The SEC ranks first in the nation in Non-Conference RPI, according to the latest poll by CollegeRPI.com, plus, the SEC ranks first in Strength of Schedule among the "Big Six" conferences.
<br><br>The SEC is the only conference in the nation to have all of its teams ranked at least one week in the Associated Press top 20 (excluding preseason polls) since 1997-98.
Alabama hits the road this week for games at Arkansas
(Wednesday) and at
(Saturday). The Florida game marks the fifth ranked team Alabama has
played this season (it's 3-1 vs. the Top 25, with wins against Oklahoma
Xavier and Mississippi State
and a loss to Kentucky
). Tide senior Erwin
Dudley has made the Wooden Top 30 midseason list in his bid for National
Player of the Year. Dudley is vying for his third straight SEC rebounding
championship and continues to be the only player in the league who is
averaging a double-double with 13.6 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. Kenny
Walker, who collected his fourth career double-double on Saturday with 16
points and 10 rebounds in 22 minutes of play against Arkansas, has a big
week this week. He turns 23 on February 4 then visits his home state of
Florida on Saturday to take on the Gators. Walker is from Jacksonville. Mo
Williams led Alabama's latest win against Arkansas with 27 points, the third
time this season he's scored 20 or more in a game. The super soph leads
Alabama in scoring with 15.7 points a game.
Arkansas will host Alabama this Wednesday in a rematch of the first SEC
game. The Razorbacks will travel to Mississippi State on Saturday. Both
games will be televised. The Alabama game on Jefferson-Pilot Sports and the
Mississippi State game on SEC-TV. Jonathon Modica had a game and season-high
26 points at Florida. His point total is the highest for an Arkansas
freshman since Joe Johnson had 30 points against Mississippi State on Jan.
22, 2000. The Razorbacks had a season-high matching nine three-pointers
against the Gators. Also in the Florida game, senior forward Larry Satchell
had a season-high nine points and a season-high matching seven rebounds.
Arkansas schedule is rated second-toughest in the nation by
CBSSportsline.com and fourth-toughest in the country by CollegeRPI.com.
Senior Blake Eddins is being recognized this week by the SEC as a member of
the Good Works Team. Arkansas is holding opponents to an average of 65.1
points per game and scoring 63.6 points per game. If those figures hold, it
would be the lowest averages allowed and scored by Arkansas since 1985.
The Gators moved into the No. 1 position in the rankings for the first time
in school history. Their previous high came during the 2001-02 season when
they were ranked No. 2 for one week. Florida travels to Kentucky during
Rivalry Week for a Super Tuesday showdown. Florida is 4-0 versus ranked
opponents and UK will be their fifth ranked opponent this season. The
Florida Gators matched their school record for consecutive wins, reeling off
their 14th straight victory, a 77-66 decision over Arkansas. The victory
also moved the Gators to a perfect 7-0 in conference play for the first time
in school history, while their 18-2 start is the best in school history.
hit 6-of-11 shots, including 4-of-8 on threes to lead the
Gators with 16 points. Matt Bonner
and David Lee
added 13 points apiece. The
Gators hit 15-19 free throws (.789), their second best outing in conference
play. Florida committed only two turnovers in the first half en route to a
seven-point halftime lead. It was the ninth time in 20 games that a freshman
led the Gators in scoring.
Auburn has lost three straight games, its longest losing skid of the season.
Even though Auburn has lost three straight games, the Tigers are still in
first in the Western Division, one game ahead of Alabama, Ole Miss
Mississippi State. Auburn plays host to second-place Ole Miss Wednesday, its
second of three-straight home games. The Tigers have a 63-41 series record
against Ole Miss and a 42-8 mark in Auburn. Auburn plays host to LSU
Saturday in Auburn while LSU holds a 71-53 series lead. The teams are tied
at 29 in games played in Auburn, but LSU has a 21-13 edge in
Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum. There has been a season sweep the past four
years in the Auburn-LSU series with Auburn winning both games vs. LSU in
1999 and 2001 while LSU defeated Auburn twice in 2000 and 2002. Auburn's
three-game losing streak is its longest since losing three-straight to end
last season. Junior Kyle Davis
is three blocks away from becoming the
Tigers' career-blocked shots leader. Of Auburn's seven SEC games, the Tigers
have only played two games against Western Division teams (wins vs. Alabama
and at Arkansas).
