It’s the first weekend of February, and all of the Southeastern Conference teams are preparing their programs for a final stand before March arrives, and chances have all but run out. Saturday was no different than any other Saturday in the SEC; there was craziness and complete mayhem across the board as three essential things stood out amongst the rest of the craziness.
First, Head Coach Jerry Stackhouse has his Vanderbilt Commodores finally playing at the level many expected to see since he got to Nashville. Vanderbilt started to show signs of improvement a few weeks ago but capped off the rally on Wednesday night when the Commodores took Kentucky to the wire at Rupp Arena before exposing LSU on Saturday in a massive win at Memorial Gymnasium. Vanderbilt has a tough February ahead of them, but the next three games will provide the Vanderbilt faithful with clarity as to what they can expect heading into March. Vanderbilt starts the three-game stretch on Tuesday night with Missouri before traveling to Knoxville to take on the Volunteers on Saturday and a quick road trip to Auburn next Wednesday night. It’s not out of the realm of possibility for Vanderbilt to win two out of the three games, setting up for a wild finish to the season.
Second, Kentucky and Head Coach John Calipari seem to have their swagger back, which spells disaster for the rest of the Southeastern Conference and College Basketball as a whole. For over a hundred years, when Kentucky basketball is good, and they have their full-blown swagger back, it’s a scary thing, but at that point, Kentucky is beatable but, it’s unlikely. Kentucky has won four straight games, their healthy, and Kentucky looks to be one of the three best College Basketball teams in the country with a legitimate shot at winning a National Championship. When Kentucky is at full strength like they have been for the last four games, there’s not a program in the country that is a more complete team than the Wildcats.
Third, Auburn has reached that point in the season that despite being good and talented, Auburn is flirting with lady luck and an old-fashioned humbling after barely escaping Georiga with a win on Saturday. Not saying Auburn is not a Final Four team because to say such a thing is dumb because Auburn is a damn good basketball team, but pride comes before the fall, and for most teams losing right before the SEC Tournament is a good thing. Auburn is no different. A loss in SEC play is on its way for the Tigers, but instead of letting it completely dismantle the entire season, look for Bruce Pearl to use it as extra motivation for his team as they prepare for another special March Madness run.
There’s still a lot of Basketball to be played and if there’s anything we’ve learned about the SEC is to expect the unexpected as we finish the face with such a fire and fury that has never been seen before in the history of College Basketball. Buckle up SEC fans, February in the Southeastern Conference is bound to entertain and bring us memorable College Basketball moments that will forever be etched into the folklore of SEC Basketball.