SEC basketball notebook

As of January 19, five SEC teams are currently ranked in the AP poll with Kentucky leading the way at No. 9 followed by Florida (17), Mississippi State (19), Vanderbilt (22) and South Carolina joins the poll for the first time since the final poll in 1997-98 at No. 25.

In the USA Today/ESPN poll, four SEC teams are currently ranked with Kentucky (8), Florida (17), Mississippi State (20) and Vanderbilt (22).

League Notes

  • The SEC is currently posting their best non-conference since the league expanded to 12 teams for the 1991-92 season.
  • SEC teams are 6-5 so far this season against national ranked non-conference opponents and 3-0 against teams in the Top 10 of both polls.
  • SEC teams own a 107-8 (.930) record when leading at the half.
  • Southeastern Conference teams have a 92-16 (.852) record when out-rebounding their opponents.
  • Southeastern Conference teams have a 85-7 (.924) record when shooting 45 percent or better from the field.
  • SEC teams own a 95-4 (.960) record when scoring 70 or more points in a game.
  • When holding opponents to under 70 points in a game, SEC teams also have a 104-15 (.874) record.
  • SEC teams have a 96-16 (.857) record at home this season.
  • The SEC is tied for first in the nation with a 112-20 non-conference record, as of January 19.
  • The SEC leads the nation with a 28-13 record against the Top 8 RPI basketball conferences, as of January 19.
  • The SEC has seven of the 50 toughest schedules in the country, according to, as of January 19.
  • The SEC ranks second in the nation in Overall and Non-Conference RPI, according to, as of January 19.
  • The SEC leads the nation with six teams ranked in the's Top 25, as of Jan. 19.

SEC Teams in RPI Poll

Below are the recent RPI rankings through games of January 19.
      Team         Rating

  2. Kentucky      .6817
  6. Florida       .6658
 10. Alabama       .6530
 21. Miss. State   .6376
 22. LSU           .6370
 23. Vanderbilt    .6348
 42. Georgia       .5950
 50. Auburn        .5888
 52. Tennessee     .5863
 59. Sth Carolina  .5794
 93. Arkansas      .5483
143. Ole Miss      .5153

Upcoming SEC Schedule

January 21 (Wednesday)
Alabama at Georgia 7:00 ET
Arkansas at Auburn 7:00 CT
Mississippi State at Florida [JP] 8:00 ET
LSU at Ole Miss 7:00 CT

Januray 24 (Saturday)
Georgia at Mississippi State [JP] 12:00 CT
Vanderbilt at Arkansas [JP] 2:05 CT
Auburn at Florida [CBS] 4:00 ET
Alabama at Ole Miss [FoxSN/SUN] 5:00 CT
LSU at South Carolina 7:30 ET

January 25 (Sunday)
Kentucky at Notre Dame [CBS] 4:00 ET
Louisville at Tennessee [ESPN] 7:00 ET

January 27 (Tuesday)
Florida at Alabama [ESPN2] 7:30 CT

January 28 (Wednesday)
Ole Miss at Kentucky [JP] 8:00 ET
Georgia at LSU [CST#] 7:00 CT

January 31 (Saturday)
Kentucky at Vanderbilt [ESPN2] (AM) 11:00 CT
South Carolina at Ole Miss [JP] Noon CT
Florida at Tennessee [JP] 3:00 ET
Arkansas at Georgia [FoxSN/SUN] 5:00 ET
LSU at Alabama [FoxSN/SUN] 6:00 CT

Streaks in SEC Regular-Season Play

Only Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State and South Carolina own current road win streaks of two or more in SEC play. Three SEC schools have home winning streaks of two or more in conference play. Alabama and South Carolina own overall win streaks of two or more in SEC games, dating back to last season.

Double Digits

As of January 19, nine SEC teams have already reached 10 wins on the season. South Carolina leads the way with a league-high 16 wins. Mississippi State has 14 wins followed by Vanderbilt with 12 victories. LSU has 12 wins and both Florida and Kentucky have 11 victories. Alabama, Auburn and Tennessee are next with 10 win each.

