Three of the five Southeastern Conference teams currently in the Associated Press Top 25 poll are be in action Tuesday, kicking off a busy week as intraleague play begins in earnest.
No. 9 Auburn needs to avoid South Carolina’s upset bid, while No. 16 Kentucky hits the road to face No. 21 LSU, owner of the stingiest defense in the SEC.
Auburn might be leading the way in the polls, but Kentucky (+2000) has the best odds to win the national championship among SEC teams.
Here’s a look at the top games to watch in the coming week, along with some information for those who bet online for college basketball odds.
Auburn Tigers at South Carolina Gamecocks
Date, time, TV: Tuesday, Jan. 4th, 6:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network
Auburn is led by freshman forward Jabari Smith, who can score in the lane, from the perimeter and at the foul line. He’s a a potential No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NBA draft and figures to be tested by one of the better defensive teams in the SEC…and a team that’s 7-0 at home.
Just one of the last eight games between the teams has finished as a one-possession contest.
It wasn’t too long ago that South Carolina was winning four of five games in the series while Auburn (12-1, 1-0 in the SEC) was failing to cover against the college basketball odds in five straight contests against the Gamecocks (9-3). The tide has certainly turned, with Auburn winning the last three meetings, including dropping 109 on South Carolina the last time the teams played.
The Gamecocks will also play Saturday (jan. 8th) at Vanderbilt.
Kentucky Wildcats at LSU Tigers
Date, time, TV: Tuesday, Jan. 4th, 7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN
Kentucky freshman Tyty Washington is averaging 16.3 points on 60% shooting to go with 3.3 rebounds and 5.7 assists over his last three games.
LSU (12-1, 0-1) is fourth nationally in scoring defense (55.3 ppg) and leads with a 34.5 field-goal percentage defense number.
Kentucky (11-2, 1-0) is third with 15 offensive rebounds per game, leading the nation in rebound margin wheile third in scoring margin. It doesn’t hurt that the Wildcats have Oscar Tshiebwe, the nation’s leading offensive rebounder (5.7 rpg) and total rebounds (15.2 rpg).
There were three straight games between UK and LSU decided by three points or less, but that streak ended last January, when Kentucky rolled to a 82-69 win over the visiting Tigers when listed as a point-and-a-half favorites.
Kentucky has won five of the last six games against LSU, covering in four of those six games.
Nine of the last 12 games in the series have gone over the total including the last two
After facing LSU, Kentucky return home for a Saturday (Jan. 8th) game against Georgia.
Texas A&M Aggies at Georgia Bulldogs
Date, time, TV: Tuesday, Jan. 4th, 7:00 p.m. ET, ESPNU
Texas A&M (11-2), winner of four consecutive games, have connected on at least 50% of its shots in each of the last two games. The Aggies are 7-1 when attempting at least 20 three-pointers this season.
The Bulldogs (5-8) opened some eyes with a win over highly-touted Memphis, but are just 2-3 since that win. They’ve dropped back-to-back games against East Tennessee State and Gardner-Webb and are one of the two SEC teams with losing records.
Nine straight games between the Aggies and Bulldogs went under the total before the latest meeting won by Texas A&M, 74-65, Feb. 15th, 2020, went over the total,
Only once in the last five games that Texas A&M played at Georgia did a team top the 70-point mark, the Aggies’ 79-45 win in 2016. That was a rare blowout, since five of the previous games in the series were decided by single digits.
Vanderbilt Commodores at Arkansas Razorbacks
Date, time, TV: Tuesday, Jan. 4th, 8:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network
Vanderbilt (8-4) continues seeking consistency on offense, especially from the perimeter, as the Commodores are shooting just 29.5% from three-point range.
Arkansas (10-3, 0-1) has won 10 of its last 14 SEC home openers and 16 straight games at Bud Walton Arena. It’s their longest streak since winning 17 straight during the 2011-12 season.
Arkansas has won 11 of the last 12 games against Vanderbilt, with only three of the last 11 games decided by less than 10 points.
The last two games between these teams went over the total after the previous seven all were ‘under’ games.
Alabama Crimson Tide at Florida Gators
Date, time, TV: Wednesday, Jan. 5th, 7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2
No. 15 Alabama (10-3, 1-0) is 6-2 in games decided by single digits, including a five-point win over Tennessee the last outing. It’s been a bit of ‘all or nothing’ defensively for the Crimson in recent action. Memphis and Davidson shot 53% in wins over ‘Bama, but the Tide held Jacksonville State and Tennessee to 36% and 35% percent shooting, respectively.
