No. 14 Auburn, No. 16 Tennessee in race for league title
A look at the upcoming week around the Southeastern Conference:
GAME OF THE WEEKEND: South Carolina at No. 14 Auburn: A victory by Auburn (24-6, 12-5 SEC) on Saturday would give the Tigers the No. 1 seed in next week’s SEC tournament and at least a share of their first conference regular-season title since 1999. Auburn has led the SEC standings since the start of the league schedule but has dropped three of its last four games to fall into a tie for first place with No. 16 Tennessee (22-7, 12-5). South Carolina (16-14, 7-10) has won three of its last four games and beat Auburn 84-75 on Feb. 17 in Columbia. Auburn can win the title outright if it beats South Carolina and Tennessee loses at home to Georgia (16-13, 7-10). A Tennessee victory and Auburn loss would enable the Volunteers to win the championship outright.
LOOKING AHEAD: Could Alabama still get an NCAA Tournament at-large bid?: Alabama seemed in good position to make the NCAA Tournament after back-to-back lopsided victories over Tennessee and LSU gave the Crimson Tide an 17-9 record. But since then, Alabama has lost four straight games, including a 73-52 home setback to Florida on Tuesday. Alabama (17-13, 8-9) visits Texas A&M (19-11, 8-9) on Saturday in a big game for both teams’ NCAA hopes.
IMPACT PERFORMER: Tennessee’s Admiral Schofield felt right at home during the Vols’ two recent visits to the state of Mississippi. The junior forward scored a career-high 25 points and pulled down seven rebounds Saturday in a 73-65 victory at Ole Miss . Schofield followed that up by collecting 24 points and seven rebounds Tuesday in a 76-54 blowout win at Mississippi State .
NUMBERS GAME: The Mississippi State men’s and women’s teams have a combined 34-2 home record this season, even after the men got trounced at home by Tennessee on Tuesday. ... Alabama shot just 4 of 30 from the floor in the first half of its loss to Florida on Tuesday. ... In each of its last four games, No. 23 Kentucky’s had five players score in double figures. ... Both the Vanderbilt men’s and women’s teams have set school records for losses this season. The Vanderbilt men are 11-19 heading into their regular-season finale and haven’t won away from home all season. The Vanderbilt women ended their season with a 7-24 mark. ... Georgia’s Yante Maten leads the SEC with 19.4 points per game and has scored at least 13 points in his past 14 games.
ON THE WOMEN’S SIDE: South Carolina’s A’ja Wilson has been named the SEC player of the year for a third straight season in both the Associated Press’ all-SEC team as well as the all-conference team that was chosen by the league’s coaches. The media panel that voted on the AP all-SEC team also selected Mississippi State’s Vic Schaefer as coach of the year and Texas A&M’s Chennedy Carter as newcomer of the year. First-team selections on the AP all-SEC team included Wilson, Carter, Missouri’s Sophie Cunningham and Mississippi State teammates Teaira McCowan and Victoria Vivians. The second team included South Carolina’s Tyasha Harris, LSU’s Chloe Jackson, Georgia’s Caliya Robinson and Tennessee teammates Jaime Nared and Mercedes Russell.
AP Sports Writers Steve Megargee in Knoxville, Tennessee, and David Brandt in Jackson, Mississippi, contributed to this story.