Saturday was a massive day for the SEC as they defeated their Big 12 counterparts 5-4 to win the SEC/Big 12 challenge for the first time since the 2017-2018 season. It wasn’t the teams that many expected to do it either. It was a combination of programs that needed to prove something on Saturday that pushed the SEC past the finish line to defeat the Big 12.
Out of the five SEC teams who won on Saturday, two came against ranked teams, two were on the road, and two were blowouts.
Starting things off were the boys from Gainesville going into Morgantown, West Virginia, and pulling off a massive 85-80 upset win over the 11th ranked Mountaineers. Head Coach Mike White and his Florida Gators needed a massive NCAA tournament boosting win, and boy did they get it! Colin Castleton led the way for the Gators in scoring with 21 points and seven rebounds.
With the win, Florida pretty much locks up an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament in March.
Next up, it was the Tigers of Missouri defeating TCU 102-98 in Columbia. For the Tigers, it was an amazing combination of play from Jeremiah Tilmon and Xavier Pinson, who combined for 69 out of the 102 points for Mizzou. Missouri proved once again that they belong in conversation among the best College Basketball teams in the country.
On the road in Manhattan, Kansas, it was the fighting Texas A&M coming out victories over the Wildcats of Kansas State to give the SEC its third win of five in the SEC/ Big 12 challenge. Saturday’s road win for the Aggies was a massive one for Head Coach Buzz Williams as he tries to rebuild the Aggies program.
Down in Starkville, Mississippi, from the opening tip to the final buzzer, it was all Mississippi State with a massive 95-56 win over Iowa State. Saturday’s win was a statement win for the Bulldogs as they put the rest of the SEC on notice that they aren’t going away quietly into the abyss without a fight. These Bulldogs are out for blood and, that was self-evident on Saturday night in Starkvegas!
Staying on the topic of statement wins, the boys on Rocky Top shut down any doubt that anybody might have had coming into the matchup with Kansas on Saturday night. Tennessee controlled the game from the opening tip-off and, the Jayhawks didn’t have an answer. As the final buzzer sounded, it was the Volunteers coming out on top 80-61.
Saturday was a special day for the Southeastern Conference, a day in fact that many people across the landscape of College Basketball will use to pinpoint as the moment the SEC regained its seat as the king of College Basketball.