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SEC Power Rankings Week 4

The SEC entered the post holiday break by doing SEC things, the SEC things that keeps teams out of tournaments.

Last week in this space I noted that our voters were a bit all over the place and to be honest with you, not much has changed in the past seven days. In year's past a team has stood out above the rest (see Kentucky or Florida) with a team or two on their heels and then a big mess in the middle before you went to the bottom and found something that could almost be described as a basketball team but not really.

But this season has started out differently, we see no team is infallible and no team is truly, truly awful. Hence the all over the place votes we've received for many teams. Clearly, this season should be fun without a perfect team, and hopefully not a team like Mizzou or State from 2014-2015, some parity that will even itself out and potentially lead to more entertaining basketball throughout the conference season.

Here's to hoping...and now, to Tiers!

Tier 1

Welcome to the top where no one in this spot is perfect, all having a wart or their schedule but not the directional college kind. Last night, Kentucky went to California, everyone got hurt and fell to a UCLA team that had previously lost to Monmouth. This is not your Kentucky of 2014-2015, clearly. But they've got almost a full week off to get healthy and see if this team is more the ones who beat Duke, or the ones that lost to UCLA.

Joining Kentucky again are the smart kids of the conference, Vanderbilt. Vandy hasn't played since their loss to Kansas in Maui, and will have a chance to get on the right side of winning as they face Baylor and Dayton in the week to come. They still appear the biggest challenger to Kentucky at this point, and bear watching over the next seven days.

Finally, rounding out Tier 1 are the Aggies of Texas A&M who like Vandy lost in a non conference tournament on an island of sorts to a big name blue blood program in Syracuse. Again, not a bad loss, and the Aggies will have the opportunity to right themselves in some upcoming games with former conference mates, Kansas State and Baylor over the next two weeks.

Tier 2

Last week, Tier 2 consisted entirely of Florida after having an excusable loss to a Purdue team that scores at will, and will be tested again in the coming weeks as they battle surprisingly good Miami and most likely new #1 team in the nation next week, Michigan State. We'll get to see if all that talent can do anything against the big boys.

And then there's South Carolina. The Gamecocks remain the only undefeated team in the SEC at this point, sitting at 7-0 and leading the conference, how the hell about that?! Last season in their first 12 games SC won 9 games with a victory over top 10 Iowa State, and then entered the SEC and quickly fell apart. That's the hesitation our voters are feeling right now, is this for real? The 'Cocks have yet to play anyone of consequence and realistically don't until conference season begins, so expect to see SC remain in the top half of the poll for the time being.

Tier 3

In Tier 3 we merely have confusion. Confusion as to what to do with the five teams that inhabit the middle. The distance in points between Auburn at 6th and Georgia at 10th is a mere 8. 
As noted Auburn leads Tier 3 tied with a surprising LSU team. Auburn sits on one loss at this time and have not really done anything to be ranked higher or lower, they're kind of just there. On the other hand, LSU has gone fully off the rails. Ben Simmons continues to be a joy to watch, but the man appears to be playing by himself. LSU has two losses that are...ok, Marquette and NC State, and one inexcusable loss to The College of Charleston. Something's not stirring the Kool Aid in Baton Rouge and if the Tigers want to do anything about it, they better figure themselves out in a hurry. The road remains seemingly pot hole free for now, but at this point, who's to say?

Also sitting in Tier 3 we've got Alabama and Ole Miss. Bama is riding a hot streak with big wins over Wichita State (admittedly a less than 100% one) and previously ranked Notre Dame. The Tide continue to be a nice surprise after rebounding from the humiliation in Ohio just two weeks ago. 
Ole Miss on the other hand is doing nothing more to hurt themselves, but the victories in single digits over less than stellar competition could be cause for concern.

Finally, in the bottom of Tier 3 we've got the Bulldogs of Georgia.  Georgia like LSU has some questionable losses on their schedule, with nary a good win to be found. The evaluation of the Dawgs is still out and we'll just have to wait and see what they do over the next couple weeks to determine who they are.

Tier 4

Ah Tier 4, formerly the bottom of the Power Rankings, but now, one step above newly minted Tier 5. So be happy for that denizens of Four. Here reside Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi State. All have a plethora of bad losses on their schedule, and outside of Mississippi State, who should be better than they are, just based on the players on the roster, this all feels about right.

Tier 5

Welcome to the new low! Tier 5, land of Mizzou. Now, I didn't want to create Tier 5, but when you're over 20 points from the top of Tier 4 and 18 from the bottom, you just don't belong in that neighborhood. Mizzou got off their losing streak but did so against Arkansas State, and almost gave that up as well, so really this feels right for now.

To the Rankings!

Team Points Ranking Ranking Last Week Change Highest Rank Lowest Rank
Kentucky 125 1st 1st None 1st 2nd
Vanderbilt 115 2nd 2nd None 1st 3rd
Texas A&M 111 3rd 3rd None 2nd 3rd
Florida 92 4th (Tied) 5th Up 1 4th 7th
South Carolina 92 4th (Tied) 7th Up 3 4th 7th
Auburn 62 6th (Tied) 10th Up 4 6th 11th
LSU 62 6th (Tied) 4th Down 2 5th 11th
Ole Miss 58 8th 8th None 6th 11th
Alabama 57 9th 13th Up 4 5th 13th
Georgia 54 10th 6th Down 4 6th 13th
Tennessee 36 11th 9th Down 2 8th 14th
Arkansas 34 12th 11th Down 1 7th 13th
Mississippi State 29 13th 12th Down 1 8th 14th
Mizzou 11 14th 14th None 13th 14th

