No. 14 Kentucky faces Texas A&M in crucial SEC matchup
Here are a few things to watch in the Southeastern Conference this week:
GAME OF THE WEEKEND: No. 14 Kentucky at Texas A&M: Kentucky is just 3-5 in true road games, but the Wildcats trounced South Carolina 89-62 the last time they played away from Rupp Arena. Kentucky can demonstrate it has solved its road woes with a win Saturday at Texas A&M, which had been ranked as high as fifth. Texas A&M dropped four straight games to tumble out of the Top 25 before ending the skid Tuesday with a 71-56 victory over Ole Miss.
LOOKING AHEAD: Kentucky’s essentially a lock to make the NCAA Tournament, but every other SEC team probably has some work to do in late February if it wants to join the Big Dance. LSU stumbled in a loss to Alabama on Wednesday, erasing much of the momentum the Tigers have built. South Carolina and Texas A&M still have good RPI numbers, but both faded after great starts to conference play. Florida, Alabama, Georgia and Vanderbilt are also still in the tournament conversation, though the Commodores’ last-second road loss to Mississippi State on Tuesday might have been a resume killer.
NUMBERS GAME: Texas A&M’s Danuel House reached 1,500 career points and Alex Caruso got to the 1,000-point mark Tuesday in a 71-56 victory over Ole Miss. House played two seasons at Houston before coming to Texas A&M. ... South Carolina is 1-4 when it gets outrebounded and 20-1 otherwise. The Gamecocks were outrebounded 46-39 in their loss at Missouri. ... Mississippi State freshman Quinndary Weatherspoon is leading the team with 14.9 points per game in conference play. He hit the game-winning 3-pointer as time expired to lead the Bulldogs over Vanderbilt 75-74 on Wednesday.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Missouri F Ryan Rosburg. This hasn’t been a banner season for Missouri, but Rosburg is helping the Tigers show some progress. He scored 18 points Tuesday in Missouri’s 72-67 upset of South Carolina. That performance came three days after he had 21 points in a 75-64 triumph over Tennessee. This marks the first time in Kim Anderson’s two seasons as coach that Missouri has won back-to-back SEC games. Rosburg, a 6-foot-10 senior, is averaging 20 points over his last four games and has scored at least 17 points in each of them.
ON THE WOMEN’S SIDE: No. 3 South Carolina clinched the SEC regular-season championship outright Thursday with a 61-51 victory over Georgia. South Carolina also won the outright title in 2014 and tied Tennessee for first place last season. The Gamecocks are seeking to become the first SEC team to go undefeated in conference play since the 2011 Tennessee squad. ... No. 24 Tennessee’s six conference losses are the most in the program’s history.
AP Sports Writers Steve Megargee in Knoxville, Tennessee, and David Brandt in Jackson, Mississippi, contributed to this story.