SEC Full Court Press: Where Everybody Knows Your NamePosted by Brian Joyce on January 9th, 2012
The familiarity amongst teams once conference play begins creates an atmosphere that is truly hard to predict. The SEC experienced some ups and downs as some teams didn’t play as expected while others rose to the occasion. The first week of SEC play was nothing if not unpredictable, and it’s only the beginning of what is to come.
The Week That Was:
- The Ole Miss Rebels haven’t shot at least 45% from the field and at least 30% from three-point range since a December 17 loss to Southern Miss.
- Meanwhile, the LSU Tigers, which beat the Rebels 81-55, have won eight of their last nine games.
- Kentucky’s Anthony Davis is closing in on the single season blocks record for the school. He has 74 so far this season, just 10 away from the all-time best mark of 84 set by Andre Riddick in 1993-94 and Melvin Turpin in 1982-83.
- Mississippi State allowed Arkansas to shoot 56.5% from the field on Saturday. Previously, the Bulldogs hadn’t allowed an opponent to shoot above 50% all season.
- The Razorbacks’ Julysses Nobles came up with a huge game on Saturday. The junior guard had 24 points and seven assists in by far his best game of the season.
- Coming off an 18-point loss to Memphis, the Tennessee defense held Florida to 56 points on 35.7% shooting. Both the point total and the shooting percentage were season lows for the Gators.
- Billy Donovan won’t want to pack his bags and leave Gainesville again this season. The Gators are 0-4 on the road this year, losing at Ohio State, Syracuse, Rutgers and Tennessee.
- Was that a Terrence Jones sighting? The Kentucky power forward had his best game in over a month with a 20-point performance on 8-9 shooting against South Carolina.
- Auburn mustered up 35 points in its game against Vanderbilt. The ‘Dores scored 38 in the first half.
- After accomplishing Auburn’s first ever triple-double this week, Kenny Gabriel tallied just two points, three rebounds and one block against the Commodores. It might be safe to say that Gabriel won’t secure the Tigers’ second triple-double in history while he’s playing against SEC competition.
Beat the Press:
- The Arkansas Razorbacks used its notorious full court pressure to force Mississippi State into 18 turnovers. The Hogs are the team of the week, with their biggest win of the season against the #15 Bulldogs. Mike Anderson’s team has won seven in a row to bring them to 12-3 overall. Arkansas is confident, but the next two weeks will prove just how far this team has come. The Razorbacks play at Ole Miss, at home against LSU, at Kentucky and then back in the Bud Walton Arena for a non-conference game with Michigan. Pick up a quality win (or two) and we will be talking about Arkansas playing its way onto the NCAA Tournament bubble.
- LSU center Justin Hamilton had a monster week. He averaged 22 points, 12.5 rebounds, three blocks and 1.5 steals per game against Virginia and Ole Miss. Hamilton is LSU’s leading scorer and rebounder, and has the Tigers playing their best basketball of the season. Hamilton scored his two highest point totals of the year in back-to-back games this week on extremely efficient shooting. He was 9-14 against Virginia, and came back with a 9-12 performance against Ole Miss. Hamilton may not be a household name in the SEC just yet, but he will be in short order. This is the seven footer’s first season playing for the Tigers, after transferring from Iowa State in 2009-10.
A Quick Look at the Week Ahead:
- Who’s excited for LSU and Alabama’s matchup on Wednesday? While most will be thinking of a different clash as the two schools meet for the BCS Championship tonight, I’m talking about the hardwood. LSU and Alabama will meet in a crucial SEC game that will receive much less publicity than its Monday meeting on the gridiron.
- Five SEC teams are undefeated at home thus far this year, and it might not be the teams you would think of first. Arkansas, Kentucky, Florida, Ole Miss and Auburn have yet to lose at home this season.
- Auburn’s undefeated home record is most at stake this week when the Tigers host the #2 Kentucky Wildcats on Wednesday night.
- Kentucky and Auburn’s game will feature two of the nation’s best shot-blocking teams. Kentucky ranks first in Ken Pomeroy’s block percentage, while Auburn ranks sixth.