Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:00 AM

Tuesday's SEC Tips

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Mississippi State at Kentucky

-- As of early this morning, most betting shops had Kentucky (14-3 straight up, 8-9 against the spread) listed as a 6.5-point favorite with a total of 144.5. The Bulldogs were +230 on the money line (risk $100 to win $230).

-- John Calipari’s club is undefeated in 10 home games with a 4-6 spread record. Kentucky is in a three-way tie for third place in the SEC, joining South Carolina and Ole Miss with 4-1 records in league play. Tennessee is atop the national rankings and the SEC standings with its 5-0 conference ledger, while LSU is 4-0 in SEC action.

-- Since losing its SEC opener by a 77-75 count at Alabama, UK has responded with four consecutive victories and back-to-back spread covers. The Wildcats have won vs. Texas A&M (85-74), vs. Vanderbilt (56-47), at UGA (69-49) and at Auburn (82-80). They won Saturday at Auburn as 4.5-point road underdogs. Keldon Johnson and Tyler Herro led the way past the Tigers with 20 points apiece, as Herro drained 3-of-6 launches from downtown and all five of his free-throw attempts. Reid Travis added 17 points and seven rebounds, while P.J. Washington finished with 13 points and seven boards.

-- UK is No. 8 in the NCAA’s new NET Rankings and No. 13 at KenPom.com. The ‘Cats are 3-3 against K-Pom Top-100 opponents, losing to Duke and Seton Hall on neutral courts in non-conference action. Calipari’s squad has road wins at Louisville and at Auburn, in addition to a neutral-court triumph over UNC.

-- Johnson leads UK in scoring with a 15.0 points-per-game average. Herro (13.5 PPG), Travis (13.0 PPG) and Washington (11.8 PPG) are also averaging in double figures. Freshman guard Ashton Hagans dropped a career-high 23 points on Georgia last week and is pacing the Wildcats in assists (3.6 APG) and steals (2.2 SPG). Washington lead the ‘Cats in rebounding, pulling down 7.9 boards per game.

-- Mississippi State (14-3 SU, 8-9 ATS) is 2-1 both SU and ATS in three road assignments.

-- Ben Howland’s team is No. 21 at K-Pom, going 6-2 versus Top-100 foes. MSU, No. 36 in Net Rankings, has quality neutral-court victories over Clemson and Saint Mary’s, in addition to home scalps over Florida, Wofford and Cincinnati. The Bulldogs also have wins at Vanderbilt and at Dayton. They lost in overtime at South Carolina, at home vs. Ole Miss and on a neutral floor against Arizona State.

-- MSU is led by senior guard Quinndary Weatherspoon, who averages 16.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.3 steals per game. Weatherspoon is hitting 48.0 percent of his field-goal attempts and 83.1 percent of his free throws.

-- Lamar Peters (13.3 PPG, 5.8 APG) has buried 41.5 percent of his 3-balls and has a 99/51 assist-to-turnover ratio. Aric Holman (12.4 PPG, 8.1 RPG) leads the Bulldogs in rebounding and blocked shots (38), while Nick Weatherspoon, Quinndary’s younger brother, is averaging 10.3 points and 1.1 steals per game.

-- Since losing its first two SEC games, Mississippi State has won back-to-back games vs. Florida (71-68) and at Vanderbilt. Q-Weatherspoon was the catalyst with 17 points, eight rebounds and four assists without a turnover. Tyson Carter and Aric Holman added 10 points apiece and Holman had nine rebounds. The Bulldogs thumped the Commodores 71-55 as three-point road favorites.

-- This is MSU’s first game as an underdog this season.

-- The ‘under’ is 9-8 overall for the ‘Cats, 6-4 in their home contests.

-- The ‘over’ is 4-1 in MSU’s past five games to improve to 9-8 overall. The ‘under’ is 2-1 in the Bulldogs three road outing.

-- Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.

Ole Miss at Alabama

-- Alabama (11-6 SU, 7-9 ATS) had a golden opportunity to bolster its resume enormously Saturday when it had Tennessee, the once-beaten team tabbed as the nation’s best by most national polls yesterday, on the ropes and in big-time trouble Saturday in Knoxville at Thompson-Boling Arena. However, an unfathomably atrocious call by the refs at crunch time, in addition to deplorable FT shooting by Avery Johnson’s team robbed it of being able to pull a tremendous upset. ‘Bama led 63-60 with 5:20 left despite missing nine of its first 10 FTAs in the second half. The Tide finished 8-of-18 from the charity stripe, including 4-of-13 in the final 20 minutes of action. Nevertheless, when UT’s Grant Williams was called for a charge adeptly taken by Donta Hall with the Volunteers ahead 69-68 with 11.9 ticks remaining, Johnson’s bunch had one final shot. John Petty, who scored a game-high 30 points on 6-of-10 shooting from downtown, including five straight makes at one point, took a pass on the wing with about five ticks remaining. He took two dribbles to his left and was inexplicably whistled for a travelling call with 3.2 seconds remaining. I immediately went back and hit rewind and watched Petty’s catch and move to his left off the bounce. There was ZERO indication – not even any sort of feet shuffling or a switch of the pivot foot or ANYTHING out of the ordinary to suggest Petty walked – yet the game-deciding call was made anyway.

