As the calendar turns to February, basketball teams across the Southeastern Conference will tip-off the second half of the conference schedule this weekend.

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Balanced SEC

Currently, Auburn leads the SEC with an 8-1 conference record and holds a two-game lead over Kentucky, Tennessee and Florida.

While Bruce Pearl’s Tigers appear to be in good position at the top of the standings, most of the conference still has an opportunity to play for a double-bye in the SEC Tournament.

Of the bottom 10 teams in the SEC, seven teams including Alabama, Mississippi State, Georgia, Arkansas, Missouri, Ole Miss and South Carolina are no more than two games behind Florida, Kentucky and Tennessee for second SEC standings.

Alabama’s NCAA Outlook

Following one of their best wins of the season against Oklahoma, the Crimson Tide followed up Saturday’s performance with one of their worst games of the season in a 69-60 home loss to Missouri.

Wednesday’s loss not only hurt Alabama’s chances at reaching the top of the SEC standings, but it added an extra hurdle in the journey toward the NCAA Tournament.

While Joe Lunardi still has the Crimson Tide as a nine seed in his latest bracket projections, Jerry Palm from CBSSports.com provided a more critical outlook on the situation. In Palm’s latest tournament projections, Avery Johnson’s squad is an 11-seed.

In his article about Alabama, Arizona State and Wichita State losing ground in the bracket, Palm cites the Crimson Tide’s 1-4 record on the road and home losses to UCF, Texas (in Birmingham) and Missouri and the remaining SEC schedule as factors in his downward projection for Alabama.

Although Avery Johnson’s squad will play five of their final nine games in the regular season on the road, they can improve their resume as seven of those nine games come against teams in the top 50 of the NCAA’s RPI rankings.

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Missouri and Georgia’s Big Wins

Earlier this week, Missouri and Georgia notched crucial SEC wins against Alabama and Florida respectively.

Although both teams took huge steps forward regarding their NCAA Tournament resumes, both Joe Lunardi and Jerry Palm have Georgia just outside the tournament field while the two bracketologists are split on the Tigers. Palm has Missouri as a nine-seed while Lunardi has them as the first team out of the tournament.

Missouri and Georgia have a combined nine games remaining against the RPI top 50.

 

Saturday SEC Schedule

Florida vs. Alabama 3 PM (ESPN)

Missouri vs. Kentucky 1 PM (CBS)

Texas A&M vs. South Carolina 2:30 PM (ESPN2)

LSU vs. Arkansas 2:30 PM (SECN)

Tennessee vs. Ole Miss 5 PM (SECN)

Mississippi State vs. Georgia 5 PM (ESPNU)

Auburn vs. Vanderbilt 7:30 PM (SECN)