Last Saturday the SEC-Big 12 challenge took place and it was fantastic. Both the marquee games of the day delivered, and we even got a nice little opener from Florida to show West Virginia what for. While the conference on the whole only finished 3-7, they were a few possessions from 6-4. Now, once the challenge was over, the SEC had an opportunity to make its case for a solid number of tournament bids as the second half of the season unfolded, and what did the conference do? Well it went and made another big old mess that allows the #SECBASKETBALLFEVER meme to continue to exist. The only consistent thing we can count on at this point is that the bottom of the conference will stay bad, which I'm not sure is a good thing.
Anyway, now that that's out of the way, let's get to the Tiers, where Tier 5 continues to exist.
Tier 1 has lost a member and gained a member, welcome Florida, good bye South Carolina! All season long our voters have been slightly wary of South Carolina and after an uninspiring loss to Georgia, the Gamecocks moved on and Florida moved in.
At the top of Tier 1 remains Texas A&M and frankly at this point it's because someone has to have the top spot. A&M lost to a now healthy and flowing Vanderbilt team, Kentucky lost to Tennessee, and LSU after coming up just short of beating Oklahoma took care of business with Auburn. Really, no one distinguished themselves except for Florida who after beating a top 10 West Virginia team beat Arkansas at home. All in all Tier 1 had a very bad week and ensures that things remain fluid in the top of the rankings.
Tier 2 remains a small fraternity of two with Florida moving up to Tier 1 and South Carolina taking their spot along with a Vanderbilt team that's looking more like the team our voters assumed they would be at the start of the season. South Carolina as noted above beat Alabama in their non SEC-Big 12 Saturday game and then got beat on the road at Georgia. Of late South Carolina appears to have been exposed a bit, a great defensive team (as one would expect with a Frank Martin led bunch) and some suspect shooting and against the meat of their schedule that's starting to show. Vanderbilt on the other hand has started to show some real fight and cohesiveness after a big win last night against SEC top team Texas A&M that was a wild and all over the place game. Couple that with a nice win over Florida last Tuesday and an understandable loss at Texas, and our voters are starting to get a glimpse of the team Kevin Stallings thought he had at the start of the year.
Our third tier is still has a bit of a mushy middle feel to it, but the teams in it have started to pick up wins of late. Georgia got a nice win over South Carolina this week and didn't look awful in a loss on the road to Baylor, so there's that.
Meanwhile Arkansas and Ole Miss remain tied at 8th with both teams splitting the week, Ole Miss getting beat by Kansas State and then beating Mizzou on the road sans Sebastian Saiz, and Arkansas beating a good Texas Tech team and losing to a strong Florida group that plays very strong defense.
The big news in Tier 3 however was the shocker of Tennessee over Kentucky on Tuesday night. Raise your hand if you saw that coming? Kentucky, who went into Allen Fieldhouse, forced overtime and lost a close one got beat by the Vols. And the Vols had just come off a loss to TCU, who are not good. Rick Barnes and his Orange clad team continue to show up for the marquee names and disappoint against the lesser competition.
The state of Alabama takes up the entirety of Tier 4. Alabama managed an overtime win on the road against Mississippi State, and while State is not great, winning on the road is especially difficult in the SEC which has the highest home winning percentage of any conference in college basketball right now. Auburn for their part have lost four games in a row and that win over Kentucky looks just odd.
Finally Tier 5 inhabitants Mississippi State and Mizzou continue to play basketball, one better than the other. In fact while the rest of the college basketball world was enjoying Kentucky vs Kansas, these two fanbases watched as their teams faced off to see who was worse, the winner, State! State now has bragging rights over Mizzou who also lost to Ole Miss this week, leaving them 0 for the state in two years.
