The NCAA basketball season is nearing its final month and the SEC has a number of teams worth watching. LSU holds the lead in the SEC, while Kentucky gets back on track after an upsetting loss to South Carolina.
LSU: 6-0 conference
LSU in SEC play the last year-plus:
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) January 22, 2020
The Tigers remain the final program without a conference loss, however, they were tested by the Gators on Tuesday night. LSU survived Florida’s late comeback by half a second to hold onto the number one spot.
LSU’s next test is in Texas against the Long Horns on Jan. 25.
Kentucky (15): 5-1 conference
Kentucky enters the season with high expectations every year and this one is no different. Although they are second in the SEC, the Wildcats seem to be the most dominant team within the conference and their national ranking reflects that.
Kentucky has a high ceiling with players like Nick Richards and Ashton Hagans leading the way. Richards, from Jamaica, is having his best season in his collegiate career scoring 67.4% of his shots and averaging 16.3 points per match.
Their next game is against Texas Tech (18) on Jan. 25.
Florida: 4-2 conference
Florida entered this season with extremely high expectations. They were ranked sixth in the country during the preseason, but that quickly changed after a slow start to the season.
However, the Gators have still shown promise as of late by beating Auburn (16) and coming close to knocking LSU out of first place. Keyontae Johnson was half a second short of sending the LSU game to overtime after a second half comeback by Florida.
Coach Mike White will need to get his group ready for their toughest task of the season when they face the Baylor Bears (1) on Jan. 25.
Tennessee: 4-2 conference
Sitting in fourth place in the SEC, the Vols have yet to face the challenging part of their schedule. Tennessee will have to face Kentucky and Auburn twice and Florida once.
Even with the conference schedule playing against them, they have a chance to solidify their position with a strong second half of the season. That will not be easy as their next opponent is Kansas (3) on Jan. 25.
Auburn (16) 3-2 conference
The madness at the top of the rankings continues.
With Florida beating No. 4 Auburn and DePaul beating No. 5 Butler today, 14 top-five teams have lost to unranked teams already this season.
That only happened six times all of last year. pic.twitter.com/ZdybK8Z2Ef
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 18, 2020
After a surprising loss to Florida in their last game, the Tigers dropped from four to 16 in the AP poll. Similar to Kentucky, do not let their SEC standing fool you. This team is filled with talent and will look to climb back up the rankings.
The Tigers only two losses are from SEC opponents, which is why they are in fifth but still ranked highly.
Two of their remaining games are against Kentucky, which is ranked one spot ahead. Those will be the defining games for both teams’ seasons.
However, the Tigers have to handle their next opponent first. A matchup on Jan. 22 against South Carolina should be a game to rebound after the loss to Florida.