Listen anyone who tells you SEC Basketball is boring or uninteresting, is either lying or has a ridiculously awesome life. Because the SEC is far from boring. From one game to the next you have no idea what you're going to see. This past week was a perfect example of that, with teams making moves both on and off the bubble. Teams solidified their spot in March while others chose instead to shoot themselves in the foot and look to be just waiting for this season to be other.
This weekend, the SEC gives us a number of games that should continue to clear up what has become a somewhat murky picture of where the conference stands with regard to its chances of having the most possible teams involved in discussions revolving around the NCAA tournament and not the NIT.
Tier 1 shrunk after the past week's games, losing Florida after two bad games and seeing the return of South Carolina who seems to have righted their ship after a bad loss to Mizzou.
Coming in first, same as last week are the Kentucky Wildcats, who split the week, losing on the road in dubious fashion to Texas A&M on a very bad call and then dominating previously surging Alabama. At this time of year, with more eyes than at any point during the season watching the games, the bad calls we've seen all year become magnified, and what happened in College Station Saturday night was one of the more egregious ones this season. For the most part our voters did not ding the Wildcats for this as they maintain the top spot.
In second, are the very Aggies that most benefited from a favorable call, righting their ship with three straight wins after suffering 5 straight loses. A&M seems to have figured something out in the past week getting by Kentucky on a home call and then holding off a very competent Mississippi State team at home. Outside of their home finale with Vanderbilt, A&M looks to be heading solidly into the NCAA tournament.
Finally, jumping back into the top tier are the Gamecocks of South Carolina. After dropping two games in a row to Kentucky (understandable) and Mizzou (less understandable) Frank Martin's Cocks have gotten two wins in a row, both at home over Florida and Tennessee. The latter a beating by 26 points that should silence any questions about their place in the NCAA tournament in a few weeks.
Tier 2 is where things get interesting. The three teams in this tier are all going in different directions, Vandy moving up and Florida and LSU experiencing a downslide at exactly the wrong time, though the way they are performing in these slides are not the same.
After suffering a seemingly season ending/coach killing heartbreaking loss at Mississippi State last Tuesday, Vandy has quietly taken care of business at home over Georgia and then getting a potentially season saving win at Florida, that featured this 80 foot shot before halftime. Damn! If Vandy is going to go out fighting for a spot in the NCAAs they've got a great chance with two of their final three games being at home to Kentucky tomorrow afternoon and then closing the season out next Saturday at Reed Arena in College Station. Win both and Vandy's disappointing season to date would be given a shot of life in a hurry, lose both and it's going to take a Nashville miracle on a floor at Bridgestone Arena that's not quite like the one at Memorial Gymnasium.
Also sitting in Tier 2 is Florida. The Gators, after achieving Tier 1 status just last week, have lost three of four games and two in a row. Florida fell on the road to South Carolina, and then came home on Tuesday and got beat by double digits by Vanderbilt. Couple that with the home loss to Alabama two weeks ago and Florida's season is on the brink. The Gators do have a chance in their next two games to get quality wins over LSU and Kentucky. LSU is reeling and Kentucky is at home, like Vandy, win both and they're right back in the NCAA tournament discussion.
Bringing up the back of Tier 2 are the Tigers of LSU whose season appears to be completely falling apart. The Tigers have lost three in a row, and the past two, while they have been on the road have not been against exactly challenging opponents. The beatings suffered at the hands of Tennessee and Arkansas have the look of a team that's given up. LSU still has a shot to get back to good with a home game against Florida tomorrow and a roadie to close the season in Rupp Arena, but the team that's been playing the past two weeks doesn't seem capable of getting those wins.
Tier three consists of teams that have had up and down seasons, getting wins against teams they are superior to, but not taking many losses that one could describe as embarrassing.
Leading Tier three rare the Rebels of Ole Miss. Ole Miss had a nice week beating two teams that they are better than, Auburn and Mizzou. The Rebels schedule continues to be something they can build some momentum with towards a possible NIT invitation. And with Stefan Moody, perhaps even a tournament shot if he goes off in Nashville.
