BASKETBALL: Report Card (Past Week)

Alabama Crimson Tide = C+ The basketball Wednesday night in Coleman Coliseum sure wasn't pretty. But Mark Gottfried's Crimson Tide salvaged this past week by gutting out a three-point victory over Arkansas, led by Demetrius Jemison's career-high 19 points and 11 rebounds. Alabama opened the week on Sunday with a disappointing, 12-point defeat at in-state rival Auburn.

Arkansas Razorbacks = F

Suddenly, six seniors are in real danger of seeing their season spiral out of control. John Pelphrey's Razorbacks were competitive in both of their road losses this week. But close, competitive losses have defined this senior class, and nothing has changed despite a new coach. Arkansas lost by five at Kentucky on Saturday and by three Wednesday at Alabama.

Auburn Tigers = C

Can't fault the Tigers' effort. Jeff Lebo's squad just keeps fighting, despite its limitations because of injuries. Auburn built a 23-point lead in drilling its in-state rival to the west on Sunday. The Tigers then gave Mississippi State all it could handle Wednesday night in an 11-point loss.

Florida Gators = A

Still hovering on the NCAA Tournament bubble, Billy Donovan's Gators avoided a setback Wednesday at Georgia. In its only game this week, Florida dominated from start to finish in Athens, claiming a 13-point victory. At 8-5, the Gators are now just two games behind Kentucky for second place in the SEC Eastern Division.

Georgia Bulldogs = D

Dennis Felton must be counting the days until this painful season ends. He has had to kick players off his team. He has had to watch Georgia blow leads late in games. And this week, he had to sit through two more stinging defeats — a 12-pointer Saturday at Vanderbilt and a 13-pointer to Florida on Wednesday.

Kentucky Wildcats = A-

They don't win pretty. But they win. And, truthfully, isn't that all the Kentucky faithful wants from Billy Gillispie's Wildcats? Kentucky continued its monumental rebound from a brutal nonconference season with two hard-fought, some-would-say ugly wins in Lexington this week. The 'Cats downed Arkansas on Saturday and nearly blew a 21-point lead Wednesday to Ole Miss.

LSU Tigers = A

How about interim coach Butch Pierre and those rejuvenated Tigers from Baton Rouge? Two games, two wins this week for LSU. The Tigers demolished Ole Miss by 20 points on Saturday. They then followed that up with a gutsy effort Wednesday at South Carolina. They led most of the game, lost the lead late and still won by seven.

Mississippi State Bulldogs = B+

Ben Hansbrough faced the situation every kid dreams of. One second remained Saturday at South Carolina. Rick Stansbury's Bulldogs trailed by three points, and Hansbrough faced three free throws. He drilled all three freebies, sparking a stellar week. Mississippi State held on in overtime against the Gamecocks, beat Auburn by 11 on Wednesday night and stretched its SEC Western Division lead to three games.

Ole Miss Rebels = F

In last week's issue of Sports Illustrated, Andy Kennedy was quoted as saying he wished the Rebels could wave "a white flag," to get a little break. And that was before this week. His feelings likely haven't changed. The Rebels weren't competitive at all in a 20-point loss Saturday at LSU and fell short in a four-point loss Wednesday at Kentucky.

South Carolina Gamecocks = D

There isn't any quit in Dave Odom's Gamecocks. Yes, Odom already has announced he'd resign, but his team hasn't taken that news as a cue to mail in efforts. The Gamecocks lost twice in Columbia this week, in heart-breaking fashion in overtime to Mississippi State on Saturday and to LSU on Wednesday.

Tennessee Volunteers = B

Crazy week for Tennessee. Bruce Pearl's Volunteers beat No. 1, became No. 1 and lost as No. 1 all in the span of four days. Tyler Smith, the SEC's Player of the Week, spurred the Vols' 1 vs. 2 win by four points at Memphis on Saturday. Three nights later, though, Tennessee couldn't escape Nashville, losing by three at Vanderbilt.

Vanderbilt Commodores = A+

Along with Kentucky, Kevin Stallings' Commodores still have a legit shot at an SEC Eastern Division title. The Commodores closed to two games back with wins over Georgia on Saturday and Tennessee on Tuesday. Shan Foster led Vandy with 32 points against the Vols, fueling his SEC Player of the Year candidacy.

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