#SECBASKETBALLFEVER

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

It's the Thursday after national signing day, which means a post about early February SEC basketball will probably be of interest to those of us here at RMN, the wearers of jorts in Gainesville, and Ashley Judd. But fear not, a lack of captive audience or interest has never stopped the SEC, nor will it stop this mid week post of all things bouncy squeeky ball.

Kentucky (80) - Mississippi (64) - February 4, 2014

A Sea of Blue scoffs at your signing day and is proud of their defense

The Kentucky Wildcats were an 11.5 point favorite over the visiting Ole Miss Rebels last night but prevailed by 16. How did they accomplish this? By running the offense as efficiently as they have all season and by stepping up their defensive effort in the second half.

Red Cup Rebellion didn't put together a thread or a post game thread, so here's their preview that perhaps we can glean a little something from it for Saturday.

Here's how the Rebels (15-6, 6-2) match up with the Kentucky Wildcats (16-5, 6-2) using the Four Factors. (Conference Rank in Parentheses)

02/04/2014 Ole Miss vs Kentucky Men's Basketball Highlights (via SECDigitalNetwork)

Florida (68) - Mizzou (58) - February 4, 2014

Alligator Army is thrilled with their win that was predicated on defense...nothing else...defense

The Gators have made their living this season by playing staunch defense and forcing the opponents into sloppy play. So it was no different tonight, as the Gators forced 12 turnovers and held the Missouri Tigers in check for most of the night in a 68-58 victory.

Rock M Nation's Study Hall notes Mizzou is moving in the right direction, but time is getting short...

When I'm wearing my college football data hat, I talk about the concept of Covariance from time to time. Within the football realm, I use this measure to look at which teams play their best against good teams and which play their best against bad teams. We always assume that being best-against-best is preferable, and I guess it probably is for teams looking to make a run at the national title. But every year, I see a case for both sides of the argument. Among the teams on the most extreme end of the "best against best" scale are programs going both 10-2 and 1-11. If you play your best against the best, you might pull an upset that prompts a great run, but you might also come up short against great teams while suffering letdowns against bad ones. "Best against worst" at least means you're beating the teams you're supposed to beat.

02/04/2014 Missouri vs Florida Men's Basketball Highlights (via SECDigitalNetwork)

South Carolina (74) - Auburn (80) - February 5, 2014

Garnet and Black Attack reflects on another close loss and ponders the future

Auburn bases its entire offense on two players - KT Harrell and Chris Denson.  And on Wednesday night, KT Harrell and Chris Denson provided almost all of their offense, combining for 50 points and leading the Auburn Tigers to a 79-74 win over South Carolina, dropping the Gamecocks to 1-8 in conference and beating the Gamecocks in what represented perhaps their easiest SEC game on the schedule.

College and Magnolia did a game thread, but didn't discuss the game afterwards, which is too bad, since they won!

Yes, it's National Signing Day, but actual Auburn athletes who actually play for Auburn are in actual action tonight. The Tigers face South Carolina in Columbia, hoping to extend their two-game conference winning streak.

War Eagle!

Auburn Basketball Highlights vs. South Carolina (via Auburn Tigers Athletics)

Arkansas (65) - Alabama (58) - February 5, 2014

Arkansas Fight reflects on a game that was all Bobby Portis, all the time

For much of the game, Portis was literally all the offense Arkansas had. At halftime, he had 18 points on 8-for-10 shooting, while the rest of the Razorbacks were, wait for it because it's real and you won't believe it, 1-for-23.  Then he came out and scored the Hogs' first 11 points after the break.

Roll Bama Roll goes all Glengarry Glen Ross in their recap and that makes me very happy

Put that Coffee Down.

Alabama once again showed what they can't do. They can't make plays in clutch time. They can't shoot three-pointers at an acceptable rate. They can't get out of their own way. They can't get any production down low. They can't stop good players from beating them. They can't win if the opponent scores 65 or more points. And finally, they just can't win any games right now.

They are not closers....

There were no video highlights of this game but should the mood strike, feel free to watch the replay on ESPN3.

Vanderbilt (64) - Tennessee (60) - February 5, 2014

Anchor of Gold reflects on the beating of in state rival at home for the 4th straight year

Kyle Fuller and Rod Odom have been at Vanderbilt for nearly four years. They know exactly what the Vandy/Tennessee rivalry means - and they proved it in a major way in a 64-60 win over the Volunteers on Wednesday.

The duo combined for 38 points, 10 assists, and seven rebounds - keyed by a career high 26 from Odom - to win their fourth straight game. The Volunteers had a chance to tie this one up in the final seconds, but another veteran, junior Dai-Jon Parker, came up with a game-saving strip of Josh Richardson in the paint.

