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 a crazy week of college basketball in the conference.
1. The Gators Take a Dive
In the SEC’s weekly competition to see which talented team has the worst week, the Gators have emerged victorious.
Mike White’s team somehow found a way to lose to both Vanderbilt and Georgia this week who happen to be two of the worst squads in the conference. It doesn’t get much more disappointing than that.
Every week I mention the Gators just because they consistently find new ways to surprise me. Last week they were surprisingly good, this week surprisingly bad. Its been like this all season and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
What does make sense, however, is that Florida’s success is largely dependent on the play of junior guard Jalen Hudson. He is the leading scorer on the year for the Gators, but he failed to score a single point against Georgia and he only had 10 against Vanderbilt.
If Hudson turns things around then maybe Florida will be more consistent, but at this rate any prediction made about the Gators is sure to be a wrong one.
2. No Place Like Home
You have probably heard that home court advantage matters in college basketball. In fact, the saying has become a bit overused in today’s sports world. However, this week the SEC proved there is really no place like home.
Out of 14 SEC games, the road team was victorious just twice. Overall, that speaks to the parity of the conference. All season the SEC has been one of the best conferences in the country from top to bottom.
Good teams defend their home court. However, an argument can obviously be made that great teams find ways to win on the road and the SEC doesn’t have a great team this year.
I find that to be very true. There isn’t a great SEC team this season, but the same goes for every conference in college basketball. Villanova and Virginia are good, but even they have fallen victim to huge upsets this year.
This is the season of parity in college basketball, and the SEC standings are the brightest example of that.
— SEC Country (@SECcountry) February 18, 2018
3. Arkansas Wins the Week
The Razorbacks are 19-8 on the year and have shot up to third place in the SEC after winning four straight conference games. They proved their worth this week as they were one of the two teams who won on the road after winning at Ole Miss.
Arkansas followed that up with an absolute thrashing of a depleted Texas A&M team on Saturday. Senior guard Jaylen Bradford has led the Razorbacks in scoring all season long and he showed up in a big way against the Aggies by posting 21 points, 5 assists, and 5 rebounds.
When you have one of the conferences best players in Bradford playing well, it’s easy to see why Arkansas has enjoyed this much success. But the real credit should go to Head Coach Mike Anderson.
Anderson has always been an underrated coach, but this is the perfect season for his team to breakthrough and win the SEC Tournament. With the Razorbacks playing like this, an SEC Championship doesn’t seem out of reach.
The longest winning streak in the SEC belongs to the Hogs. ? pic.twitter.com/DhtCiSXTE2
— Razorback Basketball (@RazorbackMBB) February 18, 2018
4. Texas A&M is Heading for the NIT
Just last week I said that the Aggies looked like the team most likely to win the SEC Tournament. Well fast forward to this week and I don’t look very smart.
In my defense, I made that prediction before two of A&M’s players went down due to injury so it makes sense why they are walking out of this week with two losses.
Billy Kennedy’s team is now sitting at ninth place in the SEC with a 17-10 overall record. Add that with the fact that multiple players are down with serious injuries and you have a recipe for a good NIT team.
Tuesday’s game against a much improved Mississippi State team is a must win for Texas A&M. If they drop what will be a big resume-building game, expect the Aggies to miss the big dance. For a multitude of reasons, it just has not been Texas A&M’s year.
5. A Glimmer of Hope for Kentucky
Guess what everyone??? Kentucky won a basketball game in February!!!!
— Sacha Killeya-Jones (@SKJ) February 17, 2018
Kentucky actually won a basketball game pic.twitter.com/kTclN6dOSR
— Hunter (@hunter_munford) February 17, 2018
For the past two weeks, the Wildcats struggled….and struggled….and struggled some more. After the first four-game losing streak under John Calipari’s tenure at UK, it was obvious that these young Cats hit the freshman wall hard.
However, Kentucky figured out how to win basketball games once again and they defeated a good Alabama team in Rupp Arena on Saturday. While the Wildcat’s offense was still painful to watch, they found a new way to get a victory: through real team basketball.
A total of 5 players were in double figures for UK, and even more impressively the Wildcats had a ridiculous 44-27 rebounding advantage over the Crimson Tide on the boards.
This may not be a championship team, but its still an immensely talented one that is still healthy. If they keep rebounding well and playing more as a team on offense, then the Wildcats could find their way to the second weekend of the big dance.
Tuesday’s game at Arkansas will be the perfect test for UK. A win sends a statement that Kentucky can still conjure up a special run in the postseason. A loss will hand UK its 10th of the season, and with three regular season games left the Wildcats could still collapse and miss the NCAA tournament.
There is hope for the young Wildcats, but as Texas A&M would tell you, things can fall apart in a hurry in the SEC.