- Associated Press - Friday, February 7, 2014

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

GAME OF THE WEEKEND: Missouri at Mississippi. The Rebels (15-7, 6-3 SEC) have lost two of three and are still searching for a quality win to add to their resume. Beating Missouri would be a good start, but the Tigers might be even more desperate for a big win after starting 4-5 in conference play. It’s a matchup of high-scoring backcourts - Ole Miss has Jarvis Summers and Marshall Henderson while Missouri will counter with Jabari Brown, Jordan Clarkson and Earnest Ross.

LOOKING AHEAD: Vanderbilt’s postseason hopes seemed dead once its roster was limited to seven healthy scholarship players, yet the Commodores have managed to win four straight games. Vanderbilt (13-8, 5-4 SEC) has a chance to stay hot for a while. The Commodores host Arkansas (14-8, 3-6), visit South Carolina (8-14, 1-8) and host Texas A&M; (13-9, 4-5) in their next three games before the schedule gets tougher down the stretch.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Arkansas’ Bobby Portis set a school freshman single-game scoring record Wednesday with 35 points in a 65-58 victory over Alabama. Portis scored 17 straight Arkansas points during one 6 ½-minute span. The 6-foot-10 forward shot 14 of 17 and also blocked six shots. Portis has scored at least 15 points in four straight games and is averaging 21 points per game during that stretch.

KEY STAT: Auburn’s Chris Denson (19.8) and KT Harrell (19.5) have combined to score more than 53 percent of the Tigers’ points this season. … Missouri’s Jabari Brown is averaging 22.7 points per game in conference play, which leads the league. … Vanderbilt’s starters are playing heavy minutes in SEC play. Dai-Jon Parker has played 356 of 360 possible minutes through nine SEC games.

ON THE WOMEN’S SIDE: No. 6 South Carolina (21-2, 9-1 SEC) and No. 8 Tennessee (19-4, 8-2) may be starting to separate themselves from the rest of the conference. Both teams have won five straight games to move to the front of what had been a wide-open race for the league title. No. 19 Texas A&M; (17-6, 7-2), which was leading the conference earlier this season, fell out of first place by dropping two of its last three games. Tennessee and South Carolina won’t meet until March 2 at Knoxville in the regular-season finale for both teams.


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

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