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This week in the SEC: Sunday upsets shake things up

Plus, South Carolina reclaims No. 1 in the conference standings, Mississippi State has two big games this week, the Freshman of the Week is a very familiar face, and more!

NCAA Womens Basketball: Final Four Championship Game-Notre Dame vs Mississippi State
Teaira McCowan is averaging a double-double in scoring and rebounds for Mississippi State this season. Will her dominance reign supreme for the Bulldogs in two big games this week?
Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

SEC teams took fans on a wild ride Sunday!

But before we get to Sunday’s slate of SEC action, let’s review where teams left off on Thursday, Jan. 10, before entering those contests:

  • Kentucky edged past Tennessee, 73-71.
  • South Carolina dominated Florida, 71-40.
  • Missouri rocked Arkansas, 71-53.
  • Texas A&M toppled Vanderbilt, 50-43.
  • Auburn outlasted Alabama, 66-56.
  • LSU trounced Ole Miss, 55-41.
  • Mississippi State routed Georgia, 80-71.

Just three days later, nationally unranked/low-ranked SEC teams stormed from their doldrums to upset nationally-ranked/higher-ranked SEC squads and shake up the conference standings (with changes in national rankings likely to follow).

Here’s what happened in a Sunday of upsets:


Upset Sunday in the SEC

Conference play on Sunday, Jan. 13, featured stunning upsets and shocking victories:

Upset city

No. 16 Kentucky stayed in place on the AP Poll despite the Wildcats’ 55-49 defeat by unranked Ole Miss. The Rebels had shown glimmers of hope all season but struggled to convert strong performances by individual players into wins — until now. The six-point victory over Kentucky was a breakout performance for the Rebels, which dropped the Wildcats to No. 6 in the SEC.

Tennessee started the game against unranked/SEC low-ranked Georgia at No. 13 in the AP Poll. After the Lady Bulldogs handed the Lady Volunteers a 66-62 defeat, however, Tennesse has dropped to No. 20, where the team is tied with Rutgers. Evina Westbrook’s game-high 23 points wasn’t enough to keep the Lady Vols alive and now they are tenth in the conference standings and Georgia has shot up to fourth.

In the biggest upset of the day, unranked Florida — which had been last in the SEC for much of the season — edged past Missouri in a 58-56 win at home. Missouri had occupied a spot in the AP top 25 earlier in the season but fell out a few weeks ago. With a loss to the Gators — who are now 1-3 in conference play, 5-12 overall and thirteenth (out of 14 teams) in the SEC standings — the Tigers remain out of the AP top 25, but did receive votes.

Smooth sailing

The LSU Lady Tigers snagged a win over then-No. 21 Texas A&M on Sunday, Jan. 6, with hopes of knocking off another No. 21-ranked team a week later. But it was not to be. In a matchup against the South Carolina Gamecocks on Sunday, Jan. 13, LSU ended up on the wrong side of a 76-53 defeat. With the win, the Gamecocks are now No. 1 in the SEC and No. 15 in the AP’s top 25. LSU, however, is now ninth in the conference standings and unlikely to gain national ranking any time soon.

After a loss last week to an unranked team stripped Texas A&M of its No. 21 AP ranking, the Aggies got their groove back in a 70-43 blowout of Alabama. Texas A&M is now 2-2 in conference play and 13-4 overall for seventh place in the SEC, while the Crimson Tide is now 1-3 in conference play, 9-8 overall and eleventh in the SEC. The Aggies remain outside of the AP top 25, but did receive votes.

Yikes

The woes for Vanderbilt continue. After an 83-62 blowout loss to Arkansas, the Commodores are now 0-4 in conference play and 5-12 overall — to stay cemented in last place in the SEC. The Razorbacks, meanwhile, are 2-2 in conference competition and 13-5 overall to occupy eighth place in the SEC.

Conference play continues tonight with Mississippi State facing Auburn in one of the Bulldogs’ two big matchups this week — the second of which is against South Carolina:


Monday-night matchup

No. 7 Mississippi State Bulldogs (15-1, 3-0) at Auburn Tigers (14-2, 2-1)

When: Monday, Jan. 14, at 7 p.m. ET

Where: Auburn Arena, Auburn, AL

How to tune in: SEC Network

Need to know: The Bulldogs enter this one on a five-game winning streak and a 6-1 road record for the season. The Tigers may be 6-1 at home, but any advantage ends there given that Mississippi State’s defense is allowing 55.5 points per game from its opponents, and star center, Teira McCowan, is averaging a double-double for the season in points and rebounds. Auburn is allowing 62.8 points per game and scoring an average of 79.1, which seems like a high, promising number of points. That is, until you consider that the Bulldogs are averaging 91.3 points per game this season. If the Tigers can pull off a win, it would be a monumental upset with far-reaching consequences for both teams. But with the Bulldogs having one of the deepest benches in the SEC, such an upset would be unlikely.

Thursday-night thriller

No. 21 South Carolina Gamecocks (4-0, 12-4) at Mississippi State Bulldogs (3-0, 15-1)

When: Thursday, Jan. 17, at 7 p.m. ET

Where: Humphrey Coliseum, Starkville, MS

How to tune in: ESPN

Need to know: The Gamecocks enter this one on an eight-game winning streak and No. 1 in the SEC standings. The Bulldogs, of course, will be looking to put all of South Carolina’s recent success to a halt. Mississippi State is 9-0 at home and would be willing to do just about anything to avoid a loss — especially at home — to the SEC darling Gamecocks. The Bulldogs are averaging 91.3 points per game this season, to South Carolina’s 74.8 points, while points allowed by both teams are about even (55.5 and 61.8, respectively). But the Gamecocks are undefeated on the road, and now have Bianca Cuevas-Moore back on the court, who has been a difference-maker in the South Carolina’s new fast-paced offense. No matter the outcome, this game should be a slugfest, with an upset by South Carolina possible (but not likely), and one of these teams picking up their first conference loss, with all the associated ranking changes to follow.

Complete game-day schedules can be found HERE.


Elsewhere in the SEC:

  • SEC Co-Players of the Week are Mississippi State’s Jordan Danberry and Georgia’s Gabby Connally. Danberry scored 26 points in the Bulldogs’ win over the Razorbacks on the road, in Arkansas, while Connally scored a season-high 29 points in the Lady Bulldogs’ victory over Vanderbilt.
  • SEC Freshman of the Week is Kentucky’s Rhyne Howard, for the fifth time this season.
  • Mississippi State’s Teaira McCowan notched her 50th and 51st double-doubles last week. McCowan is averaging 16.5 points and 13.5 rebounds per game.

Originally published on Monday, Jan. 14, this story was updated to include the latest AP Poll rankings.