Team-by-Team Notes

Crimson Tide head coach Mark Gottfried celebrates his 40th birthday on Tuesday. Gottfried was born in Crestline, Ohio, to a sports family that includes father, Joe Gottfried, who was a coach and is now director of athletics at the University of South Alabama and an uncle, Mike Gottfried, formerly the head football coach at Kansas who is now in sports broadcasting. The father of five begins his fourth decade 35 pounds lighter than he was a year ago. Four Tide players return to their home state this week when Alabama travels to Athens, Ga., to take on the Georgia Bulldogs Wednesday night. Sophomore forward Evan Brock, the son of former Harlem Globetrotter Ernie Brock, is from Roswell, Ga. Senior guard Demetrius Smith, the nephew of the late Derek Smith who helped lead Louisville to a national championship then played and coached in the NBA, is from Hogansville, Ga. Redshirt freshman center Shawn Taylor is from Unadilla, Ga., and starting freshman forward Jermareo Davidson is from Atlanta. Alabama began the week last week with the nation's toughest schedule, ranking No. 1 in the RPI Ratings Report's.

Arkansas snapped a seven-game losing streak to Ole Miss with Saturday's 86-78 victory over the Rebels. It is UA's first win over Ole Miss since Jan. 5, 2000, when the Razorbacks recorded a 71-64 victory in Fayetteville. In the win over Ole Miss, Arkansas set a school record by making 48 free throws. UA was 48-of-53. The 48 made free throws also matches the SEC record set by Tennessee (48-59) against Kentucky in 1992. The previous record was 46 against TCU in 1955. The 53 attempts ties for the third-most in school history. During the second half, Arkansas made 28 consecutive free throws. Entering the game, UA was a combined 17 of 39 (.436) at the line in its three previous games. In the game, freshman Vincent Hunter had season highs of 14 points and nine rebounds. With the win, Arkansas match its season win total of last year. Jonathon Modica came off the bench for the first time this season in the game at Alabama, but he still led the team in scoring with 17 points. Sophomore Wen Mukubu made his first start of the season in Modica's place. He started four times last year, also getting his first start of the season at Alabama. Freshman Ronnie Brewer led the team with nine rebounds, four assists, five steals and two blocked shots at Alabama.

This is the 27th meeting between the Tigers and Razorbacks with Arkansas holding a 16-10 series lead. The Tigers have a 7-5 series edge in Auburn, all at Beard-Eaves. The Tigers swept Arkansas last year for only the second time in series history (1993). Auburn has won four of the last five games between the two teams in Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum. Tiger head coach Cliff Ellis is 2-0 coaching against Arkansas' Stan Heath. Auburn is looking for its third consecutive victory against the Razorbacks, which would mark the longest consecutive win streak vs. the Hogs in the series. Auburn's defense in SEC play has stood out as the Tigers have allowed only 58.5 points per game in its four contests. The Tigers have allowed lows of 53 points to both Ole Miss and South Carolina (in OT), 59 points at Vanderbilt and 69 at Alabama. Senior Kyle Davis is now the SEC's second all-time leader in blocked shots, trailing only LSU's Shaquille O'Neal. Davis, Auburn's career blocks leader, has 328 blocks in his career (3.2 BPG). He needs 84 to tie with Shaq. The Arkansas game is the 299th contest head coach Cliff Ellis has coached at Auburn. Ellis' 182 wins at Auburn rank second-most at the school, trailing only Eaves' 213 wins in 14 seasons.

Florida couldn't overcome a hot-shooting Vanderbilt team that hit 63.3 percent over the final 20 minutes, as the Gators were the final SEC team to fall from the ranks of unbeaten in league play, dropping a 86-72 decision in Nashville. The Gators shot 51.2 percent and lost for only the 10th time in 83 games under Billy Donovan when shooting better than 50 percent from the floor. Matt Walsh hit 6-of-9 shots to lead UF with 16 points, while David Lee had his fourth double-double in the last eight games with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Florida trailed 29-20 with just over four minutes remaining in the half before going on an 11-0 run that helped them to a 32-31 halftime lead. Vanderbilt made all the necessary adjustments at halftime, however, outscoring UF 55-40 in the second half. Vanderbilt was just the second opponent in 14 games this season to hit over 50 percent from the floor against UF. Florida's six-game winning streak came to an end, as did its three-game winning streak in Nashville and its five-game winning streak overall in the series. Florida posted a 95-57 victory over Tennessee last Saturday.