-- With 2.5 seconds remaining, UT’s Lamonte’ Turned added two FTs and the Tide’s Kira Lewis missed a 55-foot heave at the buzzer to allow the Vols to win 71-68 as 13-point favorites. Rick Barnes’s club led 44-32 at intermission, only to see the Tide go on a 15-0 run sparked by Petty’s hot hand from long distance. Hall would add 16 points and 12 rebounds, while the freshman Lewis had 12 points on 3-of-6 marksmanship from 3-point range. The Tide outrebounded UT 36-33 but couldn’t overcome its abysmal FT shooting. Dazon Ingram had four rebounds and five assists compared to just one turnover, but he made only 1-of-4 FTs and scored just three points.

-- Alabama fell to 2-3 in SEC play where it sits next to Florida in an eighth-place tie. It wasn’t all bad news for the Tide last week, however, as it did go into Missouri on Wednesday and capture a 70-60 victory as a 1.5-point road favorite. In only 18 minutes of playing time from off the bench, Avery Johnson Jr. was the catalyst with a team-high 14 points. Hall added 12 points, 11 rebounds and a pair of blocked shots in a solid overall defensive effort from ‘Bama, which held to 42.1 percent shooting from the field. The Tide had a 33-28 rebounding advantage.

-- Johnson’s team is No. 56 at K-Pom and No. 50 in the NET Rankings. Alabama has a 7-4 record against K-Pom’s Top 100, including scalps of UK, Missouri, Penn State, Liberty, Arizona, Murray State and Ball State. The Tide has lost to Northeastern on a neutral floor, at home to Georgia State (after leading by 21 at halftime) and Texas A&M (on a buzzer-beating trey off the backboard), in addition to road defeats at UT, at LSU and at UCF. Although the win over UT would’ve bolstered its resume, there’s still plenty of time and quality opponents left on ‘Bama’s slate for it to play its way into the Tournament field.

-- Alabama has won six of eight home games, but it has limped to a 2-5 spread record in Tuscaloosa.

-- As of early this morning, most books had Alabama listed as a one-point home favorite over the Rebels, who are 3-1 SU and 4-0 ATS on the road this year. The total was 152.

-- Ole Miss (14-3 SU, 15-2 ATS) is one of the nation’s biggest surprises under new head coach Kermit Davis, who has his team ranked No. 30 at K-Pom and No. 24 in the NCAA’s new NET rankings. The Rebels are a projected No. 7 seed in the NCAA Tournament, according to Joe Lunardi’s latest ‘Bracketology’ report at ESPN.com (more on all SEC teams from Lunardi below in Bonus Nuggets….). The Rebels are 5-3 against K-Pom’s Top 100 and that doesn’t even include an 81-71 win at Vanderbilt. They have quality home wins over Auburn, Arkansas and San Diego, in addition to a neutral-court triumph over Baylor and a road win at MSU.

-- Here’s the Kermit Davis Factor: Ole Miss is the best ATS team in the nation at 15-2, while his old team, Middle Tennessee, is 4-13 ATS to rank No. 347 out of 353 teams that play lined games. (And that’s with the Blue Raiders covering in back-to-back games and three of their past four!).

-- Ole Miss failed to win outright in last week’s 83-69 loss to red-hot LSU as a 3.5-point home ‘chalk.’ However, Davis’s bunch responded by destroying Arkansas 84-67 Saturday as a six-point home favorite. The Rebels roared out to a 46-35 halftime advantage, only to see the Razorbacks cut the deficit to six less than four minutes into the second half. The Hogs would get no closer, though, as Ole Miss pushed the lead back to double digits and led by as many as 18 in coasting to the easy spread cover. Breein Tyree contributed a game-high 22 points along with four rebounds, three steals, two assists and one blocked shot. Terence Davis finished with 18 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and five steals, while Bruce Stevens had 14 points and seven boards.

-- Tyree, a junior guard, is averaging a team-best 17.5 PPG while shooting 49.7 from the field, 38.2 percent from beyond the arc and 83.1 percent from the FT line. Davis is averaging 16.2 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.5 steals and 0.9 blocked shots per game. The senior slasher has drained 49.7 percent of his FGAs and 42.2 percent of his treys.

-- If the line holds and leaves the Rebels as underdogs between now and tip, we’ll note that they’ve produced a 5-1 spread record with three outright wins in six such spots as ‘dogs.

-- Ole Miss is ranked No. 18 in the country in FG percentage (49.2%) and 29th in FT shooting accuracy (75.5%). The Rebels are averaging 79.4 PPG to rank 53rd nationally and they’re burying 37.1 percent of their launches from long distance (No. 62 nationally).

