Some people hate awards season, I think it's kind of fun, especially when the artists being recognized get to have booze at their table and the potential for an embarrassing situation is always present. And the SEC in the basketball sense has given us plenty of moments that are cringe worthy, sometimes beautiful and all the time interesting.
So in this edition of SECBASKETBALLFEVER we're going to give out some awards and give an accurate comparison to what each game is and was. For the red carpet portion of this, everyone's wearing their Sunday best Addidas, Under Armor or Nike and hoping to not end up on anyone's worst dressed list.
I'll be your host for the evening and let's get to it!
Auburn (81) - LSU (77)
LSU is that person that you dated (or are currently dating) that could be wonderful and kind and courteous and someone you want to introduce to your parents one minute and then the next drop kicking a server at a bar because they got their drink order wrong. Every day is new and weird and really a car fire waiting to happen. This is what it must feel like to be an LSU fan because you don't know what you're getting from one minute to the next. Auburn went into Baton Rouge and unexpectedly came away with a win that probably says a little more about the Tigers than the Tigers. Oh LSU, you're crazy.
Best Awards Comparison: When I saw this game and the score, my first thought was one of the craziest awards given and that would be Jethro Tull winning Best Metal Performance at the Grammies in 1988 over Metallica in the most shocking grammy win ever. As surprised as Auburn was to get this win, I'm sure Jethro Tull was as well.
The game was within eight points the entire second half and the teams were never more than two possessions apart in the last ten minutes. Compare that with what happened in Tuscaloosa and Knoxville, where close games just got away from Bruce Pearl's team. And where is the characteristic scoring drought or two (or three)? No where!
We're verging on disaster here.
Even the staunchest Johnny Jones defenders can admit that this loss was a backbreaker. There's just no way LSU should lose to Auburn, Mississippi State and Missouri (combined SEC record: 8-19). It cannot happen. It should not happen. That's three sub-150 RPI teams. Yet here we are.
Kentucky (68) - Florida (61)
I'm not really sure what to say about this game, it was a back and forth affair with Kentucky owning the inside under the rim and in the paint and Florida having to make outside shots in the crowded and crazy O Dome. With the game still in question towards the end of regulation, the referees got a bit whistle happy and really ruined what could have been a great ending, calls were, interesting, and allowed Kentucky to pull away. While the calls weren't going the Gators way, it didn't feel like they were going to make the shots they needed to get a needed win. Kentucky stays perfect, and Florida misses a chance at a signature win.
Best Awards Comparison: I'm going to be a little jerky with this one and say that the Reffs get the Best Supporting Actor award for their role in the Kentucky win. A little lame, but whatever, calls got weird at the end and Big Blue needed a little help from their friends in black and white.
I'm very pleased with this win, even if I wasn't always happy with the play. Kentucky, at crunch time, reminds me of the UK team of last season in the NCAA Tournament. They just go into the corner, hulk up, and play inspired basketball. I love that trait, it's one that the best teams in Kentucky history have had. This one has it also.
And even with the fouls, Florida might well have made it closer, or even won, if not for an ankle injury that sidelined Frazier for much of the second half. He didn't score after intermission, and though Eli Carter caped up and scored nine points in the second half in his absence, Frazier's shooting was sorely missed.
Ole Miss (86) - Auburn (79)
The Rebels just keep on winning don't they? Ole Miss makes free throws, win on the road and don't pay their bills to keep the lights on at home. This team if it can sneak into March is going to be deadly because if you can make your free throws you're going to win some games, and that's how they beat Auburn on Saturday night. They were deadly from the line right when the Tigers started to storm back on the back of some strong three point shooting but were undone by a lack of composure at the end. Props to the Auburn student who showed out strong with a packed house. The magic of Bruce continues to have its effect on the Auburn faithful.
Best Awards Comparison: This would have to go to when "The Great Escape" was nominated for "Best Picture" at the Golden Globes in 1964, because I'm betting there was plenty of booze being put down in Oxford last night.
This game was a tale of two halves, if ever there was. And, to be sure, things hung very much in the balance until Auburn's Jordan Granger decided to tussle with Anthony Perez with 9:31 remaining and earn himself a technical foul. Following Granger's ejection, Ole Miss' size carried the day, with a welcome dose of Stefan Moody to boot.
Tonight we saw two contrasting styles. Auburn looked to get open for outside shots. Ole Miss attacked the rim and drove to the basket. Auburn rode some hot shooting outside to a 32-31 halftime lead. Ole Miss got ridiculously hot, shooting 71%, in the second half and pulled away for the win. Auburn hit 55% of their shots in the second half and kept it close but it just wasn't quite enough.
LSU (70) - Alabama (61)
Oh LSU you crazy! I literally have no idea what's happening with you guys from game to game. One minute you're up , the next you're down. Bama couldn't shoot to save their lives and Jordan Mickey was just too much for the Tide to handle. Honestly if LSU beat Kentucky and the lost to France's Women's soccer team the next day in basketball I would not be surprised.
Best Award Comparison: Because LSU is completely off their ass it seems, for the award comparison I'm going to assign everything Bjork has ever worn to an award show to LSU, it's all wacky, makes the news the next day and you have no idea what either are thinking from one moment to the next.
LSU in its gold uniforms did a solid job of hanging with Mr. Cooper and the rest of the Tide Saturday afternoon for a 71-60 win. The Tigers, coming off of a two game skid, seemed to put all aspects of the game together on the afternoon. However like the mighty Achilles whose only vulnerable spot was his heel, the Tigers' only vulnerable spot was their free throw percentage. The team seemed to hover around 50 precent most of the night. That was until Tim Quarterman scored four points all on free throw attempts to ice the win.
