SEC play started for most teams this week and it’s already been crazy. All five road teams won with a few key upsets in my opinion and impressive wins for the rest. As a result, my rankings have shifted around quite a bit compared to previous weeks but the fun is only just getting started. If you’re a fan of SEC basketball, I think we’re all in for another crazy year of unpredictable hoops.
1. Kentucky Wildcats
Last Week: L at Louisville (70-73), W at Ole Miss (99-76)
Kentucky suffered another loss, but this time it was to a rival on the road and just by three points. The Wildcats responded and started off SEC play with a complete demolition of Ole Miss in the Pavilion. To no surprise, Kentucky is still the best team in the SEC and I’m really convinced there is just one team that can even compete with them this season.
2. Florida Gators
Last Week: W vs Arkansas-Little Rock (94-71), W at Arkansas (81-72)
Florida played their first game in the new O-Dome with a big win over Arkansas-Little Rock and then traveled on the road to hand Arkansas their first home loss while getting SEC play started for both teams. Florida looks to have weathered their tough non-conference schedule and are ready to attempt to chase Kentucky as the second best team in the SEC.
3. South Carolina Gamecocks
Last Week: L vs Clemson (60-62), W vs Lander (90-62), L at Memphis (54-70)
South Carolina dropped two more games without Sindarius Thornwell but a two point loss to a good Clemson team and a road loss to Memphis aren’t the end of the world for the Gamecocks. The good news is that Thornwell should be returning for South Carolina’s SEC opener at Georgia. Assuming Thornwell jumps right back in, South Carolina should resume as a top team in the SEC, but a road test at Georgia could prove tough even with Thornwell back.
4. Georgia Bulldogs
Last Week: W at Georgia Tech (60-43), L at Oakland (79-86), W at Auburn (96-84)
I’ve admittedly been lower on Georgia this season because I have questions about their team after J.J. Frazier and Yante Maten. In a game against Oakland, those concerns were shown, but having watched Frazier and Maten take over against Auburn firsthand, these Bulldogs can certainly be a top team in the SEC if Maten and Frazier continue playing like first-team players at the same time. After starting 1-0 in the SEC with a good double-digit win at Auburn after trailing most of the game, Georgia now has an even bigger game as South Carolina comes to town.
5. Arkansas Razorbacks
Last Week: W vs North Dakota State (71-55), W vs Sam Houston State (90-56), L vs Florida (72-81)
Arkansas missed out on a big opportunity when they couldn’t manage to knock of Florida in Bud Walton Arena to start out SEC play. I still like the Razorbacks as one of the top teams in the SEC, but it won’t be easy with back to back road games against Tennessee and then Kentucky. Arkansas almost has to win at Tennessee because starting out 0-3 won’t be a good start to league play for the Razorbacks.
6. Texas A&M Aggies
Last Week: W vs St. Francis (81-58), L vs Tennessee (63-73)
Texas A&M started off SEC play with the early favorite for biggest upset in the league. Not only did the Aggies lose to a Tennessee team that previously couldn’t finish games against big teams, but they lost at home to add insult to injury. The Aggies still have one of the most talented teams in the leauge, but that talent will have to start showing up if Texas A&M is going to show me that they still are one of the best teams in the SEC.
7. Auburn Tigers
Last Week: W vs Oklahoma (74-70), W at UConn (70-67 OT), L vs Georgia (84-96)
What a week for the roller coaster Auburn Tigers. They had an good road trip picking up two wins over much bigger names on the basketball court but then followed it up with a decent game that they just couldn’t close against Georgia. Had Auburn continued to play like they did in the first 30 minutes against Georgia they could have walked away with a double-digit win of their own and likely the 4th spot in my power rankings. Things aren’t looking too bad for Auburn, but they’ll need to win their next three winnable games to remain with a shot at the top.
8. Tennessee Volunteers
Last Week: W at East Tennessee State (72-68), W at Texas A&M (73-63)
If you had told me after the Gonzaga game that Tennessee would beat Texas A&M on the road by more than they beat East Tennessee State on the road, I would have thought you were crazy. ETSU was a tough matchup and good win for Tennessee but following it up with a win at Texas A&M really puts the Volunteers off to a great start in SEC play. Now they get to host Arkansas before heading to Florida with one of the hardest starts to league play. If Tennessee can get through their next four games with two wins, I’ll be more than impressed.
9. Ole Miss Rebels
Last Week: W vs South Alabama (92-58), L vs Kentucky (76-99)
Ole Miss didn’t get off to a great start to league play with a blowout loss at home. However, I doubt the Rebels will be the last team to suffer a blowout loss to the Kentucky Wildcats. I’m not completely sold on the Rebels still but I think they have more promise than the bottom of the league.
10. LSU Tigers
Last Week: L at Wake Forest (76-110), L vs Vanderbilt (89-96)
Losing on the road to Wake Forest was expected, but it doesn’t look good for LSU to get their second blowout of the season. The Tigers followed it up with a home loss to a hot shooting Vanderbilt team. While the Tigers might have seen one of Vanderbilt’s best performances of the season, it still doesn’t look very good in my eyes to drop your first SEC game to another team at the bottom of the league.
11. Vanderbilt Commodores
Last Week: W vs USC Upstate (78-61), L vs Clemson (67-54)
I’m sure most people are going to complain about me putting Vanderbilt one spot lower than LSU right after the Commodores beat the Tigers on the road. However, while these power rankings aim to keep track of a team right now, it’s still crazy to ignore everything else that has happened this year. Vanderbilt had a good game against LSU, but even a road win over a lower SEC team isn’t enough to make me forget some of the terrible performances the Dores have had so far this year. Despite the bad non-conference play, Vandy is still a team that has potential to make some moves in SEC play and the win at LSU could be a good start for Bryce Drew and his guys.
12. Alabama Crimson Tide
Last Week: W vs Arkansas State (67-52), W vs Stetson (83-62)
Back to back wins are certainly a good thing for Alabama to give them some breathing room above a 0.500 record, but it’s still not great to head into SEC play with an offense that only scores 83 points on Stetson team that is one of the 50 worst teams in the country. Alabama gets SEC play started with a key game at Mississippi State. Mississippi State is ranked below Alabama in my eyes currently, but a road game against a similarly skilled team is always a tough way to start conference play.
13. Mississippi State Bulldogs
Last Week: W vs Morehead State (85-76), W vs UMKC (77-54)
Mississippi State continues to look better with Quinndary Weatherspoon on the court but they’ve got a good ways to go to convince me they belong anywhere other than the very bottom of my SEC power rankings. With Alabama coming to town and then traveling to LSU, Mississippi State has an opportunity to get off to a decent start in league play that could propel them to better things than previously expected.
14. Missouri Tigers
Last Week: L vs Illinois (66-75), L vs Lipscomb (76-81)
Well, Missouri didn’t lose by too much to Illinois on a neutral court but the Tigers followed it up with an ugly loss to Lipscomb. Yet another terrible loss for the worst team in the SEC and now they only thing that seems to be worth watching is how long it will take Missouri to be ranked in the 200’s of KenPom.
This week the rest of the SEC will begin their conference play and more key games will be taking place. Conference play finally gives us the opportunity to see these teams up against each other directly which should help in a more definitive power rankings. Here’s to a fun 2017 full of crazy SEC basketball.