Just two more games per team and then we're off to Atlanta to witness 4 days of SEC Basketball Acid Reflux, either induced by the games, the officials, or the court. Man, that court might need a whole separate entry, because, wow! I mean just look at this thing:
2014 SEC Men's Basketball Tournament Court (via SECDigitalNetwork)
Two toned, and two logos, one eating another, I mean, I have no idea. More on that next week during SECBASKETBALLTOURNAMENTFEVER (see below for details.) To Atlanta, where maybe burning the court might not be the worst thing ever.
Kentucky (55) - Alabama (48) - March 4, 2014
Alabama deserves a lot of credit for effort and what I can only describe as grim determination. The Tide have had a year they'd like to forget, despite the outstanding play of Trevor Releford. Personnel losses are the primary culprit, as Alabama lost two likely starters before the season even got underway, and then lost a major role player just a couple of weeks ago. Despite that, they came in to Rupp Arena on senior night and gave a fine account of themselves.
Kentucky continues to labor offensively, and for the last four or five games, it seems like they are in a mud-wrestling match with themselves. The positive is that despite the poor shooting, shot selection was better (although still not great) last night, and the Wildcats notably did not hang their heads when shots didn't fall. That tells me they were back on the right path last night, even if that path may eventually lead to a disappointing season. I'm not sure Kentucky has the time to turn this thing all the way around, but you never know.
The Alabama Crimson Tide rolled into Rupp Arena in Lexington in search of their first victory away from Coleman Coliseum this season. Despite a three-point lead at half time, the outsized and outmanned Tide could not pull off the win, falling 55-48 to the 25th ranked Wildcats. Kentucky came into the game with a two game losing streak. Alabama fell to 12-18 overall and 6-11 in the SEC. The Wildcats improved to 22-8,12-5 in conference.
03/04/14 Alabama vs Kentucky (via SECDigitalNetwork)
Florida (72) - South Carolina (46) - March 4, 2014
We should've known when Michael Frazier II opened the scoring in South Carolina with a three. We should've known when Carolina couldn't stop him — at all — en route to five threes in the first half. We should've known when Frazier had more points (15) than the rest of the Gators combined (13) in the first half.
Then he went and burned the whole place down.
Frazier hit 11 threes, a new school and SEC record, and scored 37 points, tying Joakim Noah's record for points by a Florida sophomore, as the Gators torched South Carolina, 72-48.
And at halftime, when Florida led by a mere two points, this looked like a close game.
The Gators streaked out to a 7-0 lead in the first half before Carolina reeled them in with rebounding and hustle, and opened the second half on an 11-1 run — with the aid of zero Frazier threes — before Carolina punched back with a 6-0 run of its own.
Then Frazier continued his Johnny Storm impression, making four threes in an 18-0 Florida run — one three to begin it, two to extend it and one to finish it.
South Carolina isn't as bad as it looked on Tuesday, and it's probably not as good as it looked on Saturday. One thing it should be is better than is Mississippi State. The Bulldogs sport a 3-13 conference record, which means no matter what the outcome of their game in Athens on Wednesday night, thanks to tiebreakers, the loser of the Gamecocks' match-up with State on Saturday in Starkville will carry the 14 seed into the SEC tournament.
If State loses to Georgia, they'll bring a 12-game losing streak into the contest. Meanwhile, South Carolina will have its last chance of the season to get a true road win. While it's certainly not the type of stakes you want in a game late in the season, there's a chance for both teams to salvage some pride before they march into the opening night of the SEC tournament.
03/04/14 Florida vs South Carolina Men's Basketball Higlights (via SECDigitalNetwork)
Georgia (66) - Mississippi State (45) - March 6, 2014
Georgia took care of business at home as they improve to 11-6 in the conference with a 66-45 win over Mississippi State at Stegeman Coliseum.
The Bulldogs got off to a slow start on Wednesday but Mississippi State was no match once they found their footing. Marcus Thornton gave them a lift early and finished with 13 points and six rebounds including a pair of three-pointers. Charles Mann found Kenny Gaines on a lob at the halftime buzzer to put the Bulldogs up 37-24. Georgia would push the lead up to as many as 24 in the second half before closing out the victory.