|Team||Points||Ranking||Ranking Last Week||Change||Highest Rank||Lowest Rank|
|South Carolina||59||5th (Tied)||3rd||Down 2||3rd||7th|
|Vanderbilt||59||5th (Tied)||6th||Up 1||2nd||6th|
|Ole Miss||36||8th (Tied)||9th||Down 1||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
It still seems weird to say this, but winning at Mississippi State is harder than it sounds. (Anchor of Gold)
Avery Johnson needs time to build, and unlike some of the other hires last spring, he's young enough to use it. (Dawg Sports)
They aren't good, but they can wipe their tears with another top ranked football class. Somehow they'll manage. (Good Bull Hunting)
No word on whether their petition to play all their games at home will be successful. (Anchor of Gold)
The hogs have a very friendly five game stretch coming up. They could easily surge into the top half of the conference. (Good Bull Hunting)
So I guess the Mike Anderson teams can't win on the road is back on the table? (Rock M Nation)
Would Pearl jump to the Memphis job if it opens up? Auburn fans better hope not...(Rock M Nation)
Ever seen a coach of a basketball team with no depth sitting his starters to prove a point? Ever wanted to know what happened to that guy you used to play intramurals with? Tune in to Auburn basketball this Saturday at 5:30/4:30 central. (College and Magnolia)
Those big wins against Kentucky and Bama have been surrounded by 7 losses. And Bruce Pearl has had two chances to overhaul his roster with his players and highly rated talent/transfers. (Dawg Sports)
Florida has been much more consistent of late. (Fox Sports Knoxville)
It's sort of scary what they look like when they're making shots. (Anchor of Gold)
The Gators look great. If they keep playing at this level, they'll walk into Rupp and grab a win. (Good Bull Hunting)
Yep, they still seem like they belong right in the middle of the SEC. (Anchor of Gold)
At 5-4 in conference, there is still time to get on the bubble, but there isn't much room left for this team to make mistakes. Maten, Frazier, Gaines, and Mann should be the core of an NCAA team but inconsistency and turnovers have plagued them all year. (Dawg Sports)
It's getting to be put up or shut up time for Georgia, luckily a trip to Rupp is on the agenda so, hey, opportunity's knocking Dawgs. (Rock M Nation)
Kentucky blew a 21-point lead and lost Tennessee but took Kansas to overtime, it makes no sense. (Fox Sports Knoxville)
Giving up 174 points in a week is generally a poor idea. The defense just... disappeared. (Good Bull Hunting)
Ugh, Kentucky, the way to beat Tennessee is to spot them a 20-point lead, not get a 20-point lead in the first half. (Anchor of Gold)
I do not understand. Why does not Ben Simmons, the largest and most athletic of the Tigers simply not eat the other four? (College and Magnolia)
Ben Simmons is the collegiate Lebron. But while his teammates are good, they don't have a Kyrie or K Love to give them a chance for rings. (Dawg Sports)
If you have Ben Simmons on your team and you're tied with the best team in the country, call me crazy, but the play you run to take the lead at the end of the game, might go through him. (Rock M Nation)
Mississippi State won the play-in game for 13th and was a missed free throw away from 11th. (College and Magnolia)
The unluckiest team in Division I, and Ken Pomeroy doesn't even account for having to live in Starkville. (Anchor of Gold)
Winners of the Battle for the Cellar. Or would that make them the losers, since they lost the bottom spot? (Dawg Sports)
Home court advantage seems to be a big element this year. When teams play at home, they win, when they play on the road, they lose. Except for Missouri, they just lose all the time. (Fox Sports Knoxville)
I have a feeling the entirety of the game prep for tomorrow's game with Alabama will be watching "My Cousin Vinny" on the flight down. (Rock M Nation)
Wait, weren't they supposed to be a basketball school? (Anchor of Gold)
Err. Single. Year. (Dawg Sports)
Hereby named 'king of the bad teams.' They get a crown and everything. (Good Bull Hunting)
Stop Stef Moody and the Rebels can be beat...someone figure that out. (Rock M Nation)
The end is nigh for South Carolina. (College and Magnolia)
They seem determined to prove the skeptics right. (Anchor of Gold)
They needed that Georgia game coming into this weekend's visit to A&M followed by home games against LSU and Kentucky. A 4 game losing streak would cause a lot of doubt about their early season success. (Dawg Sports)
Great win over UK... but why did y'all have to lose to TCU? The last thing we need is another Texas school getting all chippy with anti-SEC ammo. (Good Bull Hunting)
Lose to TCU and then beat Kentucky, those words would make sense if we were talking about football. (Rock M Nation)
Lose to TCU, then beat Kentucky? Yeah, that sounds about right. (Anchor of Gold)
Apparently nobody in the SEC can handle prosperity but there's no one to bump ahead of Texas A&M. (College and Magnolia)
Well, the early season cushion is gone. This squad can't play well on the road for whatever reason, so they'd better keep winning at home. (Good Bull Hunting)
Texas A&M got blown out by Vanderbilt but had an impressive win against Iowa State, so, I have no idea what to think there. (Fox Sports Knoxville)
The schedule sets up nicely for the Commodores to go on a hot run here at the right time of year. (Dawg Sports)
Struggle to score in three straight games... then play lights out against A&M? Makes sense. (Anchor of Gold)
Don't mess with Vandy in the evil, sideways gym. (College and Magnolia)
And that's the rankings! My hope is that this weekend leads to some solidifying at the top and we get some idea of who's going to be active in March, and not in the hiring department.
Enjoy the games!