SEC Sunday has delivered stunning performances and shocking upsets in prior weeks. Today offers the potential for more of the same, with three key big games on the schedule holding big implications for ranked or once-ranked teams.
Here’s what’s in store:
Tennessee Lady Volunteers (12-7, 1-5 SEC) vs. LSU Lady Tigers (12-6, 3-3 SEC)
Things haven’t gone well in SEC play for the Tennessee Lady Volunteers. Once ranked in the the middle of the AP Poll, the Lady Vols have tumbled off the list behind a 1-5 record in SEC competition and 12-7 overall (Tennessee’s sixth straight loss came in a non-conference meeting against No. 1 Notre Dame on Thursday, Jan. 24). The bad news for the Lady Vols is that only one of the conference losses came against a ranked team (then-No. 16 Kentucky), which means four losses were to unranked competitors. So, in facing LSU today, Tennessee should not expect an easy time, as the Lady Tigers are responsible for handing then-No. 21 Texas A&M a 63-52 defeat on Jan. 6 that knocked them out of the top 25.
When: Sunday, Jan. 27, at 1 p.m. ET
Where: Thompson-Boling Arena, Knoxville, TN
How to tune in: SEC Network
Prediction: With LSU having demonstrated the ability to beat a ranked team in-conference and Tennessee struggling to defeat unranked opponents, the Lady Tigers have the edge.
No. 25 Missouri Tigers (15-6, 4-3 SEC) vs. Auburn Tigers (15-4, 3-3 SEC)
The Missouri Tigers enjoyed the majority of the season in the AP Poll before dropping out for a few weeks and returning Jan. 20. But Mizzou is certain to lose its No. 25 ranking if it doesn’t get a win today. As it is, the Tigers are likely to drop out of the poll anyway, considering it followed up its Jan. 20 anointment with two losses against ranked teams: at No. 19 South Carolina on Monday, Jan. 21, and at No. 15 Kentucky on Thursday, Jan. 24. But Mizzou plays better at home (8-2) and, therefore, has a chance to turn things around in their own arena. The Mizzou Tigers should not rest on their laurels, however, because the Auburn Tigers have played great on the road (7-1). Granted, the road wins came against unranked, lesser opponents in non-conference play, but that doesn’t deny Auburn’s experience winning away from home or the fact that the Tigers came up two points shy of tying the game to force overtime against No. 24 Texas A&M on Thursday, Jan. 24.
When: Sunday, Jan. 27, at 3 p.m. ET
Where: Mizzou Arena, Columbia, MO
How to tune in: SEC Network Plus
Prediction: Despite allowing 8 more points per game than Mizzou, Auburn is averaging 77 points in scoring per game to Mizzou’s 64.6, tipping the edge to the Auburn Tigers.
No. 24 Texas A&M Aggies (15-4, 4-2 SEC) vs. No. 15 Kentucky Wildcats (17-3, 4-2 SEC)
Texas A&M was knocked out of the AP Poll courtesy of a loss to unranked LSU on Jan. 6, and then went on a four-game winning streak to re-enter the top 25 as of Jan. 20. To keep their place in the poll, this is a must-win for the Aggies against a Kentucky team looking to rise from the middle of the pack. Defensively, these teams are equals, with both allowing 56.6 points per game. But points scored is a different story, with the Aggies putting up 75.5 points per game to the Wildcats’ 69.8. So, a Texas A&M win depends on the Aggies’ ability to keep putting up more points. Team and SEC scoring leader Chennedy Carter will need to contribute 20 points or more for the Aggies while three-point field goal leader Kayla Wells will have to light it up from downtown.
When: Sunday, Jan. 27, at 5 p.m. ET
Where: Reed Arena, College Station, TX
How to tune in: SEC Network
Prediction: With five-time Freshman of the Week Rhyne Howard on the court for Kentucky — averaging 16.2 and 7.3 rebounds per game — anything is possible. The Wildcats have the edge, and the opportunity to remove the Aggies from the AP top 25.