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Arkansas, Kentucky on trend, hot seat coach and more


The SEC is starting to shake up. After falling to 1-5, Arkansas rebounded. After losing at home to South Carolina, Kentucky came back to life…although they all have big non-conference games ahead of them. Auburn is making its way to the top of the SEC talk, and the 1st SEC school is probably looking for a coaching job. That’s where the SEC stands.

Arkansas is back?

Somewhere around the start of 1-5 SEC, the Hogs’ struggles became fairly easy to spot. Yes, the loss of Nick Smith was critical, and before that, the loss of Trevon’s big transfer to Brazil was more important than many people thought at first glance. But Arkansas was terrible in conference shooting and defense 3. In those 5 conference losses, the Boars had games in which they shot 16%, 13%, and 20% from long range. They also had games where they allowed opponents to shoot 56% and 45% from three-point range. The good news is that the issue has been resolved, whether it’s playing two weak teams in Ole Miss and LSU, or shooting from 40% and 39% range in those games, or holding the opposition for a total of 6 three-pointers. .

The Razorbacks end the month with a trip to Baylor and a home game against Texas A&M. Both are an opportunity to test if Arkansas has really rebounded, or if the schedule was just favorable. Ricky Council and Anthony Black did a great job, and if Arkansas ever gets Smith back, they could still surprise the league and country. Saturday is a good test run for this quest.

Kentucky again?

Meanwhile, after the obituary column following the coaching obituary after Kentucky’s still baffling home loss to South Carolina flowed freely, John Calipari proves that rumors of his demise have been greatly exaggerated. Kentucky rallied to 5-3 in the SEC game and can still play its part in a deserving NCAA tournament seed. The temporary loss of defender Sahvir Wheeler forced scorers Antonio Reeves and CJ Fredrik into a bigger role. Meanwhile, Oscar Chibwe looks more like the current National Player of the Year, which of course he is.

Kentucky has tightened up their rotation and is using Wheeler as a spark off the bench rather than as the UK’s center of offense. The Wildcats hit 56% on Tuesday in a win over Vanderbilt and Chibwe grabbed 67 rebounds in a 4-game winning streak. Jacob Toppin is even showing signs of consistency and Calipari may be setting up another of his late-season turnarounds in the UK, perhaps best illustrated by reaching the Final Four in 2011 and reaching the national title game in 2014.

Auburn competes

Meanwhile, Auburn made his way to a 6-1 SEC start. After a mysterious loss to Georgia earlier in the month, the Tigers have not lost since, and if they can survive the Texas A&M home game, they have a great chance to beat West Virginia and enter February with a 7-game winning streak. .

Auburn holds opponents below 38% shooting to 22% from 3-point range. Johny Broome has been a key plug and play transfer and veterans like Zep Jasper make Auburn a frustrating opponent. The Tigers may not have been stunning, but they have succeeded.

hot seat

It may not be a big secret, but Ole Miss is pretty terrible. The 9-11 Rebels are the only 1-win team in the conference not led by a new head coach. Kermit Davis is now 73-72 overall at the Ole Miss and 31-49 in the conferences. He is 0-2 in postseason play and 0-1 in NCAA tournament games.

Davies won 20 games in his first year at Oxford but has not won since. His predecessor, Andy Kennedy, won 20 games 9 times in 12 seasons (and won 19 games in one of the other 3). Look for a new AD Allen Green to make a post-season move. Ole Miss may be fighting for existence in the top echelon of the SEC, but given how young SEC coaches have performed, don’t be surprised if the rebels become young.


At BracketMatrix, Alabama tied with Purdue as both national teams received 1 seed in the 79 groups that make up the site’s NCAA composite field. Tennessee is in second place in the predicted field, with over a dozen projecting Vols as first place, but on the other hand, a few bracket projectors looking at UT drop to third place.

Auburn is firmly ranked fifth in the rankings and is on the list of all NCAA predictions. Arkansas is projected as the No. 8 seed and is also included in every NCAA field. Missouri is forecast as the No. 10 seed and has been selected with 74 out of 79 picks, while Kentucky is currently the No. 11 seed and 1 of the final teams in the consolidated draw. The state of Florida and Mississippi were selected in just one forecast group, while Texas A&M remains outside of any forecast group.

ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has Bama and Utah in first place, Auburn in sixth, Arkansas in 8th, Missouri in 10th and Kentucky in 12th. The Wildcats are Lunardi’s penultimate team.

Games to watch

Among the many big games worth watching are the SEC/Big 12 Challenge matches. Here are our highlights for the coming week:

Texas A&M in Auburn (Wednesday): The Tigers are 4.5-point favorites, but it’s a chance for Aggie to pick up another big win and go 6-1 in league play.

Kansas to Kentucky (Saturday): When the Jayhawks run into Rupp, the game doesn’t feel as uneven as it once did. But Kentucky can use a quality win as they are still looking to make up for a Quad 4 loss to South Carolina.

Arkansas in Baylor (Saturday): Again, Razorbacks are better…or are they just feasting on small fish? We’ll find out soon enough. Baylor just beat Kansas.

Texas to Tennessee (Saturday): A pair of top 10 teams meet at the Rick Barnes Bowl. UT has a legitimate shot at taking first place and this win could take them up a notch in that pecking order.

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