, probably KyCat or BigolBluedumbass…

  10. No more excuses cal

    This ky team may not finish in the top 10 in sec play but ole cal have ready for the June draft remember it’s players first

    1. henderblue

      You don’t want Kentucky to recruit the best players, I assume?

  11. No more excuses cal

    Rick Barnes will take them 3 star kids you know the ones cal won’t recuirt and beat him like a drum but hey we players first as long as cal get them ready for June draft it will be a great season and we will just pretend we won it all that why we are the gold standard maybe it’s cheap pawn shop gold but cal is a legend in his own mind and that’s all that matters

    1. henderblue

      Second only to the one above it by Nomoreexcuses…

    2. KYCat4EVER

      SPOT ON no more excuses… very well said

    3. DelrayCat

      I think it’s disingenuous to use such hyperbole and place so much emphasis on coaching. No one should dispute the fact that Tennessee has been building this team before Barnes and that this is a grown man team with two special players that through coaching or sheer desire became great players that are easily the best duo in the league. My guess would be next year Tennessee takes a drop and their time at the top won’t last long.

    4. KYCat4EVER

      The UT drop is certainly possible DelrayCat, even non-one-and-done programs have rebuilding years!

      Hey, many CUDOS to you I n the manner in which you respond and express disagreement and alternative points WITHOUT all the name calling, cussing, unbiased accusations, and childishness!

      It’s refreshing to have your mature perspective and behavior!

      Thanks and all the best to you!

  12. CahillsCrossingNT

    This program is finished as a national contender. It’s sad to see, but it’s reality as well. It’s no better off than it was in Tubby’s last two years.

    1. henderblue

      One of the dumbest comments ever written here.

    2. KYCat4EVER

      BINGO! Absolutely SPOT ON CahillsCrossing!

      If Calipari caught a plane out of Lexington as Tubby Smith did Back in 2007, I truly believe we would see how “Under the bar” Calipari’s Bench Coaching truly is.

      Don’t forget, during Tubby last seven seasons UK fans were calling for a COACHING CHANGE while, just like like today, a small contingency had no clue and tried to label the fans as “not real fans”.

      LOL…

      It took one year and it was obvious Tubby had no business staying that long at UK.

      IMO, The same thing would occur if Coach Calipari caught the next flight out of Lexington.

      Don’t get me wrong, Cals a good Coach, but NOT on our level at UK!

    3. Jiminy Crickets

      Kycat4ever, I’m HARD on coach Cal, as much as anyone I question his ability to coach. But I’ve also said over and over again he is the best ambassador this program could ask for. There is a very very short list of who I’d like to see replace him. There’s only 3 people in my mind that could not only win here, but also handle the NYC type of news coverage/expectations that comes with the job. 2 of the guys I’d like would never leave their current gig, and the other has already turned the job down twice.

    4. Jiminy Crickets

      I grew up with Hall, and Sutton and was at UK with pitino and Tubby (only 1 year of tubby). I’ve never wanted any of those (even Sutton) to get fired. I was NEVER a fan of the billy g hire, but at that time Dicky V and ESPN convinced the world we were racist because of Tubby (that’s a whole other debate) and Barnes, Billy D, and several others turned us down. Calipari has brought us back to prominence like pitino, but I feel we are drifting back to average like Tubby. But fired? Not a chance

    5. KYCat4EVER

      Respect your opinion Crickets!

      GO BIG BLUE!

    6. Keith Biggins

      Cal’s right “you people are crazy”

  13. DelrayCat

    This team will be fine… Whether they lose 2-3 or 7 more games… they will be damn dangerous at the end of the year… Especially once he finally gets EJ and Richards playing. If that doesn’t happen, they may be screwed.

  14. kenny

    My mind unscrambles it even when it’s backwards, weird phenomenon?