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SEC STARS OF THE WEEK– JANUARY 15

SEC Stars of the Week

As the SEC remains a very hard league to figure out from week to week, it's a lot simpler to identify the players who created turnarounds or affirmations for their respective teams. Here are the standouts from the past week:

GRANT WILLIAMS, TENNESSEE

The Volunteer Navy is sailing smoothly once again, and the man who calmed the waters in Knoxville is Williams, who went off for 37 points in a road comeback win at Vanderbilt in the earlier part of the week. Tennessee erased a 10-point deficit because Williams, with help from Admiral Schofield, scored at will against the Commodores. He bolsters this team's defense, which makes his offensive explosion that much more impressive. Tennessee is capable at every spot on the floor, but Williams and Schofield are both anchor-level players who will do something productive with the rock when the game is on the line.

DESEAN MURRAY AND BRYCE BROWN, AUBURN

On what is a quintessential Bruce Pearl team -- with depth, balance and bench production representing the core engine of the team more than any one player -- Murray and Brown took turns as the players who lifted Auburn when the team needed it most. Auburn started slowly against each of the Mississippi schools but rallied in the second half to win. Murray produced 30 points over the two games, while Brown loaded up this past Saturday at Mississippi State, scoring 15 second-half points in Starkville to sharply alter AU's fortunes and preserve the one unbeaten record in conference play. The names are different for Auburn every week, but they keep emerging on this list of notable performers. If this trend continues for another month and a half, what began as an uncertain quest for relevance will reach a top-four NCAA Tournament seed.

KEVIN KNOX, KENTUCKY

About time... and just in the nick of time, too.

Knox hit all five field goals in one game and over 50 percent in the other, as Kentucky avoided losses in two narrow scrapes against teams at the bottom of the league standings. Knox's improved shooting emerged precisely when the Wildcats lost Quade Green due to injury. Knox's contributions were vital in themselves, but were magnified in light of the support they gave to the rest of the roster when it lost an important cog for the time being.

SHAI GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER, KENTUCKY

Gilgeous-Alexander continues to score and facilitate for Kentucky. He handed out more dimes than any other UK player this past week (11), but he still looked for and delivered his own offense, shooting 13 of 21 from the field in the Wildcats' pair of wins. The range and depth of Gilgeous-Alexander's contributions to the Wildcats in a frail portion of their season cannot be overstated.

YANTE MATEN, GEORGIA, AND KASSIUS ROBERTSON, MISSOURI

These two players are mentioned in the same subheading despite representing different teams because they both need help from their teammates.. and didn't get it in difficult losses. Maten's Georgia mates dropped two games this week in a highly damaging turn of events for Mark Fox, whose UGA teams have never been able to withstand prosperity longer than a New York minute. Maten's 25 points went to waste this past weekend against South Carolina. Georgia scored just 57 points. Robertson's 26 points were almost half of Mizzou's offense in a 65-63 loss to Arkansas. Georgia (32 points) outscored Maten by only seven, and Mizzou (37) outscored Robertson by only 11 points. Imagine how different life would be for each team if other performers had been able to step up to even a modest extent.

DEANDRE BURNETT AND BRUCE STEVENS, OLE MISS

The Rebels continue to improve, and now they have a high-end win to validate their rise. A victory over Florida would not have been remotely possible without the joint efforts of Burnett, who shrugged off the flu earlier in the week to score 20 points, and Stevens, who poured in 22. The Rebels' offense flourished in the second half against the Gators precisely because they had two men operating at the peak of their powers, not merely one.

DAZON INGRAM, ALABAMA

Collin Sexton needs -- and needed -- help. Ingram provided it in a win at LSU, which is an improving team in its own right. The Crimson Tide have to continuously show they are more resourceful than their best player if they want to be taken seriously. Ingram moved the team and the needle in the right direction this past week.

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