Blake's Picks: Alabama, Arkansas look to keep winning
Blake Lovell • 3/2/2021 in Basketball
(Petre Thomas/Ole Miss Athletics)
We've reached the final week of the regular season, and there is a lot of SEC Tournament seeding that has yet to be determined.
Let's get to the picks.
No. 12 Arkansas (19-5, 11-4) at South Carolina (6-12, 4-10) - 6:30 PM ET, SEC Network
The Razorbacks are one of the hottest teams in the country, so in true SEC basketball fashion this season, I just assume they're gonna come out and lose by double digits. Just kidding. Well, sort of. But in all seriousness, Arkansas is really good. Eric Musselman's team still hasn't lost an SEC game since mid-January, while the Gamecocks have beaten only one conference team not named Georgia (Florida) in nearly two months. South Carolina has been hard to figure out, and picking against the Razorbacks doesn't seem like the best move.
Blake's Predictions: Arkansas 79, South Carolina 72
Auburn (12-13, 6-10) at No. 8 Alabama (19-6, 14-2) - 7 PM ET, ESPN2
This game should be fun no matter what, but Sharife Cooper playing would certainly offer a different dynamic for the Tigers. The previous meeting between these two teams resulted in one of the best games in the SEC this season, with the Crimson Tide winning 94-90 at Auburn Arena. Even with the SEC regular season title already in their grasp, Nate Oats' group is still trying to stay in the conversation for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. If it were against another team, it would be easy to label this as a potential letdown spot for the Tide. But given the rivalry, Alabama should come out ready to play.
Blake's Predictions: Alabama 85, Auburn 75
Vanderbilt (7-13, 3-11) at LSU (14-8, 9-6) - 8:30 PM ET, SEC Network
Here's a stat that stands out: LSU is 14-1 when Darius Days scores in double figures. The Tigers are 0-7 when he doesn't (or doesn't play). That makes the objective pretty clear when LSU steps onto the court. Of course, it would also help to play better defense. Even without Scotty Pippen Jr. and Dylan Disu, Vanderbilt has proven itself capable of beating a bubble team in Ole Miss. So, the Tigers can't take this game lightly. If they do, sliding down into the double-digit seed range is certainly a possibility. The Commodores will challenge LSU on the defensive side of the court, but Days and company should be able to put up enough points to earn the victory.
Blake's Predictions: LSU 93, Vanderbilt 83
Kentucky (8-14, 7-8) at Ole Miss (13-10, 8-8) - 9 PM ET, ESPN
Kentucky's record is still glaring, but even in the loss to Florida, the Wildcats played pretty well. On the flip side, Ole Miss gave away any at-large potential at Vanderbilt. That makes this game an intriguing one just to see how each team responds. The strength of both has been defense, and that could result in a bit of a grind on offense. Although the Rebels have more wins, it seems like the Wildcats are playing better basketball. However, this game being in Oxford and Ole Miss potentially countering Kentucky's inconsistent offense could be the difference.
Blake's Predictions: Ole Miss 70, Kentucky 68
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