Tennessee v Alabama
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The SEC regular-season title can be decided Wednesday when No. 4 Tennessee goes on the road to face No. 17 South Carolina. The Volunteers have a one-game lead in the conference standings heading into the final days of the regular season and would clinch the program's first outright SEC title since 2008 with a win over the Gamecocks.

South Carolina put the college basketball world on notice during the first meeting between the SEC foes by going on the road and upsetting Tennessee 63-59 . Since that loss, Tennessee has won eight of its last nine games to put themselves in prime position to win the SEC and earn the No. 1 seed in next week's conference tournament. The Volunteers are currently slotted on the No. 1 line in CBS Sports' Bracketology by Jerry Palm and would likely maintain that spot by winning out.

Tennessee has only reached the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament twice since hiring Rick Barnes in 2015. The program has never been to the Final Four. If the Volunteers' recent play has been any indication of future success, this might be their best chance to do just that.

"Well, I've said many times that I think this league is the best it's ever been in the nine years that I've been in it," Barnes told reporters last weekend. "And I don't know if anybody has had a tougher closing schedule than we've had, where — it is what it is. That's the way it worked out, but we have another week to go against two ranked teams. ... But we're not done."

Welcome back to college basketball stock watch, where all the happenings around the sport will be discussed every Wednesday throughout the rest of the season. This report will represent if a team, coach, player, school, conference, etc. has seen their stock rise or fall over the course of the last seven days.

Stock rising: Tennessee has eyes on SEC title, No. 1 seed in NCAA Tournament

Tennessee guard Dalton Knecht had one of his worst scoring outings of the season during an 81-74 win over Alabama. The Crimson Tide limited Knecht to 13 points - his lowest scoring output since dropping eight points in the SEC opener against Ole Miss. Knecht had scored at least 20 points in five of his last seven games.

It didn't matter. Veteran guard Zakai Zeigler scored 18 points, Josiah-Jordan James recorded a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds and Jonas Aidoo scored 12 points in 23 minutes. Seven Tennessee players scored at least eight points.

Knecht's ascension to star status is one of the many reasons why Tennessee is receiving Final Four buzz. His supporting cast stepping up around him like they did last weekend is another reason why.

Three of the four No. 1 seeds for the upcoming NCAA Tournament appear to be a formality. UConn, Purdue, and Houston are all expected to maintain those spots in whatever order the committee chooses, which means the fourth No. 1 seed is up for grabs. If Tennessee wins the SEC regular season and tournament title, it will have as good of a case as anyone.

Stock falling: Alabama's defense could be an issue in March

What No. 16 Alabama is doing right now on both sides of the ball is almost historic.

The Crimson Tide have the top-scoring offense in the country (90.8 ppg), which ranks just ahead of Arizona and Kentucky for the No. 1 spot. Alabama also has the No. 338 scoring defense (80.1) in Division l basketball, which ranks second-to-last among all Power Six teams. Only DePaul (No. 350, 82.4 PPG) is worse.

Alabama allowed 117 points to Kentucky on Feb. 24 and 105 in its most recent outing against Florida on Tuesday. The Crimson Tide can (literally) score with any team in the country, but there are question marks around the defense that could carry over to March and lead to an early exit in the NCAA Tournament.

Alabama did show (some) signs of defensive improvement against Tennessee. They limited Knecht to one of his lowest-scoring outings of the season and held Tennessee to right around its season average in points. If the Crimson Tide's defense plays at an average level, the offense is good enough to carry them.

Stock rising: Bubble teams help chances at Big Dance

In 11 days, we will finally have a bracket. These are some of the teams on the bubble that have improved their stock the most during the last week or so. 

  • Colorado: The Buffaloes are firmly in the mix after knocking off Cal and Stanford last weekend. The biggest game remaining on the schedule is a Pac-12 clash with Oregon on the road later this week. If Colorado can add another Quad 1 win to its résumé, it would do wonders for its at-large hopes.
  • Iowa: The Hawkeyes won't go away. Iowa has won four of its last five games — which includes wins over Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Northwestern —to put themselves in position to be an at-large bid stealer down the stretch. The Hawkeyes close the season against Illinois at home this weekend.
  • Pitt: The Panthers made a statement on Tuesday with an 88-73 win over Florida State. Pitt has won eight of its last 10 games and could make things interesting by winning a few games at the ACC Tournament.
  • UNLV: The Rebels aren't on Palm's Bubble Watch yet, but don't count them out. The Mountain West has been the most exciting mid-major league to follow this season. There is a real chance that the conference will get six teams in the tournament. UNLV has a chance to play spoiler in the conference tournament next week and possibly become one of those teams. The Rebels are coming off a big 62-58 win over San Diego State on Tuesday. What's holding UNLV back from possibly being an at-large team is three Quad 4 losses.

Stock falling: Kolek's injury is a major blow for Marquette 

No. 8 Marquette announced last week that Tyler Kolek would miss the remainder of the regular season because of an oblique injury. The star point guard suffered the injury against Providence and did not return to the game after exiting in the second half. Kolek also missed last weekend's showdown against Creighton.

The loss to Creighton and the subsequent win by UConn over Seton Hall eliminated Marquette from Big East regular-season title contention. Marquette coach Shaka Smart said this week that there's a "distinct possibility" that he would be back for the Big East Tournament next weekend.

Marquette is already without guard Sean Jones, who suffered a season-ending torn ACL injury in January. The bottom line is Marquette needs Kolek at 100% to make a run in the NCAA Tournament, so holding him out for the remainder of the season appears to be the right decision, even if it hurts its chances of winning the Big East tournament title.

Stock rising: USC's Isaiah Collier made right decision

USC freshman Isaiah Collier suffered a hand injury in mid-January that projected to sideline him for 4-6 weeks. He returned less than five weeks later.

With USC's chances of reaching the NCAA Tournament at slim to none, Collier could've easily elected to sit out for the remainder of the season and start preparing for the NBA Draft. The former No. 2 overall player in the 2023 recruiting cycle by 247Sports decided to return. He's improved his draft stock tremendously because of it.

Since returning on Feb. 7, Collier has been on a tear, scoring in double figures in all seven games and recording 20 or more points in four. The former blue-chip recruit dropped 24 points in a close loss to Washington State days before scoring 31 against Washington. He recently earned CBS Sports Freshman of the Week for the second time this season.

Collier was once considered one of the top contenders to become the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. While his NBA Draft stock has dropped since the season began, Collier is still projected as an early-mid lottery if he declares. Coming back helped those chances of becoming an early pick.

Stock falling: Ole Miss' bubble is popped

In Palm's Bracketology projections, Ole Miss is no longer on Bubble Watch. The Rebels would (likely) have to win the SEC Tournament to secure a bid to the NCAA Tournament despite having a 20-10 record.

At one point, Ole Miss was one of the final three Division l teams (James Madison and Houston) that hadn't lost a game. The Rebels had a perfect 13-0 record before losing their first game of the season in blowout fashion to Tennessee. Ole Miss sits in 10th place in the SEC standings with a 7-10 record. The latest showing of Year 1 of the Chris Beard era was a 69-66 loss to Georgia. 

Ole Miss closes out the regular season against Texas A&M at home this weekend. The Rebels are 5-10 against Quad 1 and 2 opponents. It could take a historic run at the SEC Tournament to get back into NCAA Tournament contention.