Rocky Top Talk reflects on a close loss and notes how this game played out is typical for Cuonzo Martin and they are not thrilled about this

Credit Chris for saying this game was the Cuonzo Martin Era in a nutshell, though I hope the next few weeks change that perception.  Tennessee fell behind early and stayed there, down as many as 12 in the first few minutes of the second half.  The Vols rallied, tying the game at 53-53, then fell behind again thanks to a big three from Dai-Jon Parker.  Down three with the ball under two to play the Vols failed to convert, then gave up a huge three from Rod Odom with 49 seconds left.  True to Cuonzo's form, just when you think it's the dagger the Vols fight back:  UT used a Vanderbilt turnover and the missed front end of a pair of one-and-ones to have the ball down two with 16 seconds to play.  Cuonzo didn't take a timeout, but Josh Richardson got a good look at the lane and took it.

What we can say for sure is James Siakam swiped at Richardson and didn't get a clean block.  It certainly looked to me and a majority of the UT media like Siakam got Richardson's arm pretty good.  But alas, no call, and Vandy went on to hit two free throws and win 64-60.

Damian Jones #SCTop10 Monster Dunk - Vanderbilt MBB (via vucommodores) Also, you can rewatch the game on ESPN3 here

Texas A&M (72) - Mississippi State (52) - February 5, 2014

Good Bull Hunting notes that the Aggies had a "Bursting" moment in their beat down of MSU

Winning basketball is fun! Multiple contributors, timely shooting, and a bit of Bulldog incompetence made this one a blast. And with upcoming Georgia/Vanderbilt road games sandwiched around an LSU tilt at home, a return to 6-6 seems well within the realm of possibility.

Any thoughts on the game last night? Hit the comments below.

For Whom the Cow Bell Tolls pretty much did not acknowledge that there was even basketball played last night, focusing entirely on national signing day.

Highlights: Texas A&M 72, Mississippi State 52 (via Texas A&M Athletics)

SEC Standings Mid Week

Bracketology

We're leading off mid week bracketology with our very own Bill C's "Rock M Tology" because we all like him better than the other three, I assume. I also assume you've read this already, but sometimes recaps of a recap are fun.  So for Bill's first issue of the season he has Mizzou as a member of the "last few in" crowd and playing St. Joes in Dayton, OH-10.  Other SEC teams in, Florida, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

Joe Lunardi has Mizzou still in his latest bracket as a play in game participant at 12 against BYU to play Ohio State.  For this go round, Lunardi now has 5 SEC teams in the fray with Florida as a 1, Kentucky as a 4, LSU as an 11 with a play in game, and Tennessee as a 12.  This bracket is fresh today and we sit in the "last four in" category.

Chris Dobbertean of SB Nation's bracket (which came out pre Florida loss) has Mizzou as a first four out team.  He has 4 SEC teams in, LSU and Tennessee both sitting at 12s and avoiding Dayton, Kentucky as a 4 and Florida sitting on the 1 line.

Jerry Palm of CBS Sports has his bracket (came out pre Monday loss) and he still had Mizzou sitting as an 11 seed. Also in the mix are LSU as an 11 (play in game though), Tennessee as an 11, Kentucky as a 5 and Florida as a 2.

Basically, before Mizzou lost to Florida we were on the bubble, now we are REALLY on the bubble.  Saturday's game will give us a kick in one direction either way, but let's hope for right side of the bubble in Belegcam's post.

Bubble Watch

Bubble watch remains on hold, since apparently no one feels like examining the bubble to date.  But I promise you, once someone does start blowing bubbles, we'll be on it.

Scouting Mizzou's Saturday Road Trip to Oxford

I am going to say this from the start I don't care for Mississippi and Kentucky so watching this game was interesting, to say the least.  This being a road game for the Ackbars  what I put below about them may not reflect how they play at home.  However, here are my observations:

  • Let's just get this out of the way right from the start, Marshall Henderson.  If there's a shot he doesn't like, I'd love to see it.  He shoots open, covered, off the back foot, falling over, probably when on the bench.  He's gonna shoot all the live long day and while he can score I imagine what he will bring to the road tilt Saturday is that he'll create a ton of energy for the fans in Oxford especially once he gets going.
  • Watch out for Jarvis Summers, their junior PG can move well with the ball, score and like Wes Clark has really good hops for a smaller play.  He got into foul trouble early, so it would seem like Clark, he's a bit handsy.  If he gets in foul trouble Saturday, that could be a big plus.
  • They shoot a TON of threes, and they hit them pretty frequently. So our defense is going to have to be on its toes, though that has not been the case the entire season and in our losses this was probably the main reason why.
  • For a team that is not exactly big (they actually measure up to Mizzou size for size) they can block and disrupt a good amount of shots.  It's quick hands and a lot of help defense.
  • Refreshing to see regardless of team, the Ackbars do follow their shots pretty well, so we want to make sure our bigs box out and have their heads on a swivel, as no balls seems safe on a missed shot.
  • Eventually it looked like their "bigs" just got tired constantly being banged around by Kentucky's bigs and just appeared to wear down in the rebounding department.

So that does it for this week.  National Signing Day really had an effect on the SB Nation side of things, so I imagine by Sunday that storm will have passed and we'll have more content for you.

Hope you're still enjoying this and as always leave us feedback if you have any.

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