The Kentucky game was the sixth time this season Georgia has made more foul shots than its opponent attempted. Seven of the nine Georgia players that played against Kentucky scored from the free throw line. Damien Wilkins got his first double-double as a Bulldog in the UK game, pulling down 13 boards to go with 11 points. His 13 rebounds matches a career high he set as a freshman at N.C. State. Georgia is now shooting 52 percent from 3-point range in two SEC road games and just 18 percent at home in league play. Freshman Corey Gibbs is out for the season after recurring problems with his right knee have caused him to undergo corrective surgery. After playing in just two games, however, he will apply for a medical redshirt at season's end. Georgia will play all six of its games against the SEC West in succession, beginning this week with contests against Alabama and Mississippi State. Last season the Bulldogs completed their first-ever sweep of the Western Division in finishing 11-5 in league play. Georgia dropped its SEC home-opener to South Carolina 84-63 on last Saturday evening at Stegeman Coliseum. The loss broke a three-game Bulldog winning streak over South Carolina and marked the Gamecocks' first win in Athens since February 24, 2001.

The UT game will mark Chuck Hayes' 58th-consecutive start for Kentucky, the longest current streak by a Wildcat. Tennessee is averaging 79.8 ppg (3rd in the SEC). UK has allowed only one of its 13 opponents (Marshall, 81) to score that many points. Gerald Fitch (11.8) and Chuck Hayes (10.8) - have career double-figure scoring averages against Tennessee. Tubby Smith (299-110) is one win away from 300 career victories. Georgia broke UK's 21-game win streak against SEC opponents, including postseason. Before Saturday, UK hadn't lost to a league foe since South Carolina in the 2002 SEC Tournament quarterfinals. Kentucky has won 37 of its last 40 games overall and 25 of its last 27 games away from Rupp Arena. UK has won nine-straight SEC road games. The Cats last SEC road loss was at Vanderbilt (86-73) on Feb. 27, 2002. The Wildcats are now 204-25 (.891) in regular-season SEC games at Rupp Arena, including a 43-6 record in the Tubby Smith era. UK's largest lead of the season is 39 points against both Indiana and Eastern Kentucky. The Cats' largest deficit of the year is 11 against Georgia. The Cats are 10-0 when scoring 60 or more points this season. None of UK's 13 opponents this season has topped 50% shooting from the field.

The Tigers enter the week off a 64-54 loss to Mississippi State on Saturday in Baton Rouge, stopping the team's 13-game home winning streak, tied for the seventh longest in Maravich Center. Jaime Lloreda led LSU with 13 points and nine boards, Antonio Hudson 11, Darrel Mitchell 10. The Mississippi State game was the first for LSU to lose in which it outshot the opponent for the game. In both losses at Houston and against Mississippi State, LSU fell behind by big margins in the first 10 minutes of the game and had to battle back. Tigers go on the road for both games this week, Wednesday at Ole Miss, Saturday at South Carolina. The Tigers are 1-0 on the road this year in the league, with a three-game league winning streak dating back to last season. LSU leads the series against Ole Miss, 107-76, with Ole Miss leading, 47-33, in games at Oxford. Last year the teams won on each other's home court. Tigers have won five of the last eight games. South Carolina leads the series, 9-6. LSU won last year's game in Baton Rouge. South Carolina leads the series, 4-3, in games played in Columbia where LSU last won in 2000.

Despite a strong second-half comeback, Ole Miss fell short in its bid for its first SEC win of the season Saturday at Arkansas, 86-78. It snapped a seven-game win streak against the Razorbacks. The Rebels trimmed a 20-point deficit to five with 22 seconds remaining, thanks in part to an 11-0 run by Aaron Harper. The senior forward turned in 19 points in the second half and finished with 22, eight rebounds and six assists, all team highs. Harper knocked down four three-pointers and needs only eight more to become the Ole Miss all-time leader in threes. made. Junior guard Justin Johnson posted a career-high 20 points, while Cavadas Nunnery came off the bench for five assists and four steals. With his six boards, senior forward Justin Reed became only the fifth Rebel to rank top 10 in both career points and rebounds. Ole Miss continues its stretch of five straight SEC West encounters with LSU and Alabama this week at home. Ole Miss opened the first week of conference play with losses to Division rivals Mississippi State, 61-54 in Oxford, and Auburn, 80-53 on the Plains. Against the Tigers, Justin Reed posted his seventh 20-point game of the season and topped the team in both points (20) and rebounds (6) for the eighth time.

