It has truly been a wild week in the SEC. From the Florida Gators’ two barn-burners in the PK80 Tournament, to Alabama being forced to play Minnesota 5-on-3, there was plenty of action in the last 7 days. Below is the second edition of our SEC Power Rankings. Feel free to comment your thoughts and tweet me @JakeWinderman to tell me how awful they are.
- 1. Florida (+1)
- The Gators have had a phenomenal start to the season and currently look like the deepest team in the SEC. Florida has scored 100 points or more in four of their first five games and led the nation in scoring coming into the PK80 Tournament finals vs. Duke on Sunday night. Egor Koulechov and Jalen Hudson bring an added level of scoring that the team would’ve killed for last season. Until proven otherwise, Florida is currently the best team in the SEC.
- 2. Texas A&M (+1)
- Texas A&M, like the Gators, also jump Kentucky in this week’s power rankings. The Aggies demolished, at the time, No. 11 West Virginia by 20+ points to open the season and most recently took down the No. 10 USC Trojans, 75-59. TAMU’s frontcourt is the best in the SEC, featuring two studs in 2018 NBA Draft lottery pick Robert Williams III and Tyler Davis. If the backcourt play comes around, Texas A&M could easily be a No. 2 or No. 3 seed come NCAA Tournament time. The Aggies are ranked 14th in assists per game and t-18th in rebounds per game.
Shine brightest in the city of stars
— Texas A&M Basketball (@aggiembk) November 27, 2017
- 3. Kentucky (-2)
- It’s hard to dock the Wildcats that much because they really haven’t gotten to play anyone besides Kansas. Albeit, Kentucky lost that game to the Jayhawks on a neutral floor, 65-61. UK’s wins this season include victories over teams like Utah Valley, Troy, Indiana-Fort Wayne and Illinois-Chicago; none of those teams scream big dance. Kentucky’s offense is way behind where coach John Calipari would like it to be, as the Wildcats are averaging just 78.3 points per game. On a team with 8 freshman and and no seniors a learning curve is expected. It’ll be interesting to see how Kentucky gets through their growing pains.
- 4. Alabama (+/-)
- The Crimson Tide remain ranked at No. 4 in our power rankings. While the team’s best wins are over UT-Arlington and BYU, Alabama has shown flashes of why so many national media members were so high on them coming into the season. The Crimson Tide lost their most recent game vs. No. 14 Minnesota, 89-84, but were forced to play with only 3(!!!!) players late in the second half. Yes, you read that right. Alabama played 3-on-5 for nearly 12 minutes, and get this, OUTSCORED Minnesota 30-22 during the stretch. On top of that, Colin Sexton has been one of the most polished freshman in the country, averaging 25.2 points per game on 55.4% shooting. Alabama will have a chance to earn their first big non-conference win of the season when they take on Arizona on December 9.
Lol this might be the weirdest thing I’ve seen in basketball. Alabama only had 3 players available for the last 10 minutes of the game so they played 3v5 pic.twitter.com/4hZHZMpmPt
— BATTLES NBA™ (@BattlesNBA) November 26, 2017
- 5. Tennessee (+6)
- The Volunteers made the biggest jump in our power rankings this week. Remember, these are power rankings, not a prediction of how the SEC will finish come March. Tennessee took down No. 18 Purdue, 78-75, and then earned another solid non-conference win vs. NC State on Friday. Grant Williams more than likely won’t be able to keep up his current stat line of 15.6 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game, but he’s looked pretty damn good. UT will take on Mercer, Georgia Tech and Lipscomb in their next three games before a big match-up with No. 9 North Carolina on December 17.
- 6. Arkansas (+1)
- The Hogs are averaging over 90 points per game, but their defense has struggled as of late. Arkansas is gave up 79 points per game in the PK80 Tournament, allowing 87 points to UNC in a 19-point loss. Daryl Macon, Anton Beard and Jaylen Barford make up one of the most intriguing back courts in the SEC, but the front court play just simply hasn’t been there. Arkansas is averaging only 37 rebounds per game, which ranks 157th in the nation. The Razorbacks’ next big game is on December 9, when they take on the No. 14 Minnesota Golden Gophers who have no shortage of offense.
