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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Around SEC basketball

Kentucky and Tennessee look to bounce back while South Carolina and Auburn face off in a top-15 matchup
Photo by Ishika Samant
Texas A&M Aggies forward Solomon Washington (13) follows Tennessee Volunteers guard Jordan Gainey (2) during Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

Ole Miss at No. 22 Kentucky

Tuesday, Feb. 13 — Rupp Arena — Lexington, Kentucky

8 p.m. on ESPN

The Rebels enter the matchup an even 5-5 in conference play, but have a chance to attack a vulnerable Kentucky team.

They only lost by 3 in an away contest to South Carolina, but have had a whole week off to prepare for this game. Senior guard Matthew Murrell leads the way with 16.8 points per game on 47.6% shooting. He’s aided by his backcourt partner, senior G Allen Flanigan, who is the team’s second-leading scorer at 15.7 points a game.

For Kentucky, the Wildcats are coming off a home loss to unranked Gonzaga and have lost their last three games at Rupp Arena. However, the Wildcats are led by an explosive backcourt duo in graduate G Antonio Reeves and freshman G Rob Dillingham. Expect a close game, but Kentucky should find a way to protect home court.

Prediction: Kentucky 84, Ole Miss 76

No. 11 South Carolina at No. 13 Auburn

Wednesday, Feb. 14 — Neville Arena — Auburn, Alabama

7:30 p.m. on SEC Network

The Gamecocks have been the surprise team of the year, not just in the SEC, but in the country. They were picked to finish dead last in the conference but have since climbed the national rankings to No. 11.

South Carolina rides a seven-game winning streak, including away wins over Kentucky and Tennessee, and looks poised to stay tied for first in the conference, but faces another tough challenge in the Tigers. Junior G Meechie Johnson leads the way with 14.1 points a game while graduate forward B.J. Mack adds 13.6 points and leads the team in rebounds with 5.1.

Auburn is coming off a rough outing in Gainesville, Florida, but it still sits third in the conference, right behind South Carolina. It has had a few hiccups in conference play this year, but the Tigers scored 99 points in regulation against Alabama last Wednesday. Junior F Johni Broome leads the team in scoring and rebounding at 16 and 8.6, respectively.

Both teams can score the ball well, but Auburn should bounce back from its 65-point performance against the Gators.

Prediction: Auburn 78, South Carolina 68

No. 8 Tennessee at Arkansas

Wednesday, Feb. 14 — Bud Walton Arena — Fayetteville, Arkansas

8 p.m. on ESPN2

The Volunteers are coming off a disappointing 85-69 loss to Texas A&M and face off with a struggling Arkansas team.

Tennessee sits fourth in the SEC and is led by senior G Dalton Knecht. The Northern Colorado transfer was just a Second-Team All Big-Sky selection with the Bears, but has surprised the college basketball world and is a candidate for the Naismith Men’s College Player of the Year.

He leads the team in scoring with 20.3 points per game on 47.7% shooting and 40.5% from 3-point range. He also grabs 4.8 rebounds a game, which is third-highest on the team.

The Razorbacks sit at 3-7 in the conference and could be dead last if it weren’t for Vanderbilt and Mizzou combining for one conference win so far this season.

Junior G Tramon Mark leads the way with 17.6 points per game on 51.4% shooting, but Arkansas is coming off a tight 3-point win at home versus Georgia. It will have home-court advantage, but the Volunteers should bounce back from their 37.6% shooting performance.

Prediction: Tennessee 83, Arkansas 68

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About the Contributor
Eli Meschko
Eli Meschko, Sports Writer
Eli Meschko is a journalism senior from Boerne, Texas, and is minoring in communication and sports management. Eli has covered football, men's basketball, baseball, softball, hockey and track & field. Eli also writes for Dave Campbell's Texas Football as an intern. After graduation, Eli plans on pursuing a career in sports media or public relations.
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