For Whom the Cow Bell Tolls, well we know where they stand on all this. But they do have a photo of their football coach and a bear who wears pants, a hat and no shirt.
Video Highlights were not available, but you can re-watch the game here, if that's your thing
Mizzou (57) - Texas A&M (56) - March 6, 2014
This was the "Adding '...In Bed' to the End of Every Fortune Cookie" game of the season. Everything I can think to say should be followed by "...and won." Mizzou shot nine percent from 3-point range ... and won. Mizzou had five assists to 17 turnovers ... and won. Mizzou got nine turnovers and 6-for-19 shooting from Jordan Clarkson and Jabari Brown and didn't get a single point from Earnest Ross in the first 38:54 ... and won. Mizzou averaged 0.97 points per possession ... and won.
Wow. Just..... wow. So many emotions. It's time to sift through the rubble and figure out what the hell just happened.
03/05/14 Texas A&M vs Missouri Men's Basketball Highlights (via SECDigitalNetwork)
Arkansas (110) - Ole Miss (80) - March 6, 2014
Don't let the final score fool you. It wasn't even that close.
The Razorbacks had a 38 point lead and Mike Anderson pulled the starters - with 14:44 still to play.
No, really. Arkansas was up 79-41 when Rashad Madden, Bobby Portis, Coty Clarke, and Fred Gulley went to the bench with that much time left. Portis and Madden didn't come back in.
Madden's +/- was, wait for it, 57. I don't know if they keep records for that stat, but that's the highest I've ever seen. Especially for a conference game. He only played 19 minutes. Portis' was 39. Qualls' was 30.
After memorable games at Bud Walton, we often talk about how that felt like the glory days. How you can sense the ghosts of Razorback basketball in the arena. But right now, the feeling seems to be whether this is all real. Is Mike Anderson on the cusp of finally turning this program all the way around? One shouldn't get too hyperbolic because this is still a team that may just barely make the NCAA Tournament, but after winning eight of their last nine games and all of their last six, and completely destroying Ole Miss tonight, it's hard not to get too excited.
Ole Miss, on the other hand, struggled mightily to keep up away from home. Marshall Henderson had 15 points, four boards, and an assist, but no other Rebel came too close to his production. Jarvis Summers scored just 11 points, while Sebastian Saiz andAnthony Perez mustered just ten. If you're keeping track that means that Ole Miss' top four scorers notched 46 points. Arkansas, on the other hand, was able to get 68 out of theirs.
The Rebels fall to 17-13 on the year, with a 8-9 mark in SEC play. All that's left is a home date against Vanderbilt to close out the season. Win that and, who knows, maybe they'll get a three seed in the NIT.
03/05/14 Arkansas vs Mississippi Women's Basketball Highlights (via SECDigitalNetwork)
Tennessee (82) - Auburn (54) - March 6, 2014
Whatever you think about this coach or this team, it's still an incomplete thought at this point. The Vols have been on the bubble for most of conference play, but they've won just enough games to stay inside most tournament projections with one game left to play. Tennessee has now won three straight for the fourth time this year. It will take four straight for just the second time this year to send the Vols to Atlanta inside the bubble.
With one game to play, everything is still on the table. We're everything but boring.
College and Magnolia had a game thread that was attended, you can read it here if you like.
Auburn Basketball Highlights vs. Tennessee (via Auburn Tigers Athletics)
SEC Standings of the Mid Week
|Team||Conference Record||Overall Record|
Still so much to be determined by Thursday and Saturday's games, so I am not going to even pontificate on where everyone stands, let's just let it sort itself out.
In Bill C's Monday Rock M Tology, the Tigers of Ol' Mizzou were sitting on a date with Dayton, in Dayton as a play in 12 seed. Not the best draw, but any draw would make any Mizzou fan happy at this point I imagine! Also joining Mizzou in this bracket from the SEC was Florida as a 1, Kentucky as a 7, Arkansas as an 11 and Tennessee as another Dayton trip maker 11 (maybe we carpool?),
As of Monday's Bracketology, Joe Lunardi has Mizzou as a next four out candidate, so not where we want to be at this point, thought that goes without saying. That has not changed as of today, apparently our win over A&M was not the bump to bubble freedom no one expected. Tennessee and Arkansas inhabit the last four in category, both heading to Dayton as 12 and 11 seeds respectively. Florida continues to sit as a 1 seed and Kentucky sits as a 7 seed.
