SEC fans, the 'Beat is back and as expected some conference teams are steppin' out in front of others. Can Georgia mens' coach Dennis Felton hold on much longer as the Dogs struggle? And will Georgia women's coach Andy Landers' 800th win finally get him the respect he deserves? Wait no longer, here comes the Bosco'sBeat with all the answers!
In our opinion, the two top teams in the SEC are the Kentucky Wildcats and the Auburn Lady Tigers. The Beat taps Kentucky's Jodie Meeks as mid-season MVP after scoring a school-record 54 points in Kentucky's win over No. 24 Tennessee last week. Since then, the 14-and-4 Wildcats have been red-hot, most recently leaving the Georgia Bulldogs in the dust, coasting to a 68-45 win in Athens. On the women's side, the Auburn Lady Tigers are undefeated and number 6 in the nation, handling Arkansas on the road, 70-61 on Sunday. The Lady Tigers have scored 80 or more points in two back-to-back wins, at South Carolina and home versus Florida. Key game alert sounding for a home-stand versus the Lady Vols on the 25th of January.......Another exciting team to watch is the Florida Gators, currently 3-and-0 in conference play following a crushing defeat over Arkansas, 80-65. Super-stud Nick Calathes scored 28 points on Saturday helping his team to a 10 game win streak. Current Arkansas coach John Pelphrey is a former assistant at Florida. Key game alert: Gators at Vanderbilt, with CBS coverage from Nashville Sunday afternoon at 1:30 PM.
Makin' Some Noise
At 3-and-0 (12-and-5 overall), Mississippi State's men's team sits atop the SEC West after a 73-66 win over Vandy Saturday night last week. Last week's win over Alabama is the 10th home opening win in 11 seasons for the Bulldogs. Key game alert: at Kentucky on February 3rd, tip-off set for 6 PM......Number 18 Vanderbilt Lady Commodores are 2-and-0 in conference play so far, getting past LSU 75-67 over the weekend in Nashville and beating the Lady Vols, 74-58 last week. A road trip to Athens, Georgia is set for the 22nd......The Tennessee Vols men's AND women's teams are barely hanging on to Top 25 spots after a shaky couple of weeks. The men, losers to Kentucky in week one of conference play, let a 17 point lead slip away in a 82-79 win at home versus South Carolina Saturday night. The Number 24 Vols avoided a first-ever three losses in a row under Coach Bruce Pearl with the win over the 'Cocks. Key Game Alert: A CBS telecast versus state-rivals Memphis Tigers at Knoxville on the 24th. The Lady Vols are for now Number 15 in the nation, but are clearly not the dominant force fans are used to, getting a slow start before handling the South Carolina Lady Gamecocks 68-56 on Sunday. The win is the 36th straight over South Carolina, winless in conference play (0-and-4) and dead last in the SEC. Key Game Alert: Now this is a Pat Summitt special, a road trip to Number 6 and undefeated Auburn Lady Tigers on the 25th of this month.
Too Early To Tell, But We Like What We See
One team used to reaching Final Fours semi-regularly, the LSU Lady Tigers, are a bit down this year. The 2-and-1 squad has lost alot some heavyweights, including Sylvia Fowles, but junior Alliston Hightower and freshmen Ayana Dunning and LaSondra Barrett combined for 56 points in this weekend's loss to Number 18 Vandy. The Lady Tigers kick off February with a big test at home versus undefeated Auburn......The LSU men's team is off to a good start at 2-and-1 in conference play after thumping Ole Miss 83-51 at Oxford, Mississippi over the weekend. The Tigers led at halftime 41-18 and never looked back. Key Game Alert: At Number 24 Tennessee on the 28th......The Florida Lady Gators are 2-and-1 in conference play after dominating a disappointing Lady Georgia Bulldogs 61-45 on Sunday, ending a 9 game losing streak in the series. The Lady Gators led for good after going on a 24-and-6 run early in the second half. Home games versus Ole Miss, Kentucky and a trip to Fayetteville, Arkansas are the next three games for these ladies......The Kentucky Lady Wildcats are off to a promising start, 2-and-2 in conference play, dropping a disappointing home loss versus Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs on Sunday. This one went back-and-forth before MSU went on a game-deciding 8-and-1 run, sealing it up at Memorial Coliseum 52-45. We'd normally be disappointed at the low score, but something tells us this Kentucky ladies squad is on the rise. Key Game Alert: at Auburn on February 12th. The 2-and-2 MSU Lady Bulldogs travel to Kentucky, host LSU and Arkansas for their next three games......Congratulations to the Ole Miss Lady Rebels, getting their 700th all-time victory, becoming the 23rd school in NCAA Division I history to accomplish that feat. Only Tennessee, Georgia, Auburn and LSU have more all-time wins. That history-making win came on Sunday over Alabama 73-43, getting these ladies to 2-and-1 in the SEC so far this season.
