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The SEC Shooty Hoops Review: Week 3 (January 12th - January 18th)

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3 weeks in, and half the conference should probably start thinking about spring practice.

NCAA Basketball: Florida at South Carolina
RAISE YOUR HAND IF YOU ARE EXCITE!
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

If you make enough predictions, eventually you’ll get a handful right.

Over the weekend, I told you to watch Florida-Georgia. What happened there? The Dawgs and GO GATA went to OT with the Gators emerging victorious. Tonight, I told you to watch the Gamecocks and GO GATA. What happened there? It was a one-point game in the last minute with Cocky getting the big win to stay undefeated in conference play/when Sindarius Thornwell is on the court.

YOU’RE WELCOME, WORLD! (And kindly ignore all of the predictions that I’ve gotten wrong to this point. K? Thanks!)

The Week That Was

Kentucky? Still undefeated in conference play, though they haven’t been as overwhelming as one might have suspected (the 20-point win over Auburn on Saturday is a bit misleading as Bruce had his charges within 6 with 8 minutes left).

Missouri? Well...they probably won’t go totally defeated (and I’m terrified Vandy or Tennessee will be the victim), but yeesh. If I lived in Columbia North, I’d probably be evaluating how Son of Coach ‘Em Up has been ‘crootin’.

Week 3 SEC Results

Team Overall Record Conference Record Weekend Game Weekend Result Midweek Game Midweek Result
Team Overall Record Conference Record Weekend Game Weekend Result Midweek Game Midweek Result
Kentucky 16-2 6-0 Auburn W, 92-72 @ Mississippi State W, 88-81
South Carolina 15-3 5-0 Ole Miss W, 67-56 Florida W, 57-53
Florida 14-4 5-1 Georgia W, 80-76 (OT) @ South Carolina L, 53-57
Alabama 11-6 4-1 @ LSU W, 81-66 Missouri W, 68-56
Georgia 12-6 4-2 @ Florida L, 76-80 (OT) Vanderbilt W, 76-68
Mississippi State 12-5 3-2 Texas A&M W, 67-59 Kentucky L, 81-88
Arkansas 14-4 3-3 Missouri W, 92-73 @ Texas A&M W, 62-60
Auburn 12-6 2-4 @ Kentucky L, 72-92 LSU W, 78-74
Ole Miss 11-7 2-4 @ South Carolina L, 56-67 Tennessee W, 80-69
Tennessee 9-9 2-4 @ Vanderbilt W, 87-75 @ Ole Miss L, 69-80
Vanderbilt 8-10 2-4 Tennessee L, 75-87 @ Georgia L, 68-76
Texas A&M 9-8 1-5 @ Mississippi State L, 59-67 Arkansas L, 60-62
LSU 9-8 1-5 Alabama L, 66-81 @ Auburn L, 74-78
Missouri 5-12 0-5 @ Arkansas L, 73-92 @ Alabama L, 56-68

Otherwise, as we reach/near the conclusion of the first third of the SEC season, there are a couple of pleasant/unpleasant surprises.

Props to Frank Martin for his team’s performance thus far. They’re up to the #1 defensive team in the nation per KenPom, and defense usually travels and translates well to tournament time. Alabama has gotten off to a solid start (against a weak schedule) and I gave the Western Bulldogs props last week.

On the flip side, LSU and A&M have absolutely bombed the start of conference play with a combined 2-10 record (1 against Mizzou, 1 against...LSU). LSU wasn’t expected to do much and is still coached by Johnny Jones, but A&M was in most late December brackets and has looked dreadful.

This Week’s Super Squadron

NCAA Basketball: Florida at South Carolina
More aesthetically pleasing than WATCHING a USCe game
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

After a 16-point loss on the road to a middling Memphis team, it would have been easy to dismiss the Gamecocks ahead of league play. That appears to have been a mistake.

The early season schedule hasn’t been the toughest (A&M, Tennessee, Ole Miss), but they won in Athens and then tonight over Florida to take over the #2 spot. As I referenced above, they now possess the most fearsome defense in the nation. It ain’t always pretty, but it’s effective.

That’ll get put to the test on Saturday night in Lexington, but the Gamecocks are hot right now.

This Week’s Turrible Team

NCAA Basketball: Tennessee at Vanderbilt
Vandy should default end up here for always attempting to “white out” Tennessee
Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

I try to reserve this space for teams that went 0-2 in the previous week, and I try to encourage diversity of thought. I’ve already shamed A&M and LSU, and I envision having other opportunities to laugh at Mizzou, so that left one choice.

I didn’t see any of Saturday’s game, though Will’s recap leads me to believe it was entertaining. But after a 2-0 start and a 14-point second half lead in Tuscaloosa, Vandy has been outscored by 43 points in losing games to Alabama, Kentucky, UT, and UGA.

Vandy is essentially running a 7-man rotation, and when they can’t shoot, they struggle. If their legs get wobbly down the stretch, it may get really ugly in Nashville.

Bracket Matrix: Who Might Dance

With 7.5 weeks until Selection Sunday, it feels a bit like the SEC’s reputation hangs in the balance.

3 teams appear to be comfortably in at the moment in Kentucky (not going anywhere), Florida (probably not going anywhere), and South Carolina (stuck in the middle of the field, but trending up). Arkansas stopped the wheels from coming off last week, and Georgia remains in the conversation.

If all 5 make it? It would tie the high water mark of the 2010s (5 in 2015 and 2011) and introduce some new blood to the SEC’s NCAA proceedings. If only 3 make it? Then the “Lolz SEC Shooty Hoops” lazy narrative continues.

Again, there’s still plenty of time for things to change, but it’s beginning to get a bit clearer here.

Eye on the NCAA: January 18th

Team Average BM Seed # of Brackets (53) Bracketology KenPom RPI
Team Average BM Seed # of Brackets (53) Bracketology KenPom RPI
Kentucky 1 77 1 1 6
Florida 4 77 4 13 7
South Carolina 7 77 7 28 22
Arkansas 11 71 10 46 36
Georgia First Four Out 28 First Four Out 42 41
Mississippi State Others 3 N/A 87 124
Ole Miss Others 1 N/A 90 43

Games to Watch: Week 3

Weekend: South Carolina at Kentucky

There is exactly one matchup this weekend of teams in the top half of the conference, and this is it...but it should be a good one.

It’ll be a fascinating contrast of styles in Lexington. Kentucky has the #2 offense; South Carolina has the #1 defense. Kentucky plays with the 9th fastest tempo; South Carolina slogs along at #202.

Sagarin’s numbers favor Florida over South Carolina in terms of “likelihood to knock off the evil empire,” but the Gamecocks will have a real shot. Last time I said that, Arkansas lost by 20...but I mean it for REAL, this time.

Midweek: Alabama at Georgia

If Georgia is going to sneak into the field, they need to clearly establish themselves in the upper crust of the conference.

If Alabama is going to prove that they haven’t been the beneficiary of a super squishy schedule thus far, they need to go out and win a game of consequence.

Don’t expect a lot of points in this one as both teams sport sub-100 offenses, top-25 defenses, and tempos in the bottom half of Division 1. Actually...don’t watch this game.