The Bulldogs ended LSU's 13-game home win string with Saturday's 64-54 road victory over the Tigers. MSU's 3-1 SEC mark is the team's best four-game start in league play since also opening up the 1994-95 campaign with a 3-1 conference record. With MSU's three league wins having all come against SEC Western Division competition this season, the Bulldogs will take on a pair of SEC East foes this week in Florida midweek at Gainesville and Georgia on Saturday in Starkville. State has posted a league-high six wins on the opposition's home floor this season, including a 2-0 start in league road action for the first time since the team's 1995-96 Final Four campaign. The Bulldogs head to Gainesville this week looking to snap a six-game losing skid versus nationally ranked opponents. Wednesday at the O'Connell Center, State will also be bidding to halt an 18-game road losing streak against ranked SEC opponents which spans all the way back to the school's Final Four season of 1995-96. MSU announced last week that the Bulldogs' three remaining Saturday home games (Jan. 24 vs. Georgia; Feb. 7 vs. Mississippi; and Feb. 21 vs. Alabama) are all sold out.

Carlos Powell has scored in double figures every game this season and tied a career-high seven assists against UT. Josh Gonner lead the Gamecocks with a career-high 24 points. Against UT, the Gamecocks posted a 63.6 shooting percentage and made 64.7% of its three-point attempts, which are the highest percentages during Odom's tenure at USC. This marks Coach Odom's 50th win as a Gamecock. He now is 50-33 at Carolina. The only USC coach to reach the 50 win mark faster was Frank Johnson in 1974, needing only 79 games. The 85-64 win over Tennessee ties the biggest margin of victory against a SEC opponent at home since defeating Alabama by 21 points on February 19, 2000. Saturday's attendance was 17,806, making it the biggest crowd to see a Basketball game in the State of South Carolina. This breaks the previous high for a Men's game set last year against Clemson (17,072) and tops the opening day crowd of 17,712 at the USC Women's game versus Clemson in 2002. South Carolina is off to it's best start in conference play since the 96-97 team opened 4-0.

Tennessee returns to the friendly confines of Thompson-Boling Arena to begin a two-game home stand that begins with the fifth-ranked Kentucky Wildcats Tuesday, Jan. 20. The Vols will conclude the two-game home stay with a Jan. 25 game against eighth-ranked Louisville before hitting the road again. The Vols fell to 10-3 on the season and 2-2 in SEC action with a 64-85 loss at South Carolina Saturday. Scooter McFadgon, who entered the game leading the SEC in scoring, was held to a season-low seven points while the Gamecocks shot 63.6 percent from the field, the best in the Dave Odom era at USC. The Kentucky game continues a nine-game stretch where the Vols play seven ranked opponents. This is the 195th meeting all-time between Tennessee and Kentucky. It is UT's most-played series. Tennessee has outscored its opponents 254-132 at the free throw line this season. The Vols lead the SEC by making 74.1 percent of their free throws on the year. Tennessee has a nine-game home court winning streak. All nine wins have come this season. It is the longest home court win streak since winning 18 in a row from Jan. 15, 2000 to Feb. 14, 2001. The Vols are 11-0 when scoring 70 or more points. They are 0-3 when scoring less than 70.

Matt Freije, Mario Moore and Corey Smith combined to score 58 points in Vanderbilt's 86-72 victory against Florida, Saturday. Freije netted a game-high 23 points while Moore made five three-pointers in tallying 21 points. Smith scored 14 points, grabbed a team-high seven rebounds and handed out six assists. At 13-2, Vanderbilt owns its best record through 15 games since the 1973-74 squad began its season 14-1. That team went on to win the SEC and finish with a 23-5 overall record. Vanderbilt recorded its best home start of the Stallings era at 11-0 with the win over Florida. It marks the best home start since the 1992-93 Commodore squad went undefeated at home (13-0) and won the SEC Eastern Division. Freije ranks in the top 10 of seven VU career statistical categories, including points (8th - 1553), field goals made (9th - 533), field goals attempted (t10th - 1156), free throws made (10th - 344), three-pointers made (7th - 143), three-pointers attempted (8th - 400) and blocks (4th - 62). The Commodores have totaled 20 or more assists in eight of their 15 games this year. VU travels to Arkansas, Saturday, Jan. 24. The game will be televised by Jefferson Pilot Sports.

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