Around the SEC: Week 13

Story posted February 16, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Jonathan Draeger

The SEC has seen many changes in team dominance with the rise of new teams into the AP Top 25 rankings.

Four teams are currently ranked, but only one team is ranked in the top 10: the Alabama Crimson Tide. The three other teams enter this week’s poll near the back half of the rankings, so the conference has competition but in small amounts.

The SEC Giant: Alabama

Starting in Tuscaloosa, the Alabama Crimson Tide have been on a tear, winning 12 out of 13 conference games. It starts with guard John Petty Jr., who has been the shining star for the Crimson Tide. His surrounding cast of senior Herbert Jones and sophomore Jaden Shackelford has been doing it all on offense and defense.

Impressive wins against Georgia and Tennessee will aid the Crimson Tide in a deep tournament run come March. However, their loss to Missouri in Columbia showed some fatal flaws to this team that head coach Nate Oats needs to adjust before their matchup against the Texas A&M Aggies.

The Rise and Fall of Auburn

The Auburn Tigers were once a team to watch for, especially with the rise of freshman guard Sharife Cooper. The new guy is managing to put up almost 20 points per game while spreading the wealth around to benefit his teammates in the process.

The Tigers have had streaks of success, but lately, the tide has turned against Bruce Pearl’s team. They’ve dropped four out of their last five games—a stretch that includes heartbreaking losses to Kentucky and Ole Miss.

The Tigers have great offensive production, but the defense lacks a game-changing defender to keep them from losing these close games.

Arkansas Heating Up at the Right Time

Head coach Eric Musselman’s team started shaky in conference play, losing four of its first six. Deep into the hole, Musselman found an answer for the team and got rolling immediately.

Since their loss to Alabama on Jan. 16, the Arkansas Razorbacks have yet to drop a game in SEC play. They took down notable opponents like Auburn, 10th-ranked Missouri, Florida and the Kentucky Wildcats—a team to which they had lost to in their previous eight meetings.

Arkansas has five players scoring in double digits per game, greatly aiding in the Hogs’ recent success. With the depth and production on the court, the Razorbacks have earned themselves a position in the AP Poll, ranked No. 24 in the nation.

LSU and Ole Miss: What to Watch for

The LSU Tigers travel to Oxford to take on a rising Ole Miss team. The Tigers are finding their rhythm with the offensive boards and shots falling, averaging 82 points per game and 36.8 rebounds per game.

Ole Miss has found its stride as of late in conference play, all thanks to senior guard Devontae Shuler, who is averaging 16.3 points per game. Alongside Shuler’s offensive production, the defense has stepped up in major ways, managing to grab 8.6 steals a game and allowing just 64 points per game from opponents.

Both teams are neck-and-neck in SEC standings; LSU sits a game-and-a-half ahead of the Rebels. A win would allow Ole Miss to join the top dogs in the SEC to fight for a spot in March.

 

Jonathan Draeger is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. You can contact him at jrd6052@psu.edu.