After putting together a five game winning streak and getting the national media's attention, it appears that the Tide have come back to earth a little bit suffering a home loss to Mississippi State and then taking a beating at Kentucky, where most teams take a beating. The schedule going forward should allow Alabama to keep piling up wins, but the opportunity for anymore signature victories will have to wait until the SEC tournament.
Rounding out tier 3 we have the Razorbacks, who may have just killed LSU's season this past Tuesday. The Hogs have now won two in a row after suffering an odd loss at home to Auburn two weeks ago, beating Mizzou and LSU. At this point it seems that the story of Arkansas' season is written and the Hogs are looking to close out strong to springboard into 2016-2017.
Tier 4 welcomes Georgia, as the Bulldogs have now lost three in a row, the most recent being a road loss to Auburn, that again boggles the mind. Throw on top of that the obligatory loss at Vanderbilt and the Bulldogs appear to be circling the drain that is their season.
Staying firm and pat in 11th place where it feels they've been all season long are the Vols of Tennessee who had an interesting week, knocking LSU off at home and then getting dismantled on the road at South Carolina. It's been that kind of season for the Vols, who the hell knows what they're capable of?
Finishing up the 4th Tier are the Bulldogs of Mississippi State. State has looked decent all season long, no taking any terrible losses and what losses they do take have been by respectable margins. This week, State lost a heartbreaker at Texas A&M and beat Alabama on the road. The goal at this point should be to finish strong and then Ben Howland should do everything in his power to convince Malik Newman to hang around for one more year.
In Tier 5 we find the same two teams that have been here the past few weeks, the Tigers of Auburn and Mizzou. The Tigers on the plains are winners of two out of three games, beating Arkansas on the road of all places and at home over Georgia. Meanwhile Mizzou, after having won two straight have now dropped two straight road games at Arkansas and at Ole Miss. Both teams have had roster issues all season long and appear to be headed for a fight as to who won't finish last. Both schools have tough ends to their seasons, but their fans can see the light at the end of the tunnel...that light being no more basketball for a 7 months.
To the Rankings
|Team||Points||Ranking||Ranking Last Week||Change||Highest Rank||Lowest Rank|
|South Carolina||83||3rd||5th||Up 2||3rd||4th|
|Ole Miss||56||7th||9th||Up 2||6th||8th|
|Arkansas||42||9th||11th (Tied)||Up 2||8th||11th|
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
Alabama is your weekly reminder that bubbles are fragile things. They need to close strong. (College and Magnolia)
Hey, cool, Alabama has a chance at making the NCAaaaaaaaaand it's gone. It's all gone. (Good Bull Hunting)
They actually thought they were on a bubble, before losing at home to Miss St? It's ok to laugh at them now, since it's not football season yet. But an elephant never forgets. (Dawg Sports)
Yeah, LSU clearly doesn't give a crap any more so I'm not impressed you beat them. (Anchor of Gold)
If you give a Mike Anderson team the opportunity to dictate the game, you get what happened to LSU, do not F with Mike Anderson at home. (Rock M Nation)
Bud Walton is the toughest place to win in the SEC. The crowd, the pace... there's something about that building that brings this team to a higher level. (Good Bull Hunting)
Cut your best player, start winning. SEC Basketball doesn't like to make sense. (Dawg Sports)
After all the injuries and suspensions, Auburn is the Indians from Major League: I never heard of half of these guys, I think one of them might actually be dead, yet they are the inexplicable winner of 2 of their last 3. (College and Magnolia)
Listen Pearl, try and be a little original. Having a player get dismissed/say they quit is Mizzou's thing. (Rock M Nation)
Florida had been looking better but inexplicably lost at home to Vanderbilt. (Fox Sports Knoxville)
The season feels like it's slipping away from them right now. (Anchor of Gold)
That was a "loser leaves town" game against Vandy. The SEC Bubble team mountain was only big enough for one of you. (Good Bull Hunting)