Georgia enjoys its last "bye" in the conference schedule this week. The
Bulldogs are off until a Saturday afternoon contest at Tennessee
Georgia defeated 81-76 in overtime on Jan. 22 in Athens. Georgia forward
needs the open date to recover from a bothersome strained hip
flexor muscle. Since he incurred the injury in that first Tennessee game,
Hayes has averaged just 10.3 points in three games, shooting 29 percent from
the field, 13 percent from 3-point range His five points vs. Miss. State
last Saturday were a career low at Georgia. After 18 games last season
Georgia was 15-3 overall, 4-1 in SEC play. Georgia's AP Top 25 ranking of
15th last week matched its highest point during last season and was the
highest for the program since February of 1996 (14th). Georgia is 6-0 in
games where Jarvis Hayes and Ezra Williams
scored 20 or more points each in
the same game. Georgia's strength-of-schedule rating is first nationally,
according to the latest RPI listings. The 2001 team was also No. 1 in
strength of schedule at season's end. Georgia made 17-of-18 free throws in
its win over Auburn, the best by a Bulldog team since the 1998 squad made 29
of 30 in the SEC Tournament.
The SEC's two undefeated teams battle on Super Tuesday when Florida visits
Kentucky. The Gators own a 14-game win streak, the nation's second longest,
while the Wildcats own the nation's fifth-longest win streak at 10 games. UK
has faced a No. 1 team only one time in Rupp Arena history. No. 5 Kentucky
knocked off top-ranked Indiana
, 69-58, on Dec. 15, 1979. While the Cats are
4-8 against AP No. 1 teams since 1949, Florida marks their eighth ranked
opponent on the UK schedule this season, the first top-ranked foe. The two
teams have shared the SEC Championship in 2000 and 2001 and split the East
Division crown for a third straight year last season. This meeting matches
the SEC's highest scoring offense (Florida - 75.4 ppg) against the top
defense (Kentucky - 57.3 ppg allowed) in league games only. In all games, UK
is actually outscoring the Gators, 78.3 ppg to 77.9 ppg. But not only is UF
undefeated since Dec. 3, the Gators are unbeaten on the road, winning all
five games this season. The Cats finish the week at Ole Miss. UK is 6-1 on
the road this season, including a 4-0 mark in league play.
had two games over 20 points against nationally-ranked
competition this week for LSU, scoring 20 points with 9 rebounds against
Florida (Jan. 28) and 22 at Alabama with 9 rebounds (Feb. 1). In both games,
Dupree was 10-of-18 from the field, the first two times this season an LSU
player had 10 field goals. Brad Bridgewater
played 32 minutes against
Alabama, filling in for Jaime Lloreda
and had a season high 12 points with
six rebounds, an assist, a block and a steal for LSU. The Tigers play at
home Wednesday night at 7 p.m. on JP Sports against South Carolina
Gamecocks and Tigers will meet for the 15th time with South Carolina holding
a 9-5 advantage in the series. South Carolina has won the last two meetings,
with LSU's last win coming in Columbia in 2000. USC leads the series in
Baton Rouge, 3-2. Saturday, LSU travels to Auburn for a 3 p.m. contest. LSU
leads the series, 71-53, with LSU winning both games a season ago. The
series is tied at 29 wins apiece in games played at Auburn.
Ole Miss Rebels
Ole Miss will travel to Auburn Wednesday and will host Kentucky Saturday.
The Tigers lead the all-time series 63-41, but the Rebels have won 4 of the
last 6 encounters. Kentucky holds a commanding 88-11 lead in the series vs.
Ole Miss. The Rebels have an 18-6 record vs. ranked opponents at Tad Smith
Coliseum since the 1994-95 season. Ole Miss hosts nationally-ranked Kentucky
Feb. 8. Junior Justin Reed
tied 2 career highs last week. He blocked a
career-high 4 shots vs. Mississippi State, and scored a career-high 26
points vs. Vanderbilt
. The 12 FGs made vs. the Commodores were a career
best. Senior Emmanuel Wade netted a career-high 24 points vs. Vanderbilt. He
also posted a career-best 8 FGs made vs. the Commodores. The Rebels have
lost all their SEC games by single digits. All four setbacks are by a
combined 17 points or an average of 4.3 points per game. Ole Miss allowed
its first opponent over 70 points this season when Vanderbilt scored 76 Feb.
1. The Rebels have held 5 of its 7 SEC foes under 60 points. Aaron Harper
has 937 career points, needing 63 to become the 28th player in Ole Miss
history to reach 1,000.
