With just one week left in the regular season, there is finally a new top team in my power rankings. Of all the teams that got to play two games this week, everyone except for Arkansas and Florida went 1-1, which made placing teams even more difficult this week. Some of the teams that split their games did so by also looking like a totally different team in each one.
This last week could determine which teams head into Nashville with the best chance to make some noise, but outside of Arkansas and Alabama, I’m not sure who is going to be a safe pick. This year more than ever, the bracket and matchups in the SEC Tournament will make a big difference. Teams like Mississippi State, South Carolina, and Georgia have all looked both good or bad this year, depending on who they’re playing or when they’re playing.
All I know is the five days in Nashville are going to be crazy and will certainly make up for the missed tournament last season.
With all that said, enjoy my updated SEC basketball power rankings. As always, if you’d like to discuss them or have a disagreement, the best place to reach out is on Twitter. Thanks for reading.
My method for power rankings is whom I think will win a game between two teams on a neutral court if the game was played at the time of the rankings. For instance, I would pick the number one team to beat every team ranked below it on a neutral court and the fourth-ranked team would be favored over everyone other than the top three teams. I consider the entire season as a basis for how good I think the team is, but if a team is missing key players or is in a slump, that can weigh more in my current power rankings, even if a team is better overall for the season.
14. Texas A&M Aggies
Last Week: No games played
Texas A&M is supposed to be back to playing this week and even rescheduled one of their games at Arkansas on Saturday. I’m not really sure what the point of them playing will be, but it’ll be interesting to see how they look after taking an entire month away from competition
13. South Carolina Gamecocks
Last Week: Lost at Mississippi State 48-69, Won at Georgia 91-70
Not much summarizes South Carolina this season better than the Gamecocks going from scoring 48 points in a loss to putting up 91 in a win over Georgia, with both games coming on the road. If you were to take out South Carolina’s 21-point and 24-point wins over Georgia, the Gamecocks would be just 2-10 in SEC play and have an overall deficit of 101 points. And I still don’t know how they managed to take down Florida on the road as well.
South Carolina has games against Arkansas and Kentucky this week, but with 10 losses already, they’ll almost certainly be playing on Wednesday in the SEC Tournament, but whether they’re the 11th, 12th, or 13th seed is still yet to be determined.
12. Vanderbilt Commodores
Last Week: Lost vs Tennessee 58-70, Won vs Ole Miss 75-70
Just when Scotty Pippen Jr. and Dylan Disu were both starting to heat up, both had to miss both games for Vanderbilt this week. But somehow, the Commodores managed to keep the game close against Tennessee and then knocked off Ole Miss at home to almost certainly eliminate their chances of an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Unfortunately, Disu is out for the year, but if Scotty Pippen Jr. is able to come back this week or by the start of the SEC Tournament, I could see the Dores winning the opening game for the first time since 2017.
11. Tennessee Volunteers
Last Week: Won at Vanderbilt 70-58, Lost at Auburn 72-77
Tennessee came limping into this week in my eyes, but I thought they would be set up to get going again with two struggling teams, Vanderbilt and Auburn on the schedule. To make things look even more fortunate for Tennessee, both of Vanderbilt’s star players missed the game and Auburn played without Sharife Cooper. Instead of getting two easy wins, the Volunteers split the week and have now split their last six games, alternating wins and losses, and have lost six of their last 11.
The freshmen played well against Auburn, but this team just can’t seem to get on the same page for more than a week. Tennessee will still get an at-large bid based on their earlier success, but I don’t feel confident picking them to win multiple, if any, games in both the SEC Tournament and NCAA Tournament.
10. Auburn Tigers
Last Week: Lost vs Florida 57-74, Won vs Tennessee 77-72
Auburn looked exactly like one would expect against Florida while playing without Sharife Cooper again. Auburn was already starting to play poorly with Cooper, and having no direction on offense, in addition to their struggling defense, ended up being a disaster against the Gators, especially in the first half.
The Tigers didn’t totally give up against Florida, and actually used a good effort in the second half to build towards their game against Tennessee. Then on Saturday, all of Auburn’s starters stepped up for the Tigers to get their sixth-straight win over the Volunteers while Bruce Pearl continues to have the upper hand over his former employer and Rick Barnes.
With Auburn ineligible for the postseason, they’ll just hope to play spoiler this week at rival Alabama and maybe get one more win in the makeup game against Mississippi State to finalize their season and start looking towards next year.
9. Georgia Bulldogs
Last Week: Won vs LSU 91-78, Lost vs South Carolina 70-91
Georgia shocked me again and had a massive win against LSU on Tuesday including a triple-double from Sahvir Wheeler. It looked like the Bulldogs’ point guard was making a final push to end this season ahead of schedule and Georgia might be able to be a dangerous team in the SEC Tournament. All Georgia had to do was win a home game against South Carolina and I likely would have moved the Bulldogs up quite a bit in these rankings, especially with how other games went on Saturday.
Instead, Georgia almost stood no chance against the Gamecocks, for the second time this season, and Sahvir Wheeler also posted a team-low -4.7 AGS in the game and had just 7 points and 7 turnovers. With just a home game against Alabama next Saturday, it looks like the Bulldogs won’t be going into the SEC Tournament on a high note.
8. Ole Miss Rebels
Last Week: Won at Missouri 60-53, Lost at Vanderbilt 70-75
Even after the loss to Mississippi State last week, Ole Miss might have cracked the door back open on their chances at an at-large bid for the NCAA Tournament with an impressive win on the road against Missouri to complete the season sweep. However, if the door wasn’t completely closed after the loss to Mississippi State, the road loss to Vanderbilt, playing without their two best players, most likely dealt the final blow.
