Considering all the bad press the SEC gets about its basketball one could potentially understand why someone may choose to not watch the games and move on to baseball, softball, spring football or diving into that great American Novel they've been planning. But just when you think that the narrative could be true, the SEC goes out and goes all SEC on the nation by having a first week of fantastic basketball. Kentucky and Ole Miss was an instant classic, Arkansas and Georgia was quality from the get go and Florida and South Carolina put on a show that came down to the buzzer.
Sitting at the top of the rankings, stop me if you've heard this, the Kentucky Wildcats. They received every first place vote available and remain undefeated. HOWEVER, they certainly looked fallible against Ole Miss at home. And that's what sticks with most people I imagine, that this went down at home. A close game against an SEC opponent on the road mid week that you pull out at the end or in overtime with this young a team would not be unexpected, but the first conference game of the season at home, in front of a packed house, well that's a horse of a different color. What you make of this can really fall into two areas, either Kentucky is a young team that hadn't really been kicked in the nose yet and they'll be better for it, OR, the platoon system got exposed and maybe they're not better than the 76ers like everyone likes to say. For me, I'm thinking it's more the former than the latter.
Coming in at second we've got the Hogs who are the other ranked SEC team and just won on the road at Georgia. Arkansas won on the road people! This is the formula Mike Anderson uses once his team figures out his system, gets to the tournament and ruins some higher seeded's team day. It's coming! Coming in third we have the LSU Tigers, and following a loss to Mizzou on the road in their first game, I'm guessing they'd drop a spot but not much further. LSU has historically had problems on the road, but they're still big and can still out rebound you. In fourth you'e got the surprise team of the season, South Carolina who had a hiccup against the Gators to lose their first game, while still moving up in the rankings. The voters respect what Frank Martin is doing in his third year and the test on the 24th against Kentucky could tell us a little bit more about this team.
SEC BASKETBALL FEVER
Only 3 points separate spots 5th through 7th with Georgia, Florida and Alabama occupying the upper tier of the middle conference. Georgia was taken out at home by Arkansas in their first SEC game, and it's looking like this isn't going to be anything to be too upset about. Arkansas has got it going now, so no shame in that loss. Florida, on the other hand sitting at 6th is just plain confusing. The team that lost on the road to FSU (who lost to State) beat South Carolina on the road to win it's first SEC game of the season and acting as the most confusing team in the poll. One day they're up, the next they're down, black is white, wrong is right, cats and dogs living together...it's anarchy! Finally Alabama rounds out the top 7 after just beating the hell out of Texas A&M at home. I'm not sure if this says more about Alabama or A&M, but well, someone had to win that game and the method in which they did it maintained the Tide's place in the polls.
For the second straight week in a row we have a tie for the 8th spot, this time two different teams going about it in two different ways. Vanderbilt took out Auburn in their first SEC conference game at home, which is surprising to absolutely no one. Good teams can win at Vandy, decent teams can too, but young teams that have to play there are at a distinct disadvantage. But Vandy is just pecking along with wins over the teams they should be and not tripping up against lesser teams. On the other hand, Ole Miss, who looked dead in this poll last week got a big bump after their fantastic showing on the road against Kentucky. Like I said above, with that game in mind, was it Ole Miss playing above its head or was Kentucky having a letdown? I suppose we'll find out in the coming weeks, and that's the fun of conference season, no?
In the middle bottom of the poll we've got Tennessee and Texas A&M, though I'm betting by this time next week we're going to see A&M potentially flip flopping with Auburn or Mizzou and taking up one of the lower spots. Tennessee meanwhile was the lucky winner of this week's "Who gets to play Mississippi State" raffle and were granted a win at the Hump that could mean something or nothing at all.
Finally, the bottom three of the SEC remain in the same spot as last week. Our voters have solidified the bottom with Auburn, followed by Mizzou and Mississippi State. State sits at the consensus 14th team, even after taking care of business at home against Florida State who had just beat Florida a few days before, while Mizzou beat Lipscomb which is another team that plays in Nashville. In 12th you've got Auburn who lost their first SEC game, falling to another Nashville team, this one being SEC brother Vanderbilt and their court. Note these rankings were submitted prior to the Tigers of Mizzou's OT win over LSU. I'm guessing the bottom sees a bit of a shakeup next week, we'll just have to see how it plays out.
To the rankings!!!
