- Associated Press - Friday, January 8, 2016

A few things to watch as the Southeastern Conference enters its second week of league play:

GAME OF THE WEEK: Vanderbilt at No. 22 South Carolina The Gamecocks (14-0, 1-0 SEC) put their perfect record on the line Saturday when they host a Vanderbilt team that certainly could use a victory. Vanderbilt (8-6, 0-2) began the season ranked 18th but hasn’t lived up to expectations and opened its conference schedule with losses to LSU and Arkansas. South Carolina has benefited from a balanced attack, as it has five different players averaging between 10.9 and 12.4 points per game.

LOOKING AHEAD: No. 9 Kentucky seeks to bounce back. The Wildcats were off to their usual fast start before losing to LSU 85-67 on Tuesday night. Kentucky still looks like a formidable team behind guard Jamal Murray, Tyler Ulis and Isaiah Briscoe. Kentucky is 9-0 at home and 2-1 at neutral sites, but it lost to UCLA and LSU in its only two true road games. Kentucky gets another road test Saturday at Alabama, which is off to a better-than-expected start under first-year coach Avery Johnson with nonconference wins over Clemson, Notre Dame and Wichita State.

PLAYER TO WATCH: LSU’s Ben Simmons has lived up to the hype of being the nation’s top recruit. Simmons is scoring more than 20 points and grabbing nearly 13 rebounds per game. Now everyone will see if the 6-foot-10 Simmons has the ability to push the Tigers to the NCAA Tournament after a handful of nonconference losses put a serious dent in their resume.

NUMBERS GAME: South Carolina’s 14-0 start is the second-best in school history. The Gamecocks started 17-0 in 1933-34. This also marks the Gamecocks’ longest winning streak since they reeled off 17 straight wins during the 1969-70 season. … LSU’s 85-67 victory over No. 9 Kentucky on Tuesday was its most lopsided win over the Wildcats since a 74-53 triumph on Feb. 2, 1992. … Tennessee is 8-0 at home and 0-6 away from Thompson-Boling Arena this season. The Volunteers host No. 21 Texas A&M; on Saturday. … Georgia’s Charles Mann has 748 career free-throw attempts to match Litterial Green for the most in school history.

ON THE WOMEN’S SIDE: The SEC has six teams ranked 20th or higher: No. 2 South Carolina, No. 7 Mississippi State, No. 10 Kentucky, No. 12 Tennessee, No. 13 Texas A&M; and No. 20 Missouri. Two of those teams lost Thursday to unranked opponents, with Tennessee falling 74-66 at home to Florida and Texas A&M; losing 67-61 at Arkansas. Florida coach Amanda Butler wasn’t at the Tennessee game due to a family emergency but is expected to rejoin her team Friday. The Gators next play Sunday at Ole Miss.


AP Sports Writers Steve Megargee in Knoxville, Tennessee, and David Brandt in Jackson, Mississippi, contributed to this story.

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