It is amazing what one game can do to a conference race. Auburn appeared to be in complete command of the Southeastern Conference race before losing by a point at Florida. Now four teams are separated by two games at the top of the standings.
No. 3 Auburn, No. 6 Kentucky, No. 18 Arkansas and No. 17 Tennessee are a combined 59-1 at home and 20-14 on the road, so the ability to win away from home could be the difference.
Auburn (-800) continues to have the best odds to win the SEC title followed by preseason favorite Kentucky (+550) and Tennessee (+2500). Kentucky (+650) trails only Gonzaga as a national championship contender according to the March Madness odds. Auburn (+750) is close behind while Tennessee is next at +5000.
Game of the Week
LSU Tigers at Kentucky Wildcats
- Date, time, and TV: Wednesday, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN
Louisiana State is looking for a rare season sweep against Kentucky after winning by five as a two-point favorite at home on Jan. 4 according to the Las Vegas odds.
Kentucky had won five of the previous six games in the series.
LSU (19-8, 7-7) saw its three-game winning streak come to an end with a two-point loss to South Carolina on Saturday. LSU dropped to 2-7 against the spread in its last nine outings with seven of the last eight finishing over the total.
Kentucky (22-5, 11-3) hasn’t covered in back-to-back games in its last 10 contests, even though the Wildcats have won seven of their last eight games.
Kentucky (+155) is tied with Arizona for the second-best chance to reach the Final Four according to the March Madness predictions.
The Wildcats’ Oscar Tshiebwe (+125) has the best odds to be named national player of the year. He was held to eight points by LSU’s stifling defense in the first meeting.
Here is a look at the other SEC games being played on either Tuesday or Wednesday.
Arkansas Razorbacks at Florida Gators
- Date, time, and TV: Tuesday, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Florida is coming off one of its most memorable wins in quite some time, taking down then-No. 2 Auburn on Saturday as a 4½-point underdog at home. It was just Florida’s second win in seven games against ranked opponents this season.
The Gators were coming off back-to-back losses and failed to cover in their last five games. Each of Florida’s last six games went under the total
No. 18 Arkansas (21-6, 10-4) has covered against the college basketball spreads in its last eight games and has won 11 of its last 12 games, with eight of those contests decided by single digits. The Razorbacks are 15-1 at home but only 4-3 in true road games.
Florida (17-10, 7-7) had won 10 of the last 11 games in the series and covered eight of them before Arkansas won by 11 as a 4½-point underdog in the most recent meeting. Each of the last four games in the series went under the total, with only two of the last seven matchups decided by less than 10 points.
Jaylin Williams of Arkansas and Florida’s Colin Castleton are second and third in the SEC in rebounding.
Georgia Bulldogs at Texas A&M Aggies
- Date, time, and TV: Tuesday, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
This is one of those games where somebody has to win.
Georgia (6-21, 1-13) has lost seven straight games and is 0-8 on the road. The Bulldogs have covered in four of their last eight contests.
Texas A&M (16-11, 5-9) has lost eight of its last nine games and is 1-4 against the spread in the last five.
The Aggies have won six of the last seven matchups with Georgia, although the last two meetings were decided by a total of seven points, including a two-point win by visiting Texas A&M on Jan. 4. It was the second straight game in the series to go over the total after the previous nine went under.
Georgia leading scorer Kario Oquendo had 21 points and five rebounds in the first game against A&M. The Aggies’ Henry Coleman III contributed 21 points and seven rebounds in that game.
Tennessee Volunteers at Missouri Tigers
- Date, time, and TV: Tuesday, 7 p.m. ET, SEC Network
Missouri snapped a four-game losing streak to Tennessee in the last meeting, winning 73-64 as eight-point road underdogs. The Volunteers not only won five of the previous six meetings but covered in four of them. Tennessee has won the last three times playing at Missouri and covered in each of them.
No. 17 Tennessee (19-7, 10-4) saw its five-game winning streak come to an end with a 10-point loss at Arkansas. The Volunteers were held to a season-low 48 points. Three of Tennessee’s last four games have finished under the total.
Missouri (10-17, 4-10) has lost three games in a row with each of them going under the total. Seven of Missouri’s 10 wins have come at home while the Tigers are only 1-5 against ranked opponents.
Tennessee and Missouri rank 11th and 12th in the SEC in field-goal percentage.
Alabama Crimson Tide at Vanderbilt Commodores
- Date, time, and TV: Tuesday, 9 p.m. ET, SEC Network
Alabama has had more success recently on the court than against the point spread. The Crimson Tide has won three of its last four games but failed to cover in the last three. Three of Alabama’s last four games finished over the total.
Some of the note for those who bet online: The last seven games for Vanderbilt (14-12, 6-8) went over the total while the Commodores are 5-0-1 against the spread in the last six. Vanderbilt has split those six games.
Alabama has won four of the last five against Vanderbilt but has only covered in one of the last four. Only one of the last 17 games in the series have been decided by more than 10 points. That happened the last time Alabama traveled to Nashville, with the Crimson Tide rolling to a 15-point win as a 10-point favorite on the road..
Vanderbilt’s Scotty Pippen Jr. is the SEC’s leading scorer with an average of 19.5 points per game. Jaden Shackelford of Alabama is fourth at 17.1 points per contest.
Mississippi State Bulldogs at South Carolina Gamecocks
- Date, time, and TV: Wednesday, 6:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network
South Carolina has very quietly moved into a five-way tie for fifth place in the SEC standings thanks to a three-game winning streak. The last two victories have come by a total of five points.
The last seven games for the Gamecocks (16-10, 7-7) have gone over the total.
Mississippi State has posted back-to-back wins after a four-game losing streak. The Bulldogs have covered in three of the last four contests and three of those matchups finished under the total.
Mississippi State has won three in a row against South Carolina and five of the last six. The Bulldogs have won by an average of 17 points in the last three meetings, including a 78-64 win at home on Feb. 1.
Mississippi State has attempted fewer 3-pointers than any other SEC team while South Carolina is just ninth in that category.
Ole Miss Rebels at Auburn Tigers
- Date, time, and TV: Wednesday, 8:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network
Auburn’s lead in the SEC race is down to one game after its stunning loss to unranked Florida on Saturday. The Tigers have split their last four games and are 1-3-1 against the spread in the last five.
Perhaps it was the pressure of being the top-ranked team in the country for the first time in program history that led to this bump in the road.
Auburn (24-3, 12-2) has dropped to No. 3 in the polls. The Tigers are 14-0 at home and have won their last four home games by at least 14 points.
Auburn was the No. 2 overall seed in the March Madness bracket according to the release of the current top 16 seeds by the NCAA selection committee. However, the loss to Florida will change that.
Ole Miss (13-14, 4-10) snapped a four-game losing streak with a win over last-place Georgia on Saturday. Each of the Rebels’ last four games went over the total.
Ole Miss won 10 games in a row against Auburn from 2012-17. It has been a much more even series recently with Auburn sweeping the regular-season series during in 2017-18 and 2019-20. The Rebels returned the favor in 2018-19 and 2020-21. Auburn won the most recent game by nine points on Jan. 15 as a 7½-point road favorite.
The Rebels and Tigers both rank in the top five in the SEC in the fewest turnovers committed per game.
Jabari Smith of Auburn is being touted as a potential No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming NBA Draft.
Auburn’s 3-point shooting numbers look a bit better after last week, but a ton of that is due to Jabari Smith.
Against Vanderbilt and Florida:
Jabari Smith: 11-15
Rest of team: 5-21
— Nathan King (@NathanKing247) February 21, 2022