- 7. Georgia (1)
- The Bulldogs are coming off of an impressive 83-81 win over the No. 21 St. Mary’s Gaels. While their second and third biggest wins this season are against Cal State-Fullerton and Bryant, the victory vs. St. Mary’s was big enough to put them at No. 7 in the power rankings. SEC Co-Preseason Player of the Year Yante Maten is averaging 18.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game, while shooting 47.1% from the floor and 33.3% from long-range. UGA needs more offense than just Maten, who has scored 25.2% of the Bulldogs’ points this season. Georgia squares off against Marquette on December 2 in a big game for both teams.
— Georgia Basketball (@UGABasketball) November 27, 2017
- 8. Missouri (-3)
- There is not a fan/media member in college basketball who wasn’t upset by Michael Porter Jr.’s injury. The Tigers lost the No. 1 overall recruit of the Class of 2017 and their outright best player after only two minutes of play. Despite this, the injury does count against the Tigers in the power rankings. In order to supplement the loss of Porter Jr., multiple Mizzou players have had to step up in the wake of his absence. Kassius Robertson, Kevin Puryear, Jordan Barnett and Jontay Porter, Michael’s brother, are all averaging over 10 points per game for the Tigers. Missouri’s wins over Iowa State and St. John’s are nice, but they need to do more to prove that they can compete for an NCAA Tournament spot without Porter Jr.
- 9. Vanderbilt (-3)
- In college basketball we hear about quality losses all the time. The Commodores have two quality losses in a four-point loss to No. 10 USC and a 13-point defeat to No. 20 Seton Hall. While these games showed Vanderbilt’s upside, the ‘Dores need to actually win some of these games to prove their worth. Vandy is averaging an awful 67 points per game, which ranks 305th in the country, and are notching only 10.8 assists per contest, which ranks 318th in the nation. The Commodores will have three straight games vs. Kansas State, Middle Tennessee State and Arizona State to show that they’re better than they’ve been given credit for.
- 10. South Carolina (+3)
- The South Carolina Gamecocks just aren’t what they were a season ago. SCAR lost a four-point game to Illinois State and their best wins this season have come against UTEP, Western Michigan and Wofford. Frank Martin can certainly coach, and we’ve seen that as the Gamecocks have given up the 25th-fewest points per game this season. Unfortunately, South Carolina’s offense has only been average, scoring around 75 points per game. Unless Chris Silva and Maik Kotsar take big steps in a short amount of time, this team is destined for the NIT or CBI.
- 11. Mississippi State (-2)
- Yes, the Bulldogs are undefeated. They’ve also only played Alcorn State, FAMU, Green Bay, Stephen F. Austin and Jacksonville State. MSU is averaging 78 points per game but shooting a putrid 26.2% from beyond the arc and 70.8% at the free-throw line. On December 12, the Bulldogs take on the Cincinnati Bearcats. I would be shocked if Mississippi State stays within 15 points in that one.
- 12. Ole Miss (-2)
- We have officially reached the cellar of the SEC, Mississippi State included. Ole Miss is 4-1 but continues to struggle defensively. The Rebels are giving up 73.6 points per game and are averaging only 24.6 defensive rebounds per contest. On offense, Deandre Burnett and Terence Davis have scored 40.6% of the Rebels’ points this season. When teams shut down Burnett and Davis, they effectively shut down Ole Miss’ offense as a whole. Until proven otherwise, the Rebels will remain in the bottom half of the SEC.
- 13. Auburn (-1)
- The Tigers are averaging the 9th-most points in the country, but haven’t proved that they can do anything else. They lost by 14 points to Temple and their best win this season is a 19-point victory over Indiana State. If Bruce Pearl’s Tigers can’t get out of the bottom-5 of the SEC, he’ll remain on the hot seat.
- 14. LSU (+/-)
- I really just don’t have much to say about the LSU Tigers. They’re definitively the worst team in the SEC and will more than likely remain that way for the rest of the season. The Tigers have an average margin of loss of 24.5 points this season and simply have not looked good. Outside of Tremont Waters, who is averaging 20 points per game, the rest of the offense has been anemic. LSU is also only grabbing 32 rebounds per game, which ranks 323rd in the nation.
I'm confused by a world in which SEC basketball is legit in November. Or March. @dchangas
— Rush the Court (@rushthecourt) November 24, 2017