Ole Miss, like a lot of teams this week, really had the chance to have an impressive set of games by winning their first, tougher matchup, only to turn around and lose a game that they probably should have won. Maybe it’s the long season wearing on teams, but this week was particularly crazy and Ole Miss was just another example of that.
7. Mississippi State Bulldogs
Last Week: Won vs South Carolina 69-48, Lost vs Alabama 59-64
Mississippi State built on their win over rival Ole Miss with another large win over a supposedly struggling South Carolina team. The Bulldogs’ defense really played well against the Gamecocks and then even kept them in the game down to the end against Alabama who was trying to clinch the regular season SEC title. Ultimately, Mississippi State’s offense just couldn’t capitalize on any of the many opportunities late against Alabama and they had to watch the Crimson Tide celebrate the title in their gym.
6. Missouri Tigers
Last Week: Lost vs Ole Miss 53-60
Missouri let Ole Miss get the best of their offense once again this season and no one on the Tigers scored more than 12 points, with Kobe Brown actually leading the way at that mark. With just one game this week, Missouri didn’t get a chance to bounce back (or potentially fall even further), so they sit just inside the top half of my power rankings. The Tigers are still too experienced a team for me to give up on them, and they’ve mostly shown they look decent in all their games, so I think they’ll still be a tough team for anyone to face in the SEC and NCAA Tournaments.
5. Kentucky Wildcats
Last Week: Lost vs Florida 67-71
With three-straight wins and a game off before their home game against Florida on Saturday, a lot of Kentucky fans and others were starting to say this was a team that could run the table in the SEC Tournament. They still might be capable of that, but I wasn’t hopping on that train before this game and still don’t plan on it now with the Wildcats dropping another game where they had a lead in the second half.
Sure, Florida had a good week, but if Kentucky can’t get past the Gators in Rupp Arena, I’m not buying into this offense winning four games in a row in two weeks, which they’ll have to do to have any chance of making the NCAA Tournament.
4. LSU Tigers
Last Week: Lost at Georgia 78-91, Lost at Arkansas 75-83
LSU was the only team to go 0-2 this week, but the Tigers are still one of the most capable teams thanks to the best offense in the SEC. They caught Georgia on one of their hot nights, with Sahvir Wheeler having a historic performance, and then a bunch of fouls called early in the second half against Arkansas let the game get out of hand. Still, both losses came on the road and one was to my new top team, so LSU doesn’t fall very far this week.
With games against Vanderbilt and Missouri this week, LSU will need to win at least one of them, because there is still a chance the Tigers will not get one of the four double-byes in the SEC Tournament.
3. Florida Gators
Last Week: Won at Auburn 74-57, Won at Kentucky 71-67
Florida was the only other team along with Arkansas to win both games this week and both wins also came on the road. The road win over an Auburn team without Sharife Cooper isn’t very impressive, but it was a good sign that Florida beat them as bad as they should have and put the game out of reach before halftime.
The win at Kentucky was more impressive because it snapped a three-game winning streak for the Wildcats and prepares the Gators for their games against Missouri and Tennessee to wrap up the regular season this week. Tre Mann and Colin Castleton are now both in the top 10 of my SEC player rankings, and they give the Gators a nice inside-outside combo that could be the dynamic they need to make some noise in Nashville and Indiana over the next month.
2. Alabama Crimson Tide
Last Week: Lost at Arkansas 66-81, Won at Mississippi State 64-59
After seven straight weeks in the top spot of my power rankings, including with several different teams challenging them in the number two spot, Alabama has finally moved down one peg. Alabama again struggled on offense against Arkansas and the Razorbacks were able to make their way to the FT line a lot more than the Crimson Tide, which made what already looked to be a game Arkansas would have won an even bigger loss for Alabama.
The Crimson Tide were already starting to look like they were trending down from their peak, and they caught Arkansas as the hottest team in a surprisingly energetic Bud Walton Arena, despite the attendance restrictions. Alabama looked a little shaken in the second half of that one, and some of the ways players were handling the loss was concerning. However, it didn’t take long for Alabama to turn around and immediately have something better to celebrate when they clinched the SEC regular season title with a road win over Mississippi State.
Alabama’s offense can’t play that poorly against good teams like Arkansas and the others they will face in Nashville and Indiana next month if they want to win, but the Crimson Tide defense should be able to keep them in just about every game, and that’s why they fall to just this second-place spot.
1. Arkansas Razorbacks
Last Week: Won vs Alabama 81-66, Won vs LSU 83-75
Arkansas is seriously on an impressive run and it couldn’t come at a better time. The Razorbacks have now won nine-straight SEC games, and their last five wins have come against the next five teams in my power rankings, including teams ranked second, third, and fourth over the last three games.
Moses Moody is playing like an SEC freshman of the year or even player of the year candidate while Justin Smith continues to be a key piece now that he’s back in the lineup. Jalen Tate, Desi Sills, and JD Notae each offer another option that can step up in any given game, and then Jaylin Williams is becoming a good additional piece to play down low alongside Connor Vanover.
The Razorbacks no longer have a shot to win the SEC regular season title with Alabama’s win over Mississippi State, but the Razorbacks are sort of getting rewarded with just games against South Carolina and Texas A&M this week to wrap up the season. I believe Arkansas has already clinched a double-bye in the SEC Tournament, so the exact seed between two and four is the only thing left to be determined.