Chris Dobbertean of SB Nation dropped his bracket today and Mizzou was in the "Next Four Out" group, while Tennessee was in the "First Four Out" group. Arkansas has jumped into the mix based on their run of late getting an 11, while Florida still sits as a 1, and Kentucky is now a 6.
Jerry Palm of CBS Sports' bracket as of Tuesday, had Mizzou still living in Dayton with an 11 seed. Florida still sits as a 1 seed, Kentucky a 6 seed, Arkansas as an 11 and Tennessee as a part of the First Four Out group.
All that being said, it's going to take a win on Saturday and some work in Atlanta next week for Mizzou to sniff the right side of the bubble at this point. We know that there will be upsets in the mid major tournaments, so I think it's safe to say Mizzou is going to have to do a lot to get back into the tourney, the good one.
Game of the Half Week!
For the game of the half week, the options were to watch Tennessee play Auburn (no thanks) who we've seen a number of times or a random game that featured one to two potential NCAA tourney bound teams. I chose what was behind door number 2, the random game. We all know what Tennessee does and does not do, so just go out there and win Mizzou, mmmmkay?
For the random game I chose Dayton and Saint Louis. And don't ask why Mizzou doesn't play SLU, we all know why, under no circumstances does it ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, benefit Mizzou, EVER. So, with that out of the way, here are my thoughts on the Flyers and the Billikens:
- SLU started the game on a run keyed by Rob Loe, who LITERALLY does not jump more than 2 inches when shooting threes. He's an inside outside kind of guy, hitting threes and being able to bang down low as well.
- SLU started really hot from three point range in the first half, but then got ice cold in the second making it very difficult to catch up once they started getting down big mid way through the second half.
- One of SLU's better players, Jordair Jett seemed to injure his knee mid way through the first half and was never right again.
- Random note about the broadcast, things got really dark when the announcers chose to discuss the coaches who had passed recently and how the Billikens had to be pall bearers twice, then they quickly went back to calling basketball action, it was a bit jarring.
- Dayton has a player named Scoochie, how awesome is that?
- Dayton works really well when in transition, getting quickly towards the basket on missed shots. They've also got active hands forcing the Billikens into some turnovers that they turned into points.
- SLU runs an offense that relies on picks, double picks and screens to set someone free for an easier uncontested shots. Playing an active zone against them seems like the way to go if you want to properly defend their shooters.
- Dayton pretty much was looking to score inside the whole game, making SLU defend them. In the first half they were having a tougher time getting scores down low, but not so much in the second. It did appear that SLU either got tired or just lost some focus along the way.
- Around the 10 minute mark SLU stopped being able to score, going one and done and missing shots. What was once a 10 point lead evaporated and turned into a tie at the 7 minute mark and then an 8 point deficit at the 4 minute mark.
- The game was close at the end when SLU started hitting the threes you expect when a mid major gets into a little trouble. Dayton also looked like they just wanted to get out of the game with a win, they looked nervous, but in the end they hit their free throws.
In the end Dayton won 72-67, but SLU still won the A10 thanks to a loss by St. Joes. SLU has now lost three straight games, 2 at home and are not playing all that well right now. Looking over the past year SLU has won a lot of close games, games that could have gone either way. I'm not saying they are overrated, but it appears things may be evening out for them. As for Dayton they may have just played their way into the NCAAs with this big road win, next week’s A10 tournament should be very exciting and as it relates to Mizzou, hope for a team like Dayton to go out early.
Now I bet you would expect me to say "So long" with Belegcam putting up the final SECBASKETBALLFEVER for the regular season this Sunday, but fear not! Your intrepid reporters have been cleared for SECBASKETBALLTOURNAMENTFEVER with posts coming every day Wednesday through Sunday, the only way to treat SECBASKETBALLFEVER is with MORE SECBASKETBALLFEVER.