Made a furious late rally to... come within three points of Auburn? Yeah, that's not so good. (Anchor of Gold)
Hi. My name is Tito, and I'm a masochist. I never learn, and let this awful program hurt me year after year after year. But just give me a few months, and I'll be sufficiently healed for my next beating. (Dawg Sports)
Hey, look over there, Kirby Smart is in a Twitter feud with Jim Harbaugh, don't even pay attention to this whole basketball situation...(Rock M Nation)
Kentucky has two tricky road games ahead this week that they have to win to claim yet another conference title. (College and Magnolia)
Kentucky still looks like they could win the SEC tournament or lose in their first game depending on what team shows up. (Fox Sports Knoxville)
I got to watch Tyler Ulis live this past Saturday, and it was just delightful. This kid is the best pure talent in the league, a surefire contributor in an NBA rotation, and my pick for SEC player of the year. I think Kentucky wins out and takes the regular season crown. Also, tell Humphries it's not his fault. It's not his fault. It's not his fault, man. It's not his fault. (Good Bull Hunting)
LSU has laid off all nonessential personnel due to budget cutbacks which means Ben Simmons is now literally the only member of the basketball program. At least that's how I imagine their three game skid. (College and Magnolia)
So what mental gymnastics will the Selection Committee use to include Ben Simmons in the tournament? (Anchor of Gold)
LSU has completely fallen off the map. They've phoned it in and are limping to NIT appearance. (Fox Sports Knoxville)
Miss State came within an eyelash of an actual winning streak when it lost close at Texas A&M. It sounds crazy but they may win out. (College and Magnolia)
WHERE HAS THIS TEAM BEEN THE LAST FEW YEARS? Thanks for making me look bad, jerks. (Dawg Sports)
Ben Howland's team is playing him right into a better job in the next year or so. (Rock M Nation)
Well, at least they've put out the dumpster fire over the last few weeks. (Anchor of Gold)
Ryan Rosburg's five game stretch of great play was like Will Ferrel's debate moment with James Carville in Old School, blacked out and came out of it and had no idea what happened. (Rock M Nation)
I feel like these guys are well positioned to play spoiler at home, which is not good because we are their next home opponent. Hey, Mizzou. Be cool. Nobody wants to watch Kentucky celebrate again. (Good Bull Hunting)
All but 2 of 10 years with a .500 conference record, give or take a game. And lookie here, an 8-7 record with 3 to play means it's happening again! (Dawg Sports)
Was wondering how they've won 6 of their last 9, then I noticed that four of those wins were against Auburn and Mizzou. (Anchor of Gold)
Don't worry Stefan Moody, Ben Simmons feels your pain. (Rock M Nation)
Honestly, I'm impressed. I thought that Mizzou loss was going to start a tailspin. They held on against Florida and dispatched Tennessee with ease. Nice response. (Good Bull Hunting)
Needs two more wins to tie the school's all-time wins record for a season, which tells you more about their history in basketball than anything else. (Anchor of Gold)
The loss to Mizzou looks more and more like a favor Frank Martin owed to Kim Anderson from back in the day some time. (Rock M Nation)
I think they have bigger concerns than a basketball game right now. Besides, they stink so why watch. (Dawg Sports)
Is at the point in the season where the coach is benching his starters and playing a walk-on 18 minutes just to make a point. (Anchor of Gold)
"meh," personified. Probably the least of anyone's concerns in Knoxville right now, and rightfully so. (Good Bull Hunting)
Texas A&M got two big wins over Kentucky and Mississippi State to pull out in front. (Fox Sports Knoxville)
Home games! Now we hit the road for two straight, where nothing bad ever happens. (Good Bull Hunting)
Well on their way to being your annual 12-over-5 upset victim. (Anchor of Gold)
Combine a win vs. Kentucky or @ A&M with the mid week hosting of Tennessee, and they can argue for a bubble. (Dawg Sports)
Has discovered in the last week that the game goes for 40 minutes, not 30. (Anchor of Gold)
Apparently Popcorn is also for Closers. (Rock M Nation)
And that will do it for this week's Power Rankings! Thanks for reading and be sure to catch as much SEC basketball this weekend as you can, or as much as you can stomach.