-- The ‘over’ is 12-4 overall for the Crimson Tide, but the ‘under’ has been a winner in each of its past two games. The ‘over’ has cashed at a 6-1 clip for ‘Bama in its home outings at Coleman Coliseum.

-- The ‘under’ is on a 6-1 run for the Rebels to improve to 10-7 overall. However, their road assignments have resulted on the ‘over’ going 3-1.

-- This rivalry has seen the ‘over’ go 11-5-1 in the past 17 head-to-head meetings. Ole Miss is 7-3-1 ATS in the last 11 encounters.

-- Ole Miss has won outright in six of the past nine meetings, winning 78-66 as a 2.5-point home favorite on Jan. 23 of last season. Davis had 15 points and nine rebounds for the Rebels, while Hall had 14 points and seven boards for the Tide. Ingram finished with 10 points, eight boards and five assists in the losing effort.

-- ESPNU will have the telecast at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets

-- In Joe Lunardi’s latest NCAA Tournament projections released Tuesday morning, the SEC has seven teams in the Tournament field. UT is the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region which would face the 8/9 winner of Nebraska-FSU if it advances. Kentucky is the East Region’s No. 2 seed vs. Bucknell with a potential second-round date vs. N.C. State in Jacksonville. LSU and Auburn are both five seeds who would face Hofstra and Saint Louis, respectively. Ole Miss and Mississippi State are No. 7 seeds with potential dates against Syracuse and St. John’s in the opening round. The Gators are slated to face Arizona State in the First Four in Dayton, with either 12-seed getting Purdue in the Round of 32. UF is 2-0 against Purdue in the Tournament with Round of 32 wins in the 1987 and 2007 NCAA Tournaments at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse and in New Orleans, respectively.

-- Florida junior forward Keith Stone tore his ACL in Saturday’s win at Georgia and will miss the rest of the season. As of early this morning, The Gators were 11 or 11.5-point home favorites for tonight’s SEC showdown vs. Texas A&M. Stone (6.1 PPG, 3.9 RPG) was struggling this year, but he did score eight points in nine minutes of action in the first half Saturday at UGA before going down with the injury.

-- Auburn (13-4 SU, 8-7 ATS) has struggled to a 1-2 record both SU and ATS in three true road contests. Bruce Pearl’s team in bounce-back mode tonight at South Carolina after dropping a heartbreaker at home to UK on Saturday. As of early this morning, the Gamecocks were eight-point home underdogs and the total was 155. Frank Martin’s team had its five-game winning streak snapped in Saturday’s 89-67 loss at LSU as a nine-point road underdog. The ‘over’ is 11-4 for the Gamecocks, 6-2 in their home outings. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Eastern on the SEC Network .

-- Rutgers won outright as an 8.5-point home underdog and hooked up its money-line supporters with a +350 payout in last night’s 76-69 win over Nebraska. The Scarlet Knights outscored the Cornhuskers 43-31 in the second half. Gamblers who backed Nebraska -4.5 for first-half bets were extremely fortunate winners as James Palmer Jr. hit a pull-up jumper from about 35 feet out at the buzzer to send his team into intermission with a 38-33 advantage.

-- After falling behind early at home vs. Virginia Tech last night, North Carolina roared back late in the first half and rolled to a 103-82 victory as a four-point home ‘chalk.’ The 185 combined points catapulted ‘over’ the 152.5-point total. UNC freshman Colby White dropped 27 points, seven rebounds, six assists, four steals and one blocked shot on the Hokies, draining 5-of-11 launches from 3-point territory. Nassir Little contributed 23 points, six boards and three assists.

-- Worst ATS teams in the country: Wyoming (3-14), UT-Martin (2-13), Kennesaw State (4-14), Eastern Washington (3-13), Delaware State (4-13), Iona (4-13), MTSU (4-13), Portland State (2-11-1) and Ohio (4-12).

-- BEST ATS teams in the nation: Ole Miss (15-2), Virginia (14-3), Hofstra (15-4), Michigan State (15-4), Drake (13-3-1), Oklahoma (13-3-2), Sam Houston State (12-3), Jackson State (13-4), Pitt (13-4-1), Stony Brook (13-4-1), Detroit Mercy (14-5) and Vermont (12-4-2).

-- Saint Mary’s has covered the number in four straight games to improve to 14-6 ATS overall and 10-2 in its home games. The Gaels play at BYU on Thursday night.

-- Florida State is mired in a 3-10-1 ATS slump in its past 14 games. The Seminoles have lost three games in a row to fall to an abysmal 1-4 in ACC action. They’ll try to bounce back tonight as six-point home favorites vs. Clemson. The total is 140 points. Leonard Hamilton’s club is 8-1 SU but just 3-6 ATS at home, while the Tigers are 1-2 both SU and ATS in three road assignments. Clemson snapped a three-game losing streak both SU and ATS with last Wednesday’s 72-60 win over Georgia Tech as a nine-point home favorite. This is a 7:00 p.m. Eastern tip on ESPNU.

Follow Brian Edwards' sports gambling opinions on Twitter at @vegasbedwards.

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