As #TheDarkWinter continues for Mizzou fans, more and more SEC basketball teams are playing something that closely resembles basketball this season. For the last few years people have taken pot shots at the quality of basketball being played in the SEC but this season the league has started their comeback. And the most interesting part is that we can thank some non-traditional names on the basketball landscape. I think most people thought LSU and Arkansas were keys to bringing respectability back to the league, but I doubt anyone had Ole Miss or Texas A&M pegged as near locks for the NCAA tournament at this stage of the game.
And that's where we are. Some of the better traditional teams aren't living up to their billing this year, while other schools have taken advantage of the gap and stepped in. Sure nobody has beaten Kentucky to this point, but with Arkansas, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Georgia and LSU (and we even had to leave out Florida; who will be back before too long) all in contention for NCAA tourney spots the future is looking a lot better for the league than it has in years.
Listed is the rank, team and record, with their KenPom ranking and rating, their RPI ranking and score, and their BPI rank and score. Followed by me being quippy.
1. Kentucky 26-0 (12-0)
We'll see what they're really made up with a home game vs Auburn and a trip to Starkville coming up.
2. Arkansas 21-5 (10-3)
Things are rolling for the Hogs now but that UK game looms large, and don't overlook Texas A&M coming into Fayetteville.
3. Ole Miss 18-8 (9-4)
Tough hard fought win over a rival on their court, Ole Miss has solidified their spot in the top of the SEC.
4. Texas A&M 18-7 (9-4)
Upcoming game against Arkansas will tell us a lot about this team. They can be dangerous in the NCAAs if House and Jones are making shots.
5. LSU 18-8 (7-6)
They've lost to Kentucky, Texas A&M twice, Auburn, Mississippi State and Mizzou. Okay Mr. Hyde, that's enough.
6. Georgia 16-9 (7-6)
Ugly week after a huge win at A&M. They're in a danger zone right now with road games at Alabama (who also needs a win) and Ole Miss coming up.
7. Florida 13-13 (6-7)
If Florida ever figures out how to score they'd be pretty good. But they haven't score more than 62 points in a month.
8. Alabama 16-10 (6-7)
Three winnable games coming up on the schedule could GREATLY improve Anthony Grants job status, maybe to the chagrin of Tide Hoops fans everywhere, if they exist.
9. Tennessee 14-11 (6-7)
Tough 1-2 punch playing LSU and Kentucky back-to-back, and it doesn't get easier heading to Ole Miss to take on the hot Rebels.
10. South Carolina 13-12 (4-9)
A huge win at Georgia, maybe that is a turning point for SC to get off the mat a bit and get things back on the upward swing.
11. Mississippi State 12-14 (5-8)
Tough loss at home to the in-state rival, but I get the feeling that Rick Ray has this thing trending up for the first time in a long time. They fight, play hard, and stick together. I think he deserves another year.
12. Vanderbilt 14-12 (4-9)
They are in every game but the youth finds a way to bite them night after night.
13. Auburn 12-14 (4-9)
Who didn't beat Georgia last week?
14. Missouri 7-19 (1-12)
They're still playing hard, just not playing very well.
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KenPom, because it's awesome and the best:
I try to measure skills based on the opportunities for those skills to be observed. On the team level, this often means ratings the offense (and defense) on points scored (and allowed) per possession. That is the basis for the ratings system. If you're looking for info on what the columns mean on the ratings mean, please continue. If you don't like the ratings, wonder why I have your team too low, or wonder why the ratings don't look like the AP top 25, go here. (For information on preseason ratings, see this and this and this.)
RPI, the NCAA selection committee uses this:
The RPI (Rating Percentage Index) is a measure of strength of schedule and how a team does against that schedule. Created in 1981, the RPI is a tool used in selecting and seeding the 68 teams for the NCAA Men's basketball Division I tournament. RPI data includes games against Division I schools only.
BPI, Joe Lunardi uses this:
The Basketball Power Index (BPI) is a team rating system that accounts for the final score, pace of play, site, strength of opponent and absence of key players in every Division I men's game. BPI can be used to measure both how well a team has performed (going far beyond just wins and losses) and how powerful it is likely to be going forward.