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The Battalion

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

The Battalion

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Around the SEC: Jan. 27

A look at this weekend’s conference slate
An+SEC+microphone+in+the+hand+of+a+sideline+reporter+during+the+Texas+A%26amp%3BM+Football+vs.+Sam+Houston+game+on+Saturday%2C+Sept.+3%2C+2022.
Photo by Cameron Johnson

An SEC microphone in the hand of a sideline reporter during the Texas A&M Football vs. Sam Houston game on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022.

No. 8 Auburn at Mississippi State

Saturday, Jan. 27 — Humphrey Coliseum — Starkville, Mississippi

2:30 p.m. on SEC Network

The Tigers have been on a roll since the first week of December, winning their last 11 games by double digits. Auburn emerged as a sleeper SEC team in November but slowly progressed into a Top-10 pick after its prominent win streak, and after taking down No. 22 Ole Miss.

Auburn currently sits at the top of the SEC standings, boasting a modest 5-0 record against conference opponents.

On the other side of the court, the Bulldogs have gone 2-3 in SEC play, with their most notable win against No. 5 Tennessee. Mississippi State ranks 6th in the NCAA in preventing 3-pointers, so if Auburn stays close to the rim, this should be another mark in the win column for Coach Pearl and the rest of the Tigers.

Prediction: Auburn 81, Mississippi State 70

No. 6 Kentucky at Arkansas

Saturday, Jan. 27 — Bud Walton Arena — Fayetteville, Arkansas

5 p.m. on ESPN

Big Blue has already been through its fair share of trials and tribulations early this season. First, Kentucky had a run-in with then-No. 1 Kansas, which ended in an 89-84 loss.

Then the Wildcats were upset by UNC-Wilmington at home for the first time in program history, which was largely credited to a poor shot selection. Kentucky came up short against the Aggies and South Carolina, who were both unranked SEC teams.

This might be the Razorbacks’ biggest chance to take advantage of the No. 6 team in the country, but only if they play their usual solid defense. Arkansas ranks fourth overall in total blocks, while also limiting turnovers to less than 12 a game.

Prediction: Arkansas 69, Kentucky 65

LSU at Alabama

Saturday, Jan. 27 — Coleman Coliseum — Tuscaloosa, Alabama

7 p.m. on ESPN

The Tigers down in Baton Rouge are staring down the middle of the SEC standings after a 3-2 record. Noteworthy losses against Auburn and Texas A&M sunk March expectations below sea level for the swamp-dwelling Tigers.

A win against the Crimson Tide, who entered the season creeping into the AP-Top 25, would allow the Tigers to make a push further up the SEC ladder.

The Tide still rolls on behind senior G Mark Sears, who leads the conference in points with 19.8 per game, and senior F Grant Nelson who leads in rebounds with 5.8 a game.

It is hard to believe the Crimson Tide will drop this matchup against the struggling Tigers at home.

Prediction: Alabama 84, LSU 70

No. 5 Tennessee at Vanderbilt

Saturday, Jan. 27 — Memorial Gymnasium — Nashville, Tennessee

5 p.m. on SEC Network

The rivalry falls into the Volunteers’ hands so far, bragging a win-loss record of 129-76.

However, the Commodores won the pair’s last matchup, 66-65 in February. Vanderbilt has fallen on harsh times this season, only winning five games so far and starting out 0-5 in conference competition.

On the flip side, the Volunteers are sitting just below Auburn at the second slot in the conference. Senior G Dalton Knecht will be a huge problem for the Commodores if they let him heat up from beyond the arc, as he currently boasts a 40% shooting percentage from 3.

With the dominance Tennessee has shown so far in the SEC, it’s difficult to see Vanderbilt making this a close game with Knecht’s presence on the court.

Prediction: Tennessee 80, Vanderbilt 62

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