The script is all too familiar. Alabama has had some well documented struggles on the road at full strength. Toss in injuries to starting point guard (Ricky Tarrant), and backup Retin Obasohan and odds of victory get even longer. Have third string PG Justin Coleman pick up three early fouls and an already struggling offense goes completely inept. To add to the misery Michael Kessens left the game with an apparent knee injury and did not return. Unsurprisingly, all this added up to a 71-60 LSU win, dropping the Tide to 14-9, 4-6 in the SEC.
Texas A&M (83) - Mizzou (61)
Mizzou was going to have a tough time with A&M before the game even started, and then in an effort to continue to show everyone who's the boss, Kim Anderson suspended two more of his freshman, Teki Gill-Caeser and Namon Wright to join Tramaine Isabell as guys who would not be allowed to play or even attend the game and left the Tigers at 8 scholarship players. A&M took advantage of the tired Tigers and shot incredibly from the field and did pretty much exactly what they wanted. Mizzou is a disaster and A&M is looking towards March, two trains going in completely different directions.
Best Award Comparison: The comparison I'm giving this game is to the fantastic Ralph Ellison novel, "The Invisible Man" which won the National Boow Award for Fiction in 1952. And it should be clear why, so many invisible players for Mizzou, so absent and unseen.
Kim Anderson bought this house, and he's stripping it down to the drywall. He's buying all new furniture, painting every wall a new color, laying down all new flooring, and doing things his way. And in the present tense, it's freaking more and more people out. (That's what losses tend to do, and Mizzou's had a lot of losses.)
At the time of publication Good Bull Hunting hadn't posted a recap but if they do, the update will be reflected here.
Arkansas (61) - Mississippi State (41)
State had 9 points at half time...NINE! When you can't score in double figures in basketball in the first half it really doesn't matter what you do in the second ‘cause you're not winning, that's all there is to it. State had won two in a row but went into Fayetville and got their doors blown off by a superior Arkansas squad. Arkansas clamped down on D and did pretty much what they wanted to do and Bobby Portis was the man, so pretty much everything that you already know about Arkansas.
Best Award Comparison: With the way Arkansas played defense, they get compared to Tenacious D's 2015 grammy nomination for Best Metal Performance...hopefully Jethro Tull isn't nominated as well or they're in trouble.
The game was tied at 7-7 seven minutes into the game, but then the Razorbacks went on a 20-0 run that blew the game open. State went scoreless for 13:22 seconds before a pair of free throws gave them their nine points. After the game, Mississippi State coach Rick Ray brushed it off, saying it wasn't a big deal, but it kinda was, if if you consider losing the game a big deal. Other than that stretch they played pretty evenly with Arkansas.
The Bulldogs walked into Bud Walton Arena looking like they were ready to prove to the world that they had finally arrived. The game was tied at 7-7, it surely seemed like this was going to be another of Mississippi State's dramatic ballgames, but it was not meant to be. The Razorbacks blasted the Bulldogs the final 12 minutes of the first half with a 23-2 run. Arkansas would lead Mississippi State 30-9 at the half and would win the contest 61-41.
Vanderbilt (65) - South Carolina (50)
Vandy doesn't lose at home, c'mon man! Even when they're down 41 - 27 in the second half they do not lose. What Vandy did in their game against the Cocks is nothing short of amazing. In that run to 65 they had an 18-0 run, and they only gave up 9 points over the final 13 minutes in the second half. Something's not right in Columbia (both actually) and Frank Martin is certainly at Defcon 1, just ready to blow. Get to high ground if you're in the area.
Best Award Comparison: I'm gonna go a little odd here, but Vandy doesn't lose at their weird home, and with that in mind, I'm comparing them to Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco's award nomination for Favorite Animal Star....'cause why not?!
"South Carolina's offense has gone off the rails."
How many times could that sentence have been uttered so far this season? FSN play-by-play man Pete Pranica used it to describe the latest futile attempt at offense for the Gamecocks.
Anchor of Gold has not published a recap at this time, when they do this will be updated.
Georgia (56) - Tennessee (53)
Georgia turned the ball over 20 times in this game, let that number sink in. Then let this sink in, they still won. I don't even know how that's possible! Tyndall's pressing d had an affect but Georgia was able to overcome its own errors by shooting over 50% from the floor and holding the Vols to 35%. JJ Frazier was again the man for the Dawgs and Charles Mann was the man, get it?!
Best Award Comparison: Because I love the song "Return of the Mack" we're going to compare that song and it's success at the MTV Europe Awards the comparison since Marcus Thornton's successful return for Georgia that took them victory lane.
A noteworthy piece of great news for Bulldog fans (and Coach Fox) was the return of Marcus Thornton, back in the starting lineup following a concussion. Thornton played a solid 26 minutes on the day and put up 8 points and 4 rebounds, not bad numbers for knocking the rust off. Georgia also committed a stingy 12 fouls on the day, tying their season low achieved against Norfolk State on January 3rd.
Tennessee drops to 13-9 (5-5), and will go to Vanderbilt Wednesday night. We've certainly seen enough from Richardson to believe today was simply an aberration, and you really have to be encouraged by the way the rest of the guys played without any production from him. Tennessee could have been blown out and maybe they should have in games like this with or without Richardson giving them anything. But Tyndall's squad continues to compete every single night, playing scrappy, ugly basketball down to the wire. Today, it was just a little too ugly to make the difference. But there's still plenty to play for, including staying above .500 in league play in their next outing in Nashville.
And there you have it, your weekly dose of SECBASKETBALLFEVER! Belegcam will be back on Thursday to drop some more fever into your life, in the meantime stay hydrated and enjoy the awards season!