Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Week 2 Midweek Games (1/15-1/17)

The second week of conference play kicks off tonight in Starkville. A handful of teams are entering the week in desperation mode, having already dropped to 0-2, while others look to extend their divisional leads from 2-0. Again, we have a 3-night midweek format, with Tennessee and Vandy providing an exciting close to midweek play. Here’s what’s on tap…

*Kentucky @ Mississippi State

The Wildcats, fresh off a surprise win over previously undefeated Vanderbilt ride that wave of momentum into Starkville. The Bulldogs have been dominantly defensively so far against 2 of the 3 worst teams in the league, so the ‘Cats will definitely be their biggest test to date in conference. Kentucky dominated Vandy on the glass but still barely eked out a win in 2OT. They won’t outrebound the Bulldogs though. Look for the Bulldogs to control the tempo of this one and win a close one.

*Alabama @ Georgia

Two painful losses behind them, the Tide view this as something of a must win to keep pace in the West. Georgia, for all intents and purposes, is playing to build momentum for next season. They’ll have no matchup for Hendrix down low in this one. Bama’s 3-headed attack of Hendrix, Gee, and Riley will lead the Tide to a critical road win.

*Auburn @ LSU
Two teams ravaged by injuries and suspensions tip off in the Bayou tomorrow night. LSU seemed to find their offense Saturday in a near upset of Ole Miss and will look to build on that. Auburn led Florida early Saturday, but fell apart as they couldn’t keep up with the Gators. Neither of these teams has the depth to run a lot, but LSU is playing at home and has some momentum from Saturday’s 2nd half. Look for LSU to win a low-scoring game, dropping Auburn to 0-3 in conference.

*Florida @ Ole Miss
The Gators ran away and hid from Auburn Saturday while Ole Miss nearly coughed up a 22 point lead to a team that scored 39 points in their previous game. This will be an intriguing matchup of two of the youngest teams in conference, each with a lot to lose in this game. UF desperately needs a legitimate road win over a ranked opponent, Ole Miss needs to shake off their near collapse and put together two good halves. The Gators have more momentum right now, so look for Nick Calathes to outduel Chris Warren in the battle of the SEC’s best 2 freshman PGs. Florida wins a potentially high-scoring game.

*South Carolina @ Arkansas
I’m not exactly sure how it took Arkansas OT to dispatch Alabama the other day with the Tide’s miserable shooting percentages, but it did. The Hogs should have a much easier time with the Gamecocks who just looked bad against the Vols on Sunday. Arkansas maintains pace with Mississippi State, improving to 3-0 in conference.

*Vanderbilt @ Tennessee

Both teams would have rather seen Vandy knock off Kentucky Saturday and roll into Knoxville undefeated. These two rivals will give a spirited effort as always as 2 of the most potent offenses in conference go head to head. In Knoxville though, inspired by a loud, raucous crowd, the Vols will handle their business on their home court.

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