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Around the SEC: The first weekend of basketball

There were some surprises.

NCAA Basketball: Kentucky at Florida Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

Somehow, Vanderbilt didn’t have the worst day of anybody in the SEC over the first weekend of conference games.

In fact, five of the seven home teams lost. Vanderbilt’s 78-75 loss to Alabama was no surprise; Alabama came in as a 14-point favorite. Two home teams had a shot at a win over a Top 25 team and both whiffed — one badly.

South Carolina 68, Mississippi State 62: And speaking of whiffing, I thought South Carolina would be the worst team in the conference. They’re not, and it isn’t just because Vanderbilt is inexplicably terrible: the Gamecocks are now 13-1. Meechie Johnson scored 24 and Myles Stute had 15. Great.

Kentucky 87, Florida 85: This legitimately could have gone either way; Florida built an 11-point lead late in the first half before Kentucky clawed back and won it in the last couple of minutes. The Gators are likely kicking themselves over going 18-of-29 from the foul line.

Georgia 75, Missouri 68: Two teams going in opposite directions opened up SEC play: Missouri has now lost four of five, while Georgia won its ninth in a row. The Bulldogs led by as many as 17 points in the first half, though Missouri then reeled off a 17-2 run to make it competitive.

Auburn 83, Arkansas 51: This was Arkansas’s biggest home loss since Bud Walton Arena opened. Auburn simply walked in and won.

Tennessee 90, Ole Miss 64: A heaping dose of reality for Ole Miss, which came in undefeated. This one was never in doubt with Tennessee jumping out to an 18-6 lead in the first few minutes and never looking back.

LSU 68, Texas A&M 53: And speaking of players we’d like to have back, Jordan Wright scored 20 points for LSU. Ugh. LSU has won three in a row since Jalen Cook, arbitrarily declared eligible as a two-time transfer when the NCAA got sued over having rules, joined the starting lineup.

The Midweek Games

Tuesday night sees South Carolina visit Alabama (6:00 PM CT, SEC Network); Missouri at Kentucky (6:00 PM CT, ESPN); Vanderbilt is at LSU (8:00 PM CT, SEC Network); and Texas A&M visits Auburn (8:00 PM CT, ESPN2.) On Wednesday, Tennessee visits Mississippi State (6:00 PM CT, SEC Network); Arkansas travels to Georgia (8:00 PM CT, ESPNU); and Florida is at Ole Miss (8:00 PM CT, SEC Network.)