- Associated Press - Friday, February 28, 2014

A look at five things to watch in the Southeastern Conference this week:

GAME OF THE WEEKEND: LSU’s resume for an NCAA tournament at-large selection stabilized a bit on Wednesday after beating Texas A&M, but the Tigers (17-10, 8-7 Southeastern Conference) have plenty of work left to do. A huge challenge is coming on Saturday when they travel to face No. 1 Florida (26-2, 15-0), which has won a school-record 20 consecutive games. LSU hasn’t been very good on the road this season, but Saturday’s 77-76 overtime loss to Kentucky was an encouraging sign the Tigers can at least remain competitive against the Gators.

LOOKING AHEAD: Florida, No. 17 Kentucky (21-7, 11-4) and Georgia (16-11, 10-5) have a pretty good hold on the top three spots in the SEC standings, but the race for that fourth double-bye in the conference tournament is up for grabs. Arkansas, Mississippi, LSU and Tennessee are all tied for fourth place with 8-7 conference records. Texas A&M, Vanderbilt and Missouri aren’t far behind at 7-8.

PLAYER TO WATCH: LSU freshman Jarell Martin is having some of his best games at the most important juncture of the season. The 6-foot-9 forward scored 20 points and grabbed seven rebounds during Wednesday’s 68-49 victory over Texas A&M and has scored at least 10 points in six of his past eight games. Martin and fellow freshman Jordan Mickey - who is averaging 13.4 points and 7.4 rebounds per game - have combined to form an impressive young frontcourt next to veteran Johnny O’Bryant.

KEY STATS: Florida is 13-2 in games with single-digit margins. The Gators were 0-6 in those types of games last season. … Mississippi’s Marshall Henderson set an SEC record Wednesday by making a 3-pointer in his 61st consecutive game. The mark was previously held by former Arkansas player Pat Bradley. Henderson has hit a 3-pointer in every game since joining Mississippi’s program last season and has hit at least two 3-pointers in all but one of those 61 games.

ON THE WOMEN’S SIDE: No. 4 South Carolina (26-2, 14-1) has clinched its first outright SEC championship. The Gamecocks have gone undefeated at home this season and will travel to No. 10 Tennessee on Sunday in the regular-season finale for both teams. South Carolina assistant coach Nikki McCray, who is battling breast cancer, played at Tennessee from 1991-95.


Compiled by AP Sports Writer Steve Megargee in Knoxville, Tenn., and David Brandt in Jackson, Miss.



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