The Upset Special was apparently broadcast two nights ago in the SEC.
LSU, coming off a two-point, last-second loss to Tennessee and in the first game of interim coach Butch Pierre's tenure, blitzed Florida by 12 points. Then cellar-dweller Alabama rolled over Ole Miss, and Georgia, down to seven scholarship players, crushed South Carolina.
The Tigers' win was the most surprising, considering LSU (9-14, 2-7 SEC) came into the game with the league's worst record and the Gators (19-6, 6-4) were drawing raves for a midseason turnaround. LSU, which fired coach John Brady after the Tennessee game, got 22 points from Anthony Randolph, 20 from Marcus Thornton, and Florida never had a chance.
"If we can carry that over into our game with Kentucky ... hopefully we can be in for a dogfight, I guess," Pierre said.
Thornton overtook USC's Devan Downey as the SEC's scoring leader, although Downey put up 20 in the loss to the Bulldogs. The Gamecocks (11-12, 3-6), who were coming off a two-game winning streak before a last-second loss to No. 24 Vanderbilt, were stomped behind 27 points from Georgia's Sundiata Gaines.
"We were always there the next day, ready for the next practice," Georgia coach Dennis Felton said, describing his team's never-say-die mentality. "They hang together well, stay enthusiastic."
Mykal Riley pumped in 22 points as the Crimson Tide (14-11, 3-7) beat the Rebels (17-6, 3-6), who started the season hot but have suffered in league play. Ole Miss is in danger of missing an NCAA tournament bid if it doesn't improve, much the same way as last year's 21-13 overall record was dragged down by an 8-8 SEC slate.
• EARLY RETURNS: As the league heads into the home stretch, only No. 4 Tennessee (22-2, 9-1) and No. 24 Vanderbilt (21-4, 6-4) seem to have locked down NCAA tournament berths. Four other teams are on the bubble.
Despite the loss to LSU, Florida still looks good for a spot. Even after losing almost all of the talent that led to two straight national titles, coach Billy Donovan has gotten the most out of his club.
Arkansas (17-6, 6-3) is right behind, overcoming a sluggish start for some big wins lately. A big reason is the play of Patrick Beverley, last season's SEC Freshman of the Year, who's leading the team with 6.9 rebounds per game, despite his 6-foot-1 frame.
The Rebels are right behind but a losing SEC record isn't going to impress the tournament committee. Rival Mississippi State is on the opposite side, with a terrific SEC record (7-2, first place in the SEC West) but just 16-7 overall. A strong finish would probably cinch the Bulldogs getting in.
• SUPERIOR?: A look down the played conference schedule showed the SEC East holds a 15-6 record over the West this season. Strange?
"I think the last few years, the East has just been better," Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said. "I think it's been more of a top-to-bottom thing. But then again, there's been years where it's been the other way."
Stallings pointed out Florida's recent dominance of the league had a lot to do with recent history and in the past couple of years, the East has sent more teams to the NCAA tournament (7-4). But it was only three years ago the West sent three teams to the tournament, as opposed to two from the East, and that followed 2004, when four West teams made it and only Florida and Kentucky got in from the East.
• TAKE A DAY OFF: After Arkansas was nailed 93-71 by Tennessee on Wednesday, the Razorbacks learned some coincidental history. On Feb. 13, 2007, they were hammered 84-60 by Mississippi State.
Those were the worst two losses of the last two seasons, exactly one year apart.
• RECORD-BREAKER: The Volunteers' JaJuan Smith set a school record with six 3-pointers against the Razorbacks, acing all of his attempts. The previous record was 5-for-5, held by four other players, including teammate Chris Lofton.
Smith scored 32 points as the Vols turned on the jets, blasting past the Hogs' interior defense, led by preseason defensive player of the year Steven Hill. Then they turned it over to Smith, who couldn't miss.
"We got just enough offense tonight to keep things honest," coach Bruce Pearl told secsports.com.
• 3-POINTERS: Downey continues to lead the country with 3.26 steals per game, swiping three against Georgia. ... Georgia's Billy Humphrey is set to return from a three-game suspension after the Bulldogs' Saturday game hosting Tennessee. UGa is 1-1 without him. ... Mississippi State's Jarvis Varnado leads the league with 4.83 blocked shots per game. ... While Vandy's Shan Foster gets most of the TV and Internet hype, it's actually freshman teammate A.J. Ogilvy who's leading the team in rebounding (6.9). He's second to Foster in scoring (17.4 to 18.9).