They've Got Some Catching Up To Do
South Carolina's men's team is 1-and-2 so far in conference play, getting close before losing to Tennessee 82-79 over the weekend. Key Game Alert: a road game at Kentucky on January 31st.....Alabama men's squad was supposed to be swimming in talent this season, but some injuries leave the 'Tide at 1-and-2 in the SEC, losing to a struggling Auburn Tigers (1-2, 11-6 overall) 85-71 over the weekend. Key Game Alert: The Tide will be hosting the red-hot Kentucky Wildcats from T-Town on the 24th, tip-off set for 2 PM. Meanwhile, the Auburn Tigers travel to Lexington, Kentucky for their shot at the 'Cats Wednesday night at 8 PM......On the women's side, the Lady Dogs are 1-and-2 in the SEC, disappointing for a squad used to a place in the national spotlight. The team's two top scorers, Ashley Houts and Angel Robinson fouled out late in Sunday's loss to the Florida Gators, with Houts scoring only five points. Key Game Alert: Georgia hosts Auburn at 7 PM on the 29th......On the men's side, the Vanderbilt Commodores are struggling, at 1-and-2 in conference play. The best these boys could do was to pull within 6 Saturday night before losing to Mississippi State. Turnovers were only part of the problem for this struggling squad. Key Game Alert(s): versus Tennessee on ESPN on Tuesday night, followed by CBS coverage versus Florida from Nashville on the 25th......The Ole Miss Rebels are behind 1-and-2 in the SEC after the most lopsided loss since 2000 to the LSU Tigers on Saturday. Key Game Alert: versus Kentucky on ESPN on the 27th, tip-off set for 6 PM CST.
Can't Wait For Football Season
Among the few winless SEC women's team is Arkansas, 0-and-3 in the SEC. The Lady Razorbacks tied it up at 34 on Sunday before falling to undefeated Auburn at Fayetteville. Key Game Alert sounding for Thursday night, 7 PM versus the Lady Vols from Fayetteville.....The ladies of Alabama are reeling after and 0-and-3 conference start and an embarrassing loss to Ole Miss 73-43. This is the third straight loss for the Lady Rebs headed towards a tough road trip to Auburn, home versus Georgia and on the road to Vandy by the first of next month......And last but not least (except for the least part), the South Carolina Gamecocks are at the bottom of the SEC women's teams, at 0-and-3, getting to within 7 points in Sunday's loss to the Lady Vols. If you want to put a positive spin on this one, you can count USC as one of six SEC teams without a victory in Knoxville, so at least they're in good company. Upcoming games include at Ole Miss and home versus Vandy and LSU. On the men's side, the Georgia Bulldogs are struggling, leading Sunday's AJC to speculate on how long Dennis Felton can remain with a program that has lost five straight, after winning last season's conference tournament. Upcoming games include ESPN 2 coverage versus Mississippi State on Saturday at 6 PM and Key Game Alert: at Florida on Wednesday the 28th at 8 PM.....And my, how Arkansas has fallen, to 0-and-3 in the league. We'll call this a rebuilding year for the 'Hogs, who take on Auburn, Alabama and LSU to round out January.
Notables From Around The League
Congratulations to Georgia Lady Dogs coach Andy Landers, getting his 800th win after a 74-28 victory over Savannah State last week. His girls are a bit down this year, but Coach Landers is a class act and very well respected around the nation.....Breaking News: A judge has delayed the assault trial of Mississippi basketball coach Andy Kennedy until after the NCAA tournament. Also, on Friday the cab driver who accused Kennedy of hitting him and using ethnic slurs filed a lawsuit against the coach in response to Kennedy's defamation lawsuit, according to the AP......Arkansas freshman forward Brandon Moore is suspended indefinately after his arrest early Sunday on charges of drunken driving, reckless driving, failure to provide proof of insurance, failure to register a vehicle and unlawful use of dealer tags. (We won't ask)
News and Notes From Around The Nation
UConn Lady Huskies freshman guard Caroline Doty is out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL during Saturday's win over Syracuse......And Louisiana Tech forward Kenny Cooper is out for the remainder of the season for repeatedly violating team rules.