|Team||Points||Ranking||Ranking Last Week||Change||Highest Rank||Lowest Rank|
|LSU||107||3rd||2nd (tied)||Down 1||2nd||7th|
|South Carolina||101||4th||6th||Up 2||2nd||8th|
|Vanderbilt||65||8th (tied)||10th||Up 2||4th||11th|
|Ole Miss||65||8th (tied)||11th||Up 3||7th||11th|
|Tennessee||62||10th||8th (tied)||Down 2||5th||11th|
|Texas A&M||44||11th||8th (tied)||Down 3||8th||12th|
Points were distributed 1st = 14, 2nd = 13, 3rd = 12, 4th = 11, 5th = 10, 6th = 9, 7th = 8, 8th = 7, 9th = 6, 10th = 5,
11th = 4, 12th = 3, 13th = 2, and 14th = 1
Just throttled a free-falling Texas A&M team to open SEC play. With no bad losses in the non-conference (though no really good wins), they can get to the tournament, but will need 11 wins to get there.(Garnet and Black Attack)
Blew out Texas A&M in the way that a team trying to separate itself from the middle of the NIT pack should. (Roll Bama Roll)
Have to feel like they had some kind of breakthrough, finally winning some big non-conference games after so many close losses last year. (Rocky Top Talk)
A solid thumping of A&M at home bumps them up ahead of a few teams from last week. Two road games and a game vs. Kentucky will reveal where they really are at this point. (Rock M Nation)
They had a good win at Georgia and with Portis surrounded by great perimeter pieces is a strong squad. (Dawg Sports)
Impressive win over Georgia on the road; This team looks ready to make an impact. (A Sea of Blue)
Nice comeback win on the road at Georgia, these are the types of games that matter to the committee come March. The Hogs have a relatively easy upcoming schedule, so they should be able to add to their winning streak. (For Whom the Cowbell Tolls)
They can score but won't win much. (Dawg Sports)
On a court that's legal, they win. (Rock M Nation)
Lost by double digits against Vanderbilt. The game against Mizzou could be a 14th place play in game! (For Whom the Cowbell Tolls)
Is Florida beating South Carolina a sign that the Gators are waking up? (College and Magnolia)
The win at South Carolina - and without Jon Horford, to boot - shows that this team always had the talent and potential to go on a run in the SEC. With Auburn and Mississippi State coming to Gainesville, they should be 3-0 this time next week. (Garnet and Black Attack)
They beat a good USC team on the road, but this team appears to be dysfunctional, and they just lost Horford. Poised to drop. (A Sea of Blue)
Working the RPI formula like a boss. Just playing Gonzaga is a great idea. (Rocky Top Talk)
A tight game against Arkansas makes me think this team can do damage. But an 0-4 SEC start is possible and would drop them low. (Dawg Sports)
Much like the Gamecocks, you need to beat teams around you at home, and that's a win they'll be trying to claw back all year long. (Garnet and Black Attack)
You see, SEC, this is why we can't have nice (basketball) things. Leave it to Ole Miss to go in and ALMOST burn down the best thing the SEC has going for it. (Rock M Nation)
Narrow escape from Ole Miss may show vulnerability; on the other hand, they could've just needed a tightener after a long layoff. (A Sea of Blue)
Didn't look great against Ole Miss, showing that this team can lose, but I still expect them to go undefeated in SEC play. (For Whom the Cowbell Tolls)
Not many teams have five players averaging 10 points and 30 minutes a night. (Rocky Top Talk)
Despite some early-season struggles, rounding into form nicely with a chance to cause some real damage, so long as they can overcome a startling lack of depth. (Garnet and Black Attack)
Stuck about here until they beat somebody. (A Sea of Blue)
I was very wrong. (Dawg Sports)
Gave up ten three pointers to Tennessee after upsetting Florida St. Congrats State you took one step forward and a million steps back! (For Whom the Cowbell Tolls)
Follow their first decent win in ages by looking positively awful at home vs a not very good Tennessee team. When does baseball start? (Rock M Nation)
You can't spell Columbia without CBI. (Arkansas Fight)
A needed win for the Tigers over the Tigers,but the real test will be whether these Tigers can beat those Tigers on Saturday on the road...(Rock M Nation)
I see lots of pain and agony in the future. Shout out for the double digit win over Lipscomb. (For Whom the Cowbell Tolls)
This team, I don't even know. How can you be so inconsistent and simultaneously lead the nation in free throw shooting? (Rocky Top Talk)
Had a chance to knock off Kentucky? That's nice. The Rebels upcoming schedule? Not so nice. With games against South carolina, LSU and Arkansas on deck there is a realistic chance Ole Miss could start SEC play 0-4. (For Whom the Cowbell Tolls)
As impressive an 0-1 record as you can accumulate. (Garnet and Black Attack)
If South Carolina wants to make the NCAA tournament they're going to have to win their homes games. The Gamecocks have a pretty tough road schedule and opportunities for a signature "name recognition" win will be rare from here on out. (For Whom the Cowbell Tolls)
A four-point loss to the Gators isn't any reason to punish a team too badly, but with all four of their losses coming by 10 points or less, the Gamecocks are getting dangerously close to a season where they will look back and regret missed opportunities. A huge chance for a big road win on Saturday in Oxford. (Garnet and Black Attack)
Great guards and horrible bigs. (Dawg Sports)
1-0 yet ranked so low? Only because the one was Miss State. If they look like the team that beat Butler against Arkansas and Alabama this week, I'll have to reevaluate. (College and Magnolia)
Vols give up fewer points from twos and more points from threes than any team in college basketball. More steals + less fouls = more wins. (Rocky Top Talk)
Hanging in there. Beat Alabama and I'll be slightly impressed. (A Sea of Blue)
It's hard to win games when you can't score. (Rock M Nation)
Texas A&M and Mississippi State are positioning themselves to have one of the most unwatchable games of the season when they play on January 13th. (Good Bull Hunting)
Great example of where much of the SEC is: lost their toughest games, but no bad losses on the back end.(Rocky Top Talk)
Still not confident in them. (Dawg Sports)
The Dores are young, but they're real. Damian Jones is a great center.(College and Magnolia)
Vandy is still searching for their first quality win, they'll have a chance to prove their mettle with a trip to Fayetteville. (Rock M Nation)
That'll do it for this week in SEC Power Rankings brought to you by "SEC Basketball, it gets played." If week 1 of SEC conference play is any indication of what we're going to see going forward I can say we're in for a fun and wild season. Strap in and let's let the SEC wash over us like a warm summer's rain.