Heading into SEC play Tuesday night, half of the conference’s 14 teams sport .500 records in conference play. That’s right. Seven SEC basketball teams are 7-7 in conference basketball play. Parity? Mediocrity? Take your pick.
Two of those 7-7 teams pull on the jerseys tonight. Florida takes its brand-new No. 1 national ranking and unblemished 14-0 conference mark to Nashville’s Memorial Gym to play Vanderbilt, which is 7-7. Meanwhile, Missouri carries its 7-7 record to third-place Georgia, which is a surprising 9-5 in league play.
Vanderbilt is a definite long shot for an NCAA Touranment bid, but Missouri has climbed onto the bubble. And the Tigers are surely still kicking themselves over their first meeting with Georgia, when the host Tigers dropped an overtime decision in the league opener for both teams.
Georgia is textbook scrappy. The Bulldogs sit dead last in the SEC in conference field goal percentage. They shoot a mere 40 percent in league games. But Mark Fox’s team gets 27.2 percent of its points at the free throw line and leads the SEC in field goal percentage defense. It hold opponents to just 39 percent from the floor.
Missouri has high-scoring guards in Jabari Brown, Jordan Clarkson and Earnest Ross. Unfortunately for Frank Haith, they don’t do much to keep the other team from scoring. Mizzou is nursing the bruises from an 80-73 loss on Saturday at Alabama, a team going nowhere. Joe Lunardi has the Tigers as a No. 11 seed in his latest Bracketology release, but a loss Tuesday night in Athens might push Missouri to outside looking in.