Florida (9-3) hit a season-high 53.3% from the field in a win over Stony Brook in i2021’s last game.
Florida has beaten Alabama 17 times in the last 20 meetings, but it is interesting that two of those three Tide wins came on Florida’s home court.
The last time Florida hosted Alabama, the result was an exhilarating 104-98 Gator win back in 2020.
The Crimson Tide finish the week with another road game, Saturday (Jan. 8th) at Missouri.
Ole Miss Rebels at Tennessee Volunteers
Date, time, TV: Wednesday, Jan. 5th, 7:00 p.m. ET, SEC Network
Ole Miss senior guard Jarkel Joiner has 13 assists and two turnovers in his last four games-four games this season with at least two steals-as the Rebels are off to an 8-4 start.
Tennessee (9-3, 0-1) received some positive news as Kennedy Chandler and John Fulkerson have cleared COVID-19 protocols. They missed the Vols’ loss to Alabama on Dec. 29th. Chandler is Tennessee’s leading scorer at 14 points per game, also the team leader with 58 assists. Fulkerson averages 9.9 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.
All individuals who missed the trip to Alabama have been cleared.
(John Fulkerson and Kennedy Chandler missed the Alabama game due to Covid)
Expected to have all players available for practice today. #Vols
— Kellyanne Stitts (@KellyanneStitts) January 3, 2022
Tennessee is eighth among Division I teams in assist/turnover ratio.
The last four games and eight of the last nine between the teams have gone under the total established by the Las Vegas odds.
Ole Miss edged Tennessee, 52-50, when they last met 111 months ago, snapping a five-game losing streak against the Volunteers.
Tennessee has won the last three home games by an average of 19 points, eclipsing the 90-point mark in the last two.
Mississippi State Bulldogs at Missouri Tigers
Date, time, TV: Wednesday, Jan. 5th, 9:00 p.m. ET, SEC Network
Mississippi State is 9-1 in its last 10 games against Missouri, having covered against the Las Vegas odds in each of those 10 matchups.
Only six of the last eight games between the teams have been decided by single digits.
Mississippi State’s leading scorer, Iverson Molinar, is 38-for-43 from the foul line in the last seven games as the Bulldogs (10-3) are one of four teams to win their SEC openers.
Javon Pickett is the only Missouri player to start all 13 games this season. However, he’s missed 13-of-15 from the field in the last two games-both Mizzou losses-as the Tigers fell to 6-7.
Arkansas Razorbacks at Texas A&M Aggies
Date, time, TV: Saturday, Jan. 8, 1:00 p.m. ET, SEC Network
Texas A&M is 4-0 against the spread in its last four games against Arkansas, though the Aggies lost two of those four showdowns.
The last four meetings have gone under the total.
Arkansas is averaging 14.4 offensive rebounds in its 10 wins, 8.7 in the three losses.
The Aggies went from averaging 14.1 turnovers in the first nine games of the season to committing just 10.8 over the last four.
Tennessee Volunteers at LSU Tigers
Date, time, TV: Saturday, January 8, 6:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2
After Tennessee won 10 of 12 against LSU, the Tigers have turned the tables, not only winning five of the last six meetings but going 5-1 against the spread during that stretch.
A run of five straight games in the series going under the total ended in the last meeting, won by LSU, 78-65.
Florida Gators at Auburn Tigers
Date, time, TV: Saturday, Jan. 8th, 8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN
Florida leads the country with an average of 8.2 blocked shots per game. Senior Collin Castleton leads the way with 30 blocked shots including at least one in every game this season.
Each of the last five games between the Gators and Tigers has gone under the total.
Florida had won 20 consecutive games against Auburn before the Tigers took both games in 2019. The Gators took the last two meetings by 22 and 17 points, respectively,
Mississippi State Bulldogs at Ole Miss Rebels
Date, time, TV: Saturday, Jan. 8th, 8:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network
The last four games in the series have been decided by an average of 19.5 points per game.
The teams have alternated wins in the last eight games in the series. They each went 2-2 at home during that stretch or if you prefer, they went 2-2 on the road in those eight contests.
The last three games have gone under the total.