There are two important televised SEC games tonight featuring four teams with hopes of getting in the NCAA Tournament, just as Kentucky has hopes of getting in the NCAA Tournament. Thus, they are games that hold particular interest to UK fans.
First there is Arkansas at Missouri, 7 p.m. on ESPN.
Arkansas is 9-7 in league play and coming off that 73-60 win over Kentucky last Saturday. The Razorbacks have been wretched on the road, however. Their lone win came at Auburn, 83-75 on Feb. 12. They dug a 23-point hole early at LSU in their last road game, rallied, but still lost 65-60. Before that, the Hogs lost 71-54 at Florida, a team they beat 80-69 at Bud Walton. Arkansas is 80th in the RPI.
Missouri, now 10-6 in SEC play, is showing signs of getting it all together. Take away a two-point loss at Arkansas on Feb. 16 and an overtime loss at Kentucky on Feb. 23 and Frank Haith’s club would be on a seven-game win streak. As it its, Missouri hasn’t lost at home in conference play. It has a 16-point home win over Alabama, a 17-point home win over Georgia, a 22-point home win over Vanderbilt, a 14-point home win over Auburn. You get the idea. And Missouri is 33rd in the RPI.
Who UK should root for: Missouri is probably going to make the tournament. Arkansas is trying to climb its way on to the bubble. And Kentucky has already beaten Missouri. Root for the Tigers.
Then there is Alabama at Ole Miss, 9 p.m. on ESPNU.
Alabama is currently in second place in the league with an 11-5 mark. The Tide is just 19-10 overall and No. 60 in the RPI. Bama has lost its last two road games — 64-52 at Florida on Saturday and a 97-94 three-overtime affair at LSU on Feb. 23. The Tide led LSU 69-59 with three minutes to play in regulation and lost that one.
Since its 6-0 conference start, Ole Miss has lost gone 4-6. Two of those six losses were horrendous. The Rebels lost 63-62 at South Carolina on Feb. 20. Then last Saturday, Andy Kennedy’s club lost 73-67 at Mississippi State, a team that had lost 13 straight games. Ole Miss is 58th in the RPI.
Who UK fans should root for: The Cats have the tiebreaker over Ole Miss (thanks to a Jan. 29 win). Alabama has the tiebreaker over the Cats (thanks to a Jan. 22 win). Even though Ole Miss has the slightly higher RPI, I say root for the Rebels.