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

Nice win over Notre Dame. Outside of UK's win over Duke, this may be the league's biggest win of the season. (For Whom the Cowbell Tolls)

Watching the Crimson Tide run an offense this year truly reveals how bad Anthony Grant was in that area of the game. Alabama's back-to-back wins over Wichita and Notre Dame is arguably the best two-game stretch of anyone in the SEC. (Roll Bama Roll)

Alabama has about as many signature nonconference wins (2) as the entire SEC did last season outside of Kentucky. (A Sea of Blue)

So, who called Mike Anderson going back to Arkansas as a disaster? Cause it hasn't been that, but it definitely hasn't been the successful return most thought it would be. Could a bad season put him in the firing line? (Dawg Sports)

It takes a special effort to blow a 17-point lead in six minutes. (Anchor of Gold)

The Hogs go on the road tonight, I wonder how that's going to turn out? Narratives are fun... (Rock M Nation)

Bruce Pearl's got that offense rolling right now. Kareem Canty, T.J. Dunans, and Tyler Harris have each played major roles in that effort. (Roll Bama Roll)

Auburn is going to run on you and shoot threes from anywhere on the court. They've struggled when they face teams that are able to slow them down and make them run a half court offense to generate points. (College and Magnolia)

They ain't played nobody, PAWWL! (Dawg Sports)

Huge week coming for the Gators. We're about to learn what they're made of. (Good Bull Hunting)

Looking good so far, but also not looking like they've fixed some of the issues from last year. (Anchor of Gold)

Not the best shooters in the SEC, so the D they're playing better be on point for the game against Miami. (Rock M Nation)

Georgia lost to Chattanooga early and almost lost to Oakland. Careful Coach Fox, the Dawgs just fired another guy named Mark for a lot less. (College and Magnolia)

This is a homer pick and likely undeserved. But it seems like the freshman bigs are growing up and the Guards are still strong. Plus it's kind of a cluster in the middle of the conference. (Dawg Sports)

The Dawgs haven't really looked very good all year, losing and winning ugly in a number of different ways. Still, Mark Fox is a good coach and this team has way too much talent in the backcourt to keep playing poorly. (Roll Bama Roll)

40 & Nope. Kentucky saves us from another season of hearing how they will go undefeated. UCLA outplayed Kentucky but the Wildcats remain the best team in the SEC. (For Whom the Cowbell Tolls)

That awkward moment when you lose to a team that lost to Monmouth. (Anchor of Gold)

Kentucky, it looks like you got some SECBasketballFever on you... (Rock M Nation)


LSU

At the other end of the spectrum, an LSU team with an impressive roster has nosedived with three straight losses. (Rocky Top Talk)

As I'm too young to remember the Larry Bird Indiana State Sycamores, I've always wanted to see what would happen if you dropped a once in a generation talent on an otherwise unremarkable team. LSU is answering that question nicely. (College and Magnolia)

LSU may have the SEC's second-best roster, but also has league's worst coach. (A Sea of Blue)

Malik Newman being like the sixth-best player on the team is not something I saw coming. (Anchor of Gold)

The Bulldogs have plenty of offensive weapons but the defense leaves much to be desired. (For Whom the Cowbell Tolls)

The Bulldogs took three ugly losses in a row early on, but they seem to be figuring things out against some cupcakes. (Roll Bama Roll)

Not last, because I do like you guys. You're all right. (Dawg Sports)

Everyone, EVERYONE, look at the shiny new football coach, a True Son like Kim Anderson...ah crap. (Rock M Nation)

The pieces are there, but they're still trying to figure it out. (Anchor of Gold)

I feel a little bad ranking Ole Miss so low given their record but they're playing bums and aren't exactly running them off the court. (College and Magnolia)

What? You thought Andy Kennedy would go three years in a row without playing in the NIT? (Roll Bama Roll)

Will they be just good enough to keep Andy Kennedy employed in Oxford, again? (Dawg Sports)

I watched them play the other night and it was the first time I've ever seen Frank Martin not angry. (Anchor of Gold)

The Gamecocks are undefeated, but who have they played? No, seriously, who have those guys played this season? Because they are nowhere to be found on the television. (Roll Bama Roll)

You're undefeated South Carolina? I don't believe you. (Rock M Nation)

While you're giving Butch a raise, maybe throw some money Rick's way, seems to be the way of the SEC, money for nothing and chicks for free. (Rock M Nation)

Seriously, guys? Two whole weeks off? (Anchor of Gold)

Back-to-back losses to George Washington and Nebraska is not a good look. (Roll Bama Roll)

Texas A&M was impressive last week. (Rocky Top Talk)

A&M is for real. With LSU falling off a cliff, Vandy is their only real competition for the #2 slot. (Good Bull Hunting)

Beat Gonzaga and Texas, lost to Syracuse. Either way, this looks like a solid team, and gives the SEC quality and quantity at the top of the conference. (Dawg Sports)

We know Vandy is good because they are mudstomping bad teams. We don't know how good they are because they lost a close game to the only known quality team they've played. (College and Magnolia)

I don't care who you were playing. Holding the other team to five made 2-pointers in a game is pretty damn special. (Anchor of Gold)

Efficient on offense. Stingy defense. There's a lot to like about Vanderbilt right now. (For Whom the Cowbell Tolls)

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And that will lock up week 4! Come back next week for more wild and wonderful SEC basketball action, where the teams are more fickle than Missouri weather.
Enjoy the games!