Paul Jordan of Wildcat Blue Blog is the RTC correspondent for the Southeastern Conference.
- Kentucky 19-0 (4-0)
- Vanderbilt 15-3 (4-0)
- Tennessee 15-3 (3-1)
- Florida 14-5 (3-2)
- South Carolina 11-8 (2-3)
- Georgia 9-8 (1-3)
- Mississippi State 15-4 (3-1)
- Mississippi 15-4 (3-2)
- Alabama 12-7 (2-3)
- Arkansas 8-11 (1-3)
- Auburn 10-10 (1-4)
- LSU 9-10 (0-5)
Good Rankings Week in the SEC. Kentucky finally ascended to the top of both the AP Top 25 and ESPN/USA Top 25 . The last SEC team ranked No. 1 in AP poll was Tennessee on Feb. 26, 2008. This is Kentucky’s first No. 1 AP ranking since March 18, 2003. Kentucky also stands alone as the only undefeated team in college basketball with a 19-0 record. Kentucky was an unanimous choice to both sets of voters. Tennessee fell from the top 10 in both polls as they landed at #14 in both. The Ole Miss Rebels came in at #18 in the AP poll and #20 in the ESPN/USA Today. Vanderbilt is now the fourth SEC team in both polls, coming in at #21 in the AP poll and #23 with the ESPN/USA Today voters. Mississippi State continues to swim in the “receiving votes” pool.
Kentucky’s DeMarcus Cousins was named SEC Freshman of the Week. He played just 17 minutes but had 16 points and 14 rebounds in a win over Arkansas. Georgia’s Travis Leslie was named SEC Player of the Week. He had 19 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists in win over No. 8 Tennessee.
THE WEEK AHEAD:
1/26 – #1 Kentucky (19-0) (4-0) @ South Carolina (11-8) (2-3) - 9 PM – ESPN
1/27 – #23 Vanderbilt (15-3) (4-0) @ #14 Tennessee (15-3) (3-1) – 7PM – ESPNU.
1/27 – Georgia (9-8) (1-3) @ Florida (14-5) (3-2) – 7 PM – ESPN 360
1/28 – #20 Mississippi (15-4) (3-2) @ Auburn (10-10) (1-4) 9 PM – ESPNU
1/28 – Mississippi State (15-4) (3-1) @ Arkansas (8-11) (1-3) – 9 PM – ESPN2
1/30 – #23 Vanderbilt (15-3) (4-0) @ #1 Kentucky (19-0) (4-0) – 4 PM – ESPN
1/30 – Arkansas (8-11) (1-3) @ #20 Mississippi (15-4) (3-2) – 4 PM – ESPN 360
1/31 – Florida (14-5) (3-2) @ #14 Tennessee (15-3) (3-1)
TEAM REPORTS (RANKINGS ARE AP TOP 25/ESPN – ESPN/USA Today)
Kentucky (#1 – #1) — Kentucky turned in their most complete game of the season with a 101-70 romp over the Arkansas Razorbacks this past Saturday. The Wildcats jumped out o a 10-0 start and never looked back as they made their case for the number one ranking in the country. Darius Miller had a career high 18 points and John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins both chipped in 16. Cousins added 14 rebounds.
Vanderbilt (#21, #23) – Jeffrey Taylor scored all of his 18 points in the second half and Vanderbilt rallied for an 82-74 victory over Auburn. John Jenkins‘ 3-pointer with 11:39 left gave Vanderbilt its first lead after the Commodores trailed by as many 16 in the first half. A.J. Ogilvy, Jermaine Beal and Brad Tinsley assisted the win with 17, 16, and 15 points, respectively.
Tennessee (#14, #14) — Wayne Chism scored all 11 of his points late in the game and Tennessee held off a determined Alabama Crimson Tide on Tuesday, 63-56. Scotty Hopson scored 17 and Kenny Hall 12 off the bench to pace the Vols who are 5-0 since the January 1 incident that led to Tyler Smith being kicked off the team. Then, on Saturday, Tennessee fell behind early to the Georgia Bulldogs and trailed at the half by 15 points. The Vols could never get back into the game on the road and fell, 78-63. Hopson led the Vols in scoring with 19 while Bobby Maze and Kenny Hall both conributed double digits in a game in which Georgia outplayed them in every aspect.
Florida – Erving Walker scored 27 points, and Florida went on a 9-0 run late in the second half to pull away for a 71-66 win over Arkansas. Kenny Boynton added 13 points in the UF win, but the Gators bench only managed six points in the game. Chandler Parsons hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer, his second game-winning shot in three weeks, and Florida beat South Carolina 58-56 on Saturday night. Parsons finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. He missed his first three 3s, but hit the only one that mattered. Boynton led the Gators with 14 points.
South Carolina – Devan Downey scored 25 points but got very little help from his teammates as South Carolina fell to Mississippi on Wednesday, 66-57. The Gamecocks did find a bit of hope as freshman Ramon Galloway had 11 points and is starting to emerge as a new scoring option. The Devan Downey show continued in Gainesville on Saturday as Downey scored 36 of his team’s 56 points against the Gators. That was almost enough for the win but a last second Gator 3-pointer finished the Gamecocks, 58-56. Sam Muldrow was the next leading scorer with six points.
Georgia — The Bulldogs ended a ten game losing streak to the Tennessee Vols with a 78-63 upset on Saaturday. Georgia hit 56% for the game, including 7 -12 3-pointers in the win. The duo of Trey Thompkins (21 pts) and Travis Leslie (19 points) keyed the win.
Mississippi State — After a week off, the Bulldogs struggled through their worst shooting performance of the season on Saturday and hit just 2 -18 3-pointers resulting in a 62-57 loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide. The Bulldogs also shot just 31.7% from the floor and 65.2% from the line. Even Jarvis Varnado was not immune to the bad shooting as he went 4-14. Barry Stewart was their leading scorer with 13 points.
Mississippi (#18, ##20) — The Rebels evened their SEC record on Saturday with a tough 66-57 win over South Carolina. The Rebels had to fight off a furious Gamecock rally after leading by 15 at half, but evened their SEC record at 2-2. Chris Warren had 17 points and Murphy Holloway had 14 points and 12 boards. On Wednesday, the LSU Tigers held Warren scoreless for 30 minutes, but Warren got loose for the last ten with 14 points, and helped the Rebels pull away from LSU, 73-63. Warren was one of three Rebels (Terrance Henry, Eniel Polynice) with 14 points.
Alabama — The Crimson Tide found themselves in a 1-3 SEC hole after losing a tough 63-56 game to the Tennessee Vols on Tuesday. Alabama appeared to be a darkhorse candidate for the SEC West title but now need to put together a nice winning streak to get their season back on track. JaMychal Green had 16 to lead Alabama. The Crimson Tide stopped their slide with a 62-57 upset of Mississippi State four days later. Mikhail Torrance had 20 points and Green added 18 as the Tide came away with a big home court win.
Arkansas — Rotnei Clarke had five 3-pointers and scored 17 points to lead the Razorbacks but it was not enough to stop a late 9-0 run by Florida and an eventual 71-66 loss on Thursday. Marshawn Powell and Courtney Fortson both had 14 points but this was another in a season of frustrating losses for Arkansas. Less than 48 hours later, Arkansas went up to Rupp Arena in Lexington to try and prevent Kentucky from ascending to the number one ranking and came back the victim of a 101-70 beatdown. Fortson scored 21 points to lead the Razorbacks and Clark managed 13 points even though he was harassed into 2-9 shooting from beyond the arc for the game.
Auburn – DeWayne Reed scored 21 points on Wednesday and Auburn hit six of eight free throws in the final minute, sealing an 84-80 win over LSU. Auburn had balanced scoring with five players in double digits scoring and was 10-22 on 3-point shooting. The Tigers let a 16 point first half lead get away from them and they suffered a tough 82-74 loss at the hands of the Vanderbilt Commodores on Saturday. Lucas Hargrove had 19 points for the Tigers while Reed and Frankie Sullivan added 16 and 14.
LSU – LSU got 38 points and 10 rebounds from Tasmin Mitchell on Wednesday but that was not enough to beat the Auburn Tigers. Storm Warren added 17 points and 12 boards and Bo Spencer added 12. The rest of the Tigers could only muster 13 points as LSU fell, 80-67. Spencer, Mitchell, and Warren scored 49 of the Tigers’ 63 points and once again it was too little as the Tigers fell 73-63 to Ole Miss on Saturday for their fifth straight loss. Michell had a double-double with 16 and 11 and Spencer added 22 points. The Tigers are still winless in the conference and will try for their first again this Wednesday against Alabama.