The Kentucky Wildcats came down to Nashville and defeated the short-handed Vanderbilt Commodores 71-62. It just goes to show you how good Las Vegas can be, who predicted an 8-point game. I'll have a full postmortem a bit later, I have to attend to some domestic matters first.
For the second straight game, South Carolina committed too many turnovers to complain about walking away with a loss. For the second straight game, it was another aspect of its game that ultimately did them in.
Arkansas at home has been one of the toughest outs in college basketball for almost all of its 23-game winning streak; Florida ended it. Arkansas got threes to fall and pounded Florida on the boards, pulling down 20 offensive rebounds that led to 72 shots; it didn't matter. The Razorbacks got timely fouls in an unevenly-officiated game (for both teams) that sent Michael Frazier II to the bench in the first half and fouled out Young in overtime; Florida perservered, making 25 of 34 free throws.
Another good defensive effort and some good free throw shooting helped propel Georgia to a 66-58 win over Alabama Saturday afternoon at Stegeman Coliseum. The win gives Georgia its first 2-0 start in the SEC in over a decade.
The three bouncyball writers here on the Good Bull Hunting Staff are dishing their thoughts on the hottest five topics surrounding the Aggie Basketball team. Share your thoughts on our topics in the comments below.
Rashad Madden said they were going to take whatever Florida gave them, and Anderson said after the game the plan was to drive and kick it to a shooter, explaining shooters were sprinkled around the perimeter, but it was well-guarded and Alandise Harris couldn't get it to them. Anderson said he didn't think there was a need to call timeout because he thought it was set up well, but, "we just made a bad play."
Guard Jordan Clarkson paced Mizzou (13-2, 1-1), scoring 20 points on 6-of-11 shots from the field and 8-of-11 from the foul line. Former Auburn Tiger Earnest Ross, who was consistently booed and taunted by the student section, chipped in with 16, and Jabari Brown scored 15.
That might be satisfactory for the Tigers' current state, but the way they played for much of Saturday afternoon won't fly the rest of the way. 19 turnovers, 24 personal fouls and 27 percent 3-point shooting will get you beat against almost anyone but South Carolina, even in the not-so-rugged SEC.
Great effort by the Mississippi St. Bulldogs, particularly in the first half. They really took it to Kentucky for 20 minutes and outscored them in their own house, and in doing so racked up an impressive number of points. Rick Ray has MSU going in the right direction; they gave great effort, showed they know how to play basketball properly and really put Kentucky on their heels for nearly the entire first half. UK got by mostly on talent and size, but still went to the locker room behind. Look at it this way, MSU fans — you came into Rupp Arena and silenced the crowd, and flat won the first half. Here's the final box:
Meanwhile Tennessee did more of what they've been doing since the December 18 loss to NC State, which was once demoralizing but may prove transformative in the long run. Our best players were at their best: Jordan McRae scored 19 points on just seven shots, missing once, and Jarnell Stokes had a 15/15 on his 20th birthday. When you add in Antonio Barton's 4 of 4 three point shooting spree in the first half, you get a big early lead the Vols never gave up.
Tennessee has won five in a row over the Tigers, including a pair of memorable late season games the last two years. In 2012 Tennessee erased an 11 point halftime deficit in Baton Rouge by holding LSU to two made baskets in the final eight minutes in an eventual overtime win in the next-to-last game of the regular season as Cuonzo continued to make a name for himself. And last year Tennessee followed a 30 point win over Kentucky with a school record 10 of 15 from the three point line and a career high 34 from Jordan McRae in an 82-72 win in Knoxville, the fourth win of the eventual 8-1 close to the season.
Wilbekin led Florida with 17 points, but rolled his right ankle badly on a layup attempt with under three minutes to go, and had to be helped off the court. There's no word yet on the senior point guard's status, but the injury certainly appeared significant enough to linger beyond this game.
The Bulldogs set the tempo early getting off to a good start thanks to a stingy defense and some good shooting from Nemanja Djurisic off the bench. Djurisic hit three of his first four three-point attempts in the first half to help stake Georgia to an early lead. Kenny Gaines three with 2:07 remaining in the first half put the Bulldogs up 10 at 30-20. The Tigers closed the half with a 5-0 run and trailed 30-25 at the break.
Eric McClellan won't be returning to the hardcourt for Vanderbilt this season. The team's leading scorer has been suspended by the university for violating academic policy. He will have an opportunity to rejoin the team next fall.
After leading scorer Eric McClellan was cryptically removed from the team, Vanderbilt didn't have the horses to keep up with the Tide in Tuscaloosa. McClellan, who had averaged 14.3 points per game in his first year with the team, did not travel with the team for the game. His absence left Vandy with just two scholarship guards in the backcourt, and the team's lack of cohesive was apparent as the 'Dores committed 16 turnovers in the loss.
Melvin left A&M after that infamous season to become an associate head coach at Missouri (2004-2011) and Arkansas (2012-Current), and since that day his teams have yet to record a victory in College Station. Would the Melvin curse end for A&M vs. Arkansas? Would the Aggies decide to hit a few outside shots? Could they slow down the high-flying Razorback offense? Let's find out.
The Bulldogs (10-4, 0-1) shot 15-34 after twenty minutes of play, including a perfect 8-8 at the charity stripe. The battle of the boards was the only downfall for MSU in the first. But one must remember college basketball has two parts: A first half and a second half.
I almost feel like we should just post the reaction to last year's season-opening 69-51 loss to the Aggies and be done with it. The score was almost identical. Arkansas cut that 18 point lead to 16 this year, so I guess that's improvement.
Auburn sits at 157, and Kenpom gives Auburn an 18 percent chance of winning this game, with a predicted score of 84-73 in the Rebs' favor. Do what you want with that information, because Kenpom didn't have a lot of confidence in the Tigers for the Clemson game. Even as your resident sunshine pumper, I was caught off guard with that win. Never felt so good to be so wrong.
This was the type of loss that, if suffered by the baseball or football teams, would have the message boards and casual fans up in arms. As is, there'll be some minor mumblings and grumblings after a second straight listless performance marred LSU's conference opener.
On another note, I can't guarantee I'll be able to keep up with these every week and as such I'd like to know if someone else would be willing to pick up the duty. It's not a difficult job, involving liberal use of the SBN Clipper tool, moderate skill in formatting, and correct tagging of posts.
I know it's not exactly "original content" but I think there's a lot of content out there that gets overlooked, and content aggregation can be very valuable (look at our morning links posts).
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