Here are some things to watch in the Southeastern Conference this week:
GAME OF THE WEEKEND: No. 25 South Carolina at No. 8 Texas A&M: Two of the SEC’s three ranked teams square off in College Station, though both are coming off losses. South Carolina has an impressive overall record at 19-3, but all of the Gamecocks’ losses have come in the past seven games, including a 69-56 setback at Georgia on Tuesday. Texas A&M had an impressive 72-62 win over No. 14 Iowa State in the Big 12/SEC Challenge but followed that up by losing 77-60 at Vanderbilt on Thursday.
LOOKING AHEAD: No. 20 Kentucky is at risk of falling out of the Top 25. The Wildcats followed up their overtime loss at Kansas by blowing a 21-point lead in an 84-77 loss at Tennessee. Kentucky must do a better job of avoiding foul trouble. Alex Poythress and Tyler Ulis both fouled out against Tennessee. The Wildcats allowed 47 free-throw attempts against Kansas and 34 more against the Volunteers.
NUMBERS GAME: Alabama’s Retin Obasohan has scored at least 20 points in five straight games, including a 25-point effort Tuesday in an 82-80 overtime victory over Mississippi State. … LSU has an 8-1 record when Ben Simmons scores at least 21 points. The Tigers are 6-7 when Simmons is held below 21 points. … Tennessee’s upset of Kentucky on Tuesday marked the 18th time an unranked Tennessee team had beaten a ranked Kentucky team. … Kentucky’s Ulis has at least four assists in 15 straight games, the longest such streak by a Kentucky payer since Roger Harden did it in 17 straight games in 1985-86. … Georgia’s Charles Mann has a school-record 551 successful free-throw attempts. … Mississippi State has a 15-48 record in regular-season SEC games over the past four seasons.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Tennessee guard Kevin Punter Jr. poured in 27 points to spark the Volunteers’ come-from-behind victory over Kentucky. He has scored at least 24 points in four of his last five games, including a 36-point performance in a victory over South Carolina. Punter is averaging 23.1 points per game and is on pace for Tennessee’s highest single-season scoring average since Allan Houston had 23.7 points per game in 1990-91.
ON THE WOMEN’S SIDE: No. 2 South Carolina hosts top-ranked Connecticut in a nonconference showdown Monday night. The Gamecocks lost 87-62 to Connecticut last season. South Carolina’s Tiffany Mitchell bruised her lower back Thursday in a 78-68 win over No. 18 Kentucky, but Gamecocks coach Dawn Staley said Mitchell is expected to play against Connecticut. Mitchell was the 2014-15 SEC player of the year. … Tennessee is 23rd in the Top 25 for its lowest ranking since Nov. 12, 2012, in the opening weeks of Holly Warlick’s coaching tenure. Warlick earned her 100th career victory Thursday as the Lady Vols defeated Arkansas 75-57.