Texas A&M struggling, Auburn surging against SEC competition
By The Associated Press
Jan. 12, 2018
A look at the upcoming week around the Southeastern Conference:
GAME OF THE WEEKEND: Texas A&M at No. 24 Tennessee: Just a couple of weeks ago, Texas A&M was ranked fifth in the country to match its highest position ever in the Top 25. Now they're unranked and are the only SEC team without a conference win. That puts the Aggies (11-5, 0-4 SEC) in a desperate position heading into Saturday's game at No. 24 Tennessee (11-4, 2-2), which has won two straight. Injuries and suspensions impacted Texas A&M's roster at the start of SEC play, but the Aggies also have been hurt by bad luck. In their last two games, they lost 69-68 to LSU on a 3-pointer in the final second and fell 74-73 at No. 21 Kentucky .
LOOKING AHEAD: Is Auburn for real? Auburn has put itself in great position to earn its first NCAA Tournament berth since 2003. The Tigers are unbeaten in SEC competition and have won 13 straight games, their longest winning streak since 1999-2000. Auburn (15-1, 3-0 SEC) has won three straight SEC games by double figures, the first time it's done that since 2009. Before now, Auburn hadn't even won three straight SEC games by any margin since the 2015 SEC tournament. Auburn plays three of its next four games on the road, including a Saturday matchup at Mississippi State, which hasn't lost at home all season.
NUMBERS GAME: Florida's Egor Koulechov has shot 13 of 20 from 3-point range in Florida's four SEC games to help the Gators move atop the league standings. He scored the Gators' first 13 points Wednesday in a 71-54 victory over Mississippi State . ... LSU (11-4, 2-1) already has exceeded its win total from last season, when the Tigers finished 10-21. ... Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy became the 23rd coach in SEC history to win 100 conference games when the Rebels beat Mississippi State 64-58 last weekend. Kennedy has a 100-90 record in SEC games over 12 seasons.
IMPACT PERFORMER: LSU's Tremont Waters delivered one of the most spectacular shots of the season Saturday with his off-balance 3-pointer in the final second to give the Tigers a one-point win at Texas A&M. That shot continued the 5-foot-11 guard's remarkable freshman season. Waters leads the SEC in assists (6.1) and ranks fifth in the league in scoring (16.8). He's a major reason why LSU is outperforming preseason expectations after being picked to finish last in the conference.
ON THE WOMEN'S SIDE: Missouri's 83-74 victory over defending national champion South Carolina on Sunday marked the fourth time in school history that the Tigers have defeated a team ranked fourth or higher. Missouri's last such victory came against No. 4 Baylor on Jan. 4, 2006. South Carolina dropped from fourth to ninth after the game. Two of South Carolina's last three losses have come at Missouri. ... No. 17 Texas A&M's 79-76 overtime victory over No. 6 Tennessee on Thursday leaves No. 4 Mississippi State as the SEC's lone unbeaten team.
AP Sports Writers Steve Megargee in Knoxville, Tennessee, and David Brandt in Jackson, Mississippi, contributed to this story.