SEC men's basketball opens conference play with 3 games involving ranked teams
SEC basketball has 4 teams ranked in the AP Top 25, and there are 3 games involving those teams as the league opens conference play on Saturday.
With a a sell-out crowd expected, No. 6 Kentucky will get a test in Gainesville as Todd Golden gets a major opportunity for a signature win in front of the Rowdy Reptiles. It’s proven to be a difficult environment for road teams, as the Gators this season are 6-0 on their home court. Florida leads the SEC with 28.1 defensive rebounds per game led by Tyrese Samuel averaging 5.2.
For the Cats, this will be a much more hostile environment than the only other road game this season, at KFC Yum! Center, against an overmatched Louisville team when there was plenty of blue-clad fans in the stands.
The only game involving ranked teams will be in Knoxville, where another sell-out crowd is expected and where Rick Barnes’ team is 7-0. Tennessee is 6th in the SEC in rebounding by averaging 39.2 rebounds. Josiah-Jordan James leads the Volunteers with 7 rebounds per game.
The Rebels are one of 3 undefeated teams left in the country, and they’ve tied the best start and longest winning streak in program history. It also happened in 2007-08 when, in its 14th game, Ole Miss opened SEC play with an 85-83 road loss at Tennessee.
Another tight matchup will be at Bud Walton Arena where Arkansas will host No. 25 Auburn, as the Razorbacks are 7-1 in home games. The Tigers are 0-1 on the road.
The Razorbacks are coming off a big performance from Keyon Menifield, who scored 32 points in Arkansas’ 106-90 victory against UNC Wilmington. Meanwhile for Auburn, Johni Broome is averaging 15.8 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2 blocks for the Tigers.
Here’s the schedule:
Mississippi State at South Carolina
No. 6 Kentucky at Florida
Georgia at Missouri
No. 25 Auburn at Arkansas
Alabama at Vanderbilt
No. 22 Ole Miss at No. 5 Tennessee
LSU at Texas A&M