Mississippi State Bulldogs
After splitting a pair of league road decisions last week, the Bulldogs
return to Humphrey Coliseum for a three-game SEC homestand. This week in
Starkville, the Bulldogs will play host to Vanderbilt on Wednesday before
welcoming Arkansas on Saturday. State is 25-10 at home versus league foes
(2-1 this year) during the Stansbury era. Stansbury owns a 4-2 career mark
versus Vanderbilt, including last year's 66-43 road win over the Commodores.
The Bulldogs are 14-7 all-time against Vandy at Humphrey Coliseum (6-1 since
1989-90), including an 80-63 home win over VU two years ago. The last three
State-Vandy meetings, including a 76-53 Vanderbilt win at the 2000 SEC
Tournament, have been decided by an average margin of 21.0 points per game.
Arkansas holds a 16-7 series lead over MSU, though State owns a 7-4
advantage in games contested in Starkville during that span. These two SEC
West foes have split each of the last two regular-season series. Mario
Austin became the 25th player in school history to eclipse the 1,000
career-point mark. Austin also made the Midseason Top 30 list of candidates
for this year's prestigious John R. Wooden Award.
South Carolina Gamecocks
USC is 9-5 lifetime against LSU and has won the last 2 meetings. Kerbrell
Brown, who will be returning his 'cajun' homeland of Louisiana (he is from
New Orleans) to play in Baton Rouge on Wednesday, has had six straight games
in double figure scoring. Freshman Tarence Kinsey had what the coaches hope
was a break-out game for him vs. Kentucky on Saturday when he scored 10
points in 21 minutes. Dave Odom will be making his first-ever visit to LSU
on Wednesday. USC, after defeating Ole Miss to open the SEC season, is 0-6.
The Gamecocks shot a season-high 51.9% from the field against UK, but a
season-low 11.1% from the three point line. USC had their second straight
sellout versus Kentucky in The Carolina Center (Florida, Jan. 18). At the
Carolina Coliseum, the largest crowd ever to see a Gamecock men's basketball
game in Columbia was 12,783 when USC defeated Clemson
on Feb., 2, 1991, a
record that stood for almost 12 years. USC has already had seven crowds over
that number in the new Center, with 17,038 for the Florida game being the
Tennessee will host the UMass Minutemen on Wednesday, Feb. 5. The Vols enter
the UMass game with a two-game winning streak following a 60-56 win over
South Carolina (Jan. 29) and a 60-56 win at Auburn (Feb. 1). Tennessee is
7-3 in non-conference games this season, including a 6-1 mark at home
against non-SEC teams. Ten of Tennessee's 16 games have been decided by five
points or less. The Vols are 6-4 in games decided by five points or less.
Six games have been decided by one possession (three points or less). UT is
3-3 in games decided by a single possession. The Vols are 9-4 when leading
at halftime. UT is 8-2 when leading with five minutes left in the game. Ron
Slay, who has scored 20 or more points in a game 10 times this season, moved
into 18th place on Tennessee's scoring lists with 1,313 career points. In
SEC games, freshman point guard C.J. Watson
ranks in a tie for second in the
league in assists (4.3 apg) and 13th in rebounding (5.7 rpg) while also
averaging 11.3 points on 50.0 percent shooting from the field and 46.2
percent from three-point range.
After topping No. 15 Georgia earlier in the week, Vanderbilt made it two in
a row as the Commodores defeated Ole Miss, 76-68, Saturday night in
Nashville. It was Head Coach Kevin Stallings' first win over the Rebels in
four attempts and moved Vanderbilt to 10-8 overall and 3-4 in the SEC. The
Commodores' 76 was the most points Ole Miss had given up in a game this
season. Vanderbilt's 94 points versus Georgia this past Wednesday also was
the most the Bulldogs' defense had allowed this season. Matt Freije
tremendous week with a team-high 20 points and five rebounds against Ole
Miss after tallying a career-high 31 points and nine rebounds versus
Georgia. Junior forward Scott Hundley
also had a great week, setting a
season-high with 14 points against Georgia and then eclipsing that mark with
18 points and adding a game-high seven boards versus Ole Miss. The
Commodores were 25-of-31 from the free-throw line and Ole Miss was just
6-of-13. Vanderbilt next hits the road to take on Mississippi State
Wednesday night in Starkville, Miss. The Commodores trail Mississippi State
26-22 all-time in Starkville and have lost the past four games at the Hump.