No. 6 Alabama aims to clinch SEC against Mississippi State

NCAA

A look at the weekend action around the Southeastern Conference:

GAME OF THE WEEKEND

No. 6 Alabama visits Mississippi State on Saturday night still trying to lock up at least a share of the SEC regular season title. The Crimson Tide can clinch outright with a win or an Arkansas loss. It would the first league championship since 2002 for the Tide, which has a three-game lead over Arkansas in the win column. TheCrimson Tide won the first meeting 81-73 on Jan. 23. Herbert Jones had 17 points, seven assists, four steals and three blocked shots. D.J. Stewart Jr. led the Bulldogs with 27 points. Alabama could have clinched the league title outright Wednesday night, but lost 81-66 at No. 20 Arkansas. Starters Herbert Jones and Jaden Shackelford fouled out and John Petty Jr. was ejected after drawing a second technical with 1:01 left. Mississippi State is coming off a 69-48 win over South Carolina. The Bulldogs have limited opponents to 54.8 points and a 32.9% shooting percentage over their last four victories.

PLAYER TO WATCH

Georgia’s diminutive point guard Sahvir Wheeler. Wheeler recorded the first triple double in the program’s 116-season history during a 91-78 win over LSU. Wheeler had 14 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists. It was the first triple double in the SEC this season. The 5-foot-10 sophomore from Houston had been coming off a career-high 27-point game against Florida. Wheeler is leading the SEC in assists, averaging 7.2 per game. His 165 assists are four shy of matching Pertha Robinson’s school single-season record.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

Mississippi moved to 3-0 against Top 25 teams with a 60-53 win over No. 24 Missouri. It’s the first time the Rebels have beaten the same ranked opponent twice in a season since 1998-99. … The win over Alabama was the first at home for Arkansas in a matchup of Top 25 teams in 23 years. The Tide committed a season-high 32 fouls. The Razorbacks were 27 of 43 from the free throw line; Alabama was 3 of 8. … No. 25 Tennessee’s Victor Bailey Jr. has scored 68 points over the last three games, the best three-game scoring stretch of his career. … LSU shot just 26.7% from the floor (8 of 30) and 16 of 27 from the free throw line (59.3%) in a loss to Georgia. … Auburn’s offense floundered against Florida without injured point guard Sharife Cooper. The Tigers made just 18 of 51 shots (35.3%) and 7 of 31 3-pointers (22.6%) while committing 21 turnovers.

ON THE WOMEN’S SIDE

The SEC saved the best – and biggest – for last. No. 5 South Carolina visits No. 3 Texas A&M in the regular season finale between the league’s top women’s teams. The Aggies entered the week as the hottest team, riding an eight game win streak. They’re also 8-0 at home. South Carolina, which once stood atop the polls, is 7-2 on the road. The Gamecocks lead the series 7-3, having won the last seven meetings after losing the first three. The Gamecocks are led by guard Zia Cooke and Aliyah Boston. The Aggies are paced by Aaliyah Wilson and N’dea Jones. Both Jones and Boston are averaging double doubles as two of the league’s top rebounders.

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Poll: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll

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