While everyone in Big Blue Nation was pumped to watch Kentucky take on Auburn on national television – watching College Gameday and preparing for the big game – the rest of the Southeastern Conference was busy in their respective matchups. Here’s a look at a few of the major takeaways from this weekend’s SEC action.
1. LSU takes a two-game lead in the conference standings
Behind the strength of a 10-game win streak, including eight wins in the Southeastern Conference, the LSU Tigers have now jumped out to a two-game lead in the conference standings. Going into Saturday’s action, LSU had just a one-game advantage over Kentucky, with Auburn close behind in third place. The Auburn Tigers did the LSU Tigers a favor, knocking off Kentucky, which moved Auburn in a tie for a second and extending LSU’s lead.
Several teams are still within striking distance, with three teams sitting one game back from second place and four teams sitting two games back from the Kentucky-Auburn tie for second. With five weeks left in SEC regular-season play, a lot of movement can still happen, especially with a lot of games still to occur between teams in the top half of the conference standings. Here’s a look at what the SEC standings look like as of today:
2. The favorites were favorites for a reason
In Saturday’s SEC action, the favorite in each of the matchups took home the win, with the exception of one game. Auburn was a four-point favorite over Kentucky and won. LSU was a 10.5 point favorite over Ole Miss and won. Georgia was a 6.5-point favorite and took home the win over Texas A&M. Mississippi State was favored by 5.5 and won. A 6 point advantage for South Carolina was easily covered against Missouri. Lastly, Florida was an 11.5 point favorite at Vanderbilt and took home a W in a game that was closer than it should have been.
The lone outlier was the Arkansas-Alabama game in Tuscaloosa. Alabama was a 3.5-point favorite, despite being a far worse team, both in record and in talent. Arkansas took home the road victory by the score of 82-78, beating the spread by 7.5 points. If that is how the SEC is going to operate the rest of the year, with the favorites taking care of business, Kentucky should be in a good spot, with most of the remaining big games to be played at home in Rupp Arena.
3. The officiating is still… something
People can always find something to complain about, especially when it comes to officiating. But the noise around the conference (country?) seems to be even louder than usual this season.
People love to say Dan Dakich is a UK hater, but even he took note of the questionable officiating in a series of tweets yesterday regarding the UK-Auburn game.
Kentucky not being allowed to play in this game..quick whistle on The Cats
— Dan Dakich (@dandakich) February 2, 2020
The worst officiating of the year in UK Auburn..UK was absolutely taken out of this game.. Terrible
— Dan Dakich (@dandakich) February 2, 2020
This play was one of many that left us all puzzled.
EJ Montgomery was called for a foul on this play, just in case you wondering how incompetent SEC refs are. pic.twitter.com/RiVegn7juP
— Not Jerry Tipton (@NotJerryTipton) February 2, 2020
Let’s go back earlier in the week and get away from UK games. In Tuesday’s action, there were two examples that we can look to as proof that something needs to be done. Most notably, this referee actively bumping a coach and then trying to blame the coach for it. Zero repercussions for this action.
Watch as official Mike Nance walk into a totally standing still Rick Barnes and appears to accuse Barnes of making contact. Smh pic.twitter.com/JZu4Bj1GwJ
— Austin Price (@AustinPriceless) January 29, 2020
Another example can be found in the South Carolina vs Arkansas game earlier this week. A one-possession game for most of the second half, the below play was called a jump ball by the officiating crew, taking away free throws and giving the ball to the opponent. Arkansas would go on to lose the game by two points.
Every possession counts in close games, and officials taking away possessions with blatantly-poor calls is unacceptable. There were 57 total fouls called in this game.
This play was called a jump ball! @SEC officials should be better than this. Critical blown call in this game. Both South Carolina players even thought they fouled – look at their reactions. This is an easy foul call. Hey ref – just call the obvious! pic.twitter.com/ZyTWGITCz7
— David Brogdon (@dbrog32) January 30, 2020
The SEC will be back in action on Tuesday. Here’s a look at the matchups you can expect: