Saturday Basketball Open Thread

USA TODAY Sports

We'll be here for the Vols and Aggies at 4:00 PM, as well as the rest of today's action.

Tennessee and Texas A&M square off at 4:00 PM ET on the SEC Network, but with the Vols back to relevance and fighting to get in the NCAA Tournament, other conference and national games are important for us today as well. Here's the important SEC and national schedule for the Vols today:

Alabama at LSU - 1:30 PM - SEC Network

Guess who now controls their own destiny for the SEC Championship? Alabama has quietly moved to 10-3 in conference play, and is at Gainesville for their only meeting with the Gators one week from today. The Vols probably won't catch Alabama in the standings, are still just one game ahead of LSU, and despite wanting the team you just beat by 10 to look good, the Vols played Bama twice and LSU just once, and that means advantage Crimson Tide for us in decimal points. Alabama's RPI is at 58 right now; if the Tide close strong, Tennessee's split over them could make us look better in the eyes of the selection committee.

South Carolina at Georgia - 2:00 PM - CBS

Dawgs are 12-14 and trying to get north of .500 for NIT purposes, but are 6-7 in the SEC and have been hot lately. We're in Athens a week from today and because we played them twice, we want them to be as strong as possible.

#24 VCU at Xavier - 2:00 PM - CBS College Sports

Our win over Xavier is hanging on as a good win for the moment; their RPI is 93 with a 15-10 record. Getting a win today over a ranked team would help our resume down the road if we're in the conversation.

Tennessee at Texas A&M - 4:00 PM - SEC Network

You know what's at stake here: a four game win streak, the great basketball we've been playing, and our ability to stay relevant and stay in the NCAA Tournament conversation. It would also keep the Vols ahead of Texas A&M in the SEC standings. The Vols are in 7th place right now, but there are three teams just one game ahead of us (Ole Miss, Arkansas, Missouri), one of which would secure the final first round bye if the season ended today. Stay hot, stay relevant.

#11 Georgetown at #8 Syracuse - 4:00 PM - CBS

It pains me to think about how much that one point loss at Georgetown hurts us, especially given we shot 3 of 11 at the free throw line. The Hoyas are 20-4 with an RPI of 16. This is the last meeting between the two at the Carrier Dome with Syracuse en route to the ACC.

Arkansas at #5 Florida - 7:00 PM - ESPNU

Revenge night for the Gators, and we want them to get it. A Florida win not only keeps them strong for our Tuesday showdown, but would put Arkansas even with us in the loss column in the SEC if we win our game today. The Hogs believe they can get on the bubble with a win here.

Missouri at Kentucky - 9:00 PM - ESPN

Again, I know we'd like that last game against Mizzou to be a quality win, but we played Kentucky twice and, as you know, already spanked them by 30 once. I'd rather have that be considered a quality win, because I'm assuming we're not going to beat Missouri by 30. Missouri (RPI 35) still has time to get their act back together by the time we play them; a loss here would also pull them even with us in the SEC standings if we win.

It's a full day of action - we'll be here for all the action, including the Tennessee game. Go Vols.

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