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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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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
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The Battalion May 4, 2024

Around the SEC: Basketball Week 1

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.

Georgia vs. Oregon
Monday, Nov. 6 — 3:30 p.m. on TruTV
T-Mobile Arena — Las Vegas, Nevada
Coach Mike White enters his second season at the helm of Georgia looking to make a statement in a crowded SEC. He’ll have a chance in Game 1, as his Bulldogs take on Oregon in the Hall of Fame Classic in Las Vegas.
Georgia’s got a new-look squad with a good showing so far, as the Bulldogs beat Eastern Kentucky 99-82 in a preseason scrimmage. Meanwhile, coach Dana Altman and the Ducks have had a rough preseason due to multiple injuries, including 2023 All-Pac-12 first team selection senior center N’Faly Dante missing time.
Oregon’s injuries will limit its potential, and Georgia will surprise people by pulling off a season-opening upset in Las Vegas.
Prediction: Georgia 83, Oregon 71
Morehead State @ No. 24 Alabama
Monday, Nov. 6 — 7 p.m. on ESPN+
Coleman Coliseum — Tuscaloosa, Alabama
If Morehead State senior guard Mark Freeman was healthy, this could have easily been an opening-night upset. But the 2023 Ohio Valley preseason Player of the Year is out for the season after undergoing wrist surgery, so the favorites to repeat as champions of the OVC will have a tough test to begin their murders’ row of a non-conference schedule.
Alabama is rebuilding its roster after earning an SEC title and No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Crimson Tide will bring back senior guard Mark Sears, who started every game for Alabama a season ago and will be joined by a plethora of much-anticipated transfers including senior forward Grant Nelson from North Dakota State, who along with Sears earned preseason coaches’ All-SEC second team honors.
The Crimson Tide will get tested, but Nelson and Sears will lead Alabama to a win.
Prediction: Alabama 72, Morehead State 64
Auburn vs. No. 20 Baylor
Tuesday, Nov. 7 — 8 p.m. on ESPN
Sanford Pentagon — Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Auburn rolled to a 102-66 victory over Division II opponent Auburn-Montgomery in its preseason exhibition, but junior forward Johni Broome picked up a shoulder injury in the win. It shouldn’t matter in the long run, but that didn’t help as the Tigers initially struggled against an inferior opponent, shooting 3-for-16 from beyond the arc and racking up nine turnovers in the first half of the scrimmage.
There’s no need for Tiger fans to panic, as the team should improve and eliminate mistakes as the season progresses. They won’t get that time before they run into the Baylor buzzsaw, however, as the ranked Bears will begin their quest for a Big 12 title with a win in South Dakota.
Prediction: Baylor 67, Auburn 62
Mississippi State vs. Arizona State
Wednesday, Nov. 8 — 8:30 p.m. on Barstool TV
Wintrust Arena — Chicago, Illinois
Yes, this game is actually on Barstool TV. Mississippi State starts its second season under coach Chris Jans with the weirdest broadcast situation in the conference. That’s not the biggest problem facing the Bulldogs though, as preseason All-SEC first-team graduate forward Tolu Smith will be missing most of non-conference play with a foot injury.
The Bulldogs were able to beat Southern Miss in a preseason exhibition without Smith, but that won’t be enough against an Arizona State squad picked to finish sixth in the Pac-12.
Prediction: Arizona State 74, Mississippi State 69
New Mexico State @ Kentucky
Monday, Nov. 6 — 7 p.m. on SEC Network
Rupp Arena — Lexington, Kentucky
Kentucky thumped opponents from the NAIA and Division II in a pair of preseason exhibition wins, which is par for the course considering this is Kentucky we’re talking about. Picked to finish fourth in the SEC in the preseason, it’s sure to be solid. But for once, the Wildcats aren’t the most interesting part about this matchup.
Meanwhile, New Mexico State is the rare mystery team after having 100% roster turnover. After a hazing scandal canceled the end of the Aggies’ season, former Sam Houston coach Jason Hooten was forced to clean house — and proceeded to bring in transfers from every corner of the country.
Kentucky may have to plug in new faces of its own, but it’ll gel a bit quicker than a New Mexico State squad playing together for the very first time.
Prediction: Kentucky 85, New Mexico State 64
Alcorn State @ No. 15 Arkansas
Monday, Nov. 6 — 7 p.m. on ESPN+
Bud Walton Arena — Fayetteville, Arkansas
Arkansas had the biggest preseason exhibition win in the country, as it defeated No. 3 Purdue 81-77 in overtime to give the Razorback faithful something to be excited about. They should have an easier time in their season-opener against Alcorn State. Upsets happen — but this is a ranked SEC team facing off against a SWAC squad.
Alcorn State is picked to finish third in the SWAC after regular season titles in both 2022 and 2023. Like many an underdog trying to pull off a massive upset, the Braves will have to rely on 3-point shooting to get past the Razorbacks, especially considering Arkansas’ size advantage — that and pray.
Prediction: Arkansas 89, Alcorn State 61

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About the Contributor
Ian Curtis
Ian Curtis, Sports Reporter
Ian Curtis is a journalism freshman from College Station, Texas. Ian has written about football, men's basketball, women's basketball, baseball, hockey, gymnastics, volleyball and more for The Battalion. Ian's work has also appeared in The Bryan-College Station Eagle and over the airwaves on WTAW and BCSball.com. 
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