A look at Southeastern Conference basketball during the first week of conference play:
GAME OF THE WEEKEND: No. 10 Florida at Arkansas. The Gators have been the SEC’s best team during non-conference play and easily beat South Carolina in their league opener on Wednesday. They should have a much tougher test against Arkansas, which is 11-3 under third-year coach Mike Anderson. The Razorbacks are scoring 87.2 points per game, which ranks 7th nationally, and are traditionally very difficult to beat in Bud Walton Arena.
LOOKING AHEAD: Georgia will try to show it’s for real. The Bulldogs pulled off a stunner on Wednesday by opening league play with a 70-64 overtime victory over No. 21 Missouri. Georgia was just 6-6 record during non-conference games, but ended the Tigers’ 26-game home winning streak. The Bulldogs’ next two SEC matchups are at home against Alabama and at Florida.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Florida F Casey Prather has made the transition from role player to star performer in his senior season. Prather, the only Gator to score in double figures in every game this season, is averaging a team-high 17 points per game and leads the SEC with his .624 shooting percentage. He entered this season with four career starts and a career scoring average of 3.1 points per game. Donovan said on Friday that Prather will miss Saturday’s game against Arkansas with a bruised knee, but an MRI revealed no structural damage.
STAT OF THE WEEK: Tennessee guard Jordan McRae, the reigning SEC player of the week, gets particularly hot whenever he faces LSU. In his last two games with the Tigers, McRae has shot 76 percent overall (19 of 25) and has made all nine of his 3-point attempts. McRae shot 6 of 7 overall and 3 of 3 from 3-point range Tuesday while scoring 19 points in a 68-50 victory at LSU. He scored 34 points and shot 13 of 18 overall and 6 of 6 from 3-point range in an 82-72 win over LSU last season.
ON THE WOMEN’S SIDE: By opening the conference schedule with losses to Vanderbilt, Tennessee and Missouri, No. 25 Georgia has started 0-3 in SEC play for the first time ever. ... Florida and No. 10 South Carolina are tied for first place in the league with 3-0 conference records. Texas A&M is 2-0 in league play. ... South Carolina had a school-record 14 blocked shots Thursday in a 68-59 triumph over No. 9 Kentucky.
AP Sports Writers Steve Megargee in Knoxville and David Brandt in Jackson, Miss., compiled this report.