It was another surprising night in SEC basketball on Monday, as No. 5 Florida was handled by undefeated rival Florida State in Gainesville.
The conference will look to get back on track with four winnable games on today’s schedule, although Texas A&M will face quite the challenge.
As always, my predictions are based on team analysis and who I think will win. Score projections are for my own amusement.
Let’s get to the picks.
Season Predictions Record (straight up): 84-17
Winthrop at Georgia – 7 PM EST, SEC Network
The Bulldogs were my team of the week on the debut edition of my new college basketball radio show, Forever March.
The reasoning for that was simple: Georgia scored a massive road win at Marquette, which come on the heels of finishing out the Wooden Legacy over Saint Mary’s. Mark Fox has his team playing much better basketball these days, and the Bulldogs have a chance to build more momentum.
Winthrop has already given up 119 points to Auburn this season and lacks the overall size needed to keep Yante Maten, Rayshaun Hammonds, and Derek Ogbeide from controlling the boards.
Xavier Cooks will likely play well as usual for the Eagles, but I don’t know that there’s enough depth around him.
Georgia gets enough from its big men and the emerging Turtle Jackson at guard to score the win.
Prediction: Georgia 81, Winthrop 67
Colorado State at Arkansas – 8 PM EST, SEC Network+
It wasn’t a pretty outing for the Razorbacks in Houston, as the Cougars had their way in cruising to a 26-point victory.
That should equal a mad Arkansas team in this one, and there appear to be a few things that the home team can take advantage of.
Despite Colorado State handing Colorado its first loss of the season last Saturday, the Rams haven’t particularly shot the ball well. They’re 307th nationally in field-goal percentage (40.9 percent) and are shooting only 29.3 percent from 3-point range (322nd nationally).
With the Hogs’ ability to score early and often, it makes it hard to pick Larry Eustachy’s squad in this spot.
Daryl Macon and Jaylen Barford help Arkansas bounce back with the victory.
Prediction: Arkansas 87, Colorado State 74
No. 7 Texas A&M vs. Arizona – 9 PM EST, ESPN2 (Phoenix, AZ)
Although Arizona is no longer ranked, this is still a battle between two teams that have Final Four hopes come March.
The Aggies have dispatched all elite competition in their path thus far in earning wins over West Virginia and USC, and some people might consider Arizona the third best team of that group right now with Rawle Alkins still sidelined.
However, let’s not act like the Wildcats are lacking talent. Alonzo Trier and Deandre Ayton have been excellent, and Dusan Rustic and Parker Jackson-Cartwright have added solid play around them.
I can’t help but feel that this is a game where everyone is sort of writing Arizona off due to the 5-3 record. This is still a very good team that gained a major confidence boost in the overtime win over UNLV, and perhaps that plays a factor here.
I picked against Texas A&M in both the West Virginia and USC games, and the Aggies proved me wrong.
I’m going to do it again for a third time, and if Billy Kennedy’s squad wins, I’ll never pick against them again.
On paper, it feels like a game that Texas A&M could potentially dominate.
But I just get a sense that this is one of those classic scenarios where a preseason favorite notches a huge win over a great team to get back on track.
Prediction: Arizona 75, Texas A&M 74
Miami Ohio at Missouri – 9 PM EST, SEC Network
Missouri finally ended the long road losing streak in time to come home for four straight games.
The Tigers still have NCAA Tournament talent, and these next few games will tell us more about their ability to dominate inferior competition.
The RedHawks are simply not a good offensive team in that they don’t shoot well and tend to turn it over a lot. That’s not a good problem to have against a Mizzou team with a lot of size and length, and that could equal more offensive issues for the visitors.
This may not be a particularly pretty game, but the Tigers have way more depth and should overwhelm Miami for the entire 40 minutes.
Prediction: Missouri 81, Miami Ohio 54
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