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SEC Basketball Power Rankings: 9th Edition

SEC Basketball Power Rankings: 9th Edition

Power Rankings

  1. No.11 Auburn: 21-2 (8-2) +2
  2. No.15 Kentucky: 18-5 (8-2) -1
  3. No.18 LSU: 17-6 (8-2) -1
  4. Mississippi State: 15-8 (6-4) +4
  5. Florida: 14-9 (6-4)
  6. Tennessee: 13-10 (5-5)
  7. Alabama: 13-10 (5-5)
  8. South Carolina: 14-9 (6-4) +2
  9. Arkansas: 16-7 (4-6) -5
  10. Texas A&M: 11-11 (5-5) +1
  11. Ole Miss: 12-11 (3-7) +1
  12. Missouri: 11-12 (3-7) +1
  13. Georgia: 12-11 (2-8) -4
  14. Vanderbilt: 9-14 (1-9)

Top Tier (1-3)

The top tier shrinks to three teams as we edge closer to March. Only one SEC team appeared as a 1-4 seed in Joe Lunardi’s bracketology entering the weekend. That was Auburn as a No.4 seed.

The Auburn Tigers climb back atop the SEC after a dominant two weeks and the only SEC team to go undefeated over that span. They needed several extra periods to do it – four to be exact. They had a big come from behind win in double overtime against Ole Miss to begin the four-game stretch.

A nine-point win against then No.13 Kentucky helped solidify their place atop the conference. But Saturday’s overtime thriller over then No.18 LSU left no doubt. It was a thriller that Bruce Pearl’s squad gutted out.

Outside of the loss to Auburn, it was smooth sailing for Kentucky. LSU dropped to the only winless team in the conference before the game against Auburn. The loss to Vanderbilt snapped Vanderbilt’s SEC record 26 straight conference losses.

Middle Tier (4-9)

SEC Basketball Power Rankings: 9th Edition
The Mississippi State Bulldogs are winners of six of their last eight. (Photo by forwhomthecowbellstoll.com).

While the top tier has shrunk the middle tier has exploded. The league is a five bid league at the moment so likely only two or three of these teams will find a spot in the big dance.

Mississippi State has erupted in conference play and separated themselves from the middle of the pack. Their wins against Florida and Tennessee have secured the fourth spot.

Florida, Tennessee and Alabama saw no movement after uneventful weeks. Florida split 2-2 but both Tennessee and Alabama went 1-3 over the last two weeks. Tennessee’s lone win was a close 1-point win over Alabama while the Crimson Tide barely beat Georgia in overtime. Both teams will need better showings if they want to stay on the NCAA bubble.

South Carolina continues their tear through the SEC schedule. The Gamecocks won three of their four games, the lone loss a setback to Ole Miss. They are now 6-2 in their last eight games and Frank Martin suddenly has the team eyeing that bubble.

Arkansas had about as bad a two weeks you can have. They won just one game against Alabama and dropped overtime losses to Auburn and Missouri. The worst news, however, is that potential first-round NBA draft pick Isaiah Joe has been sidelined indefinitely with a knee injury. Joe was absent in both overtime losses to Auburn and Missouri.

Bottom Tier (10-14)

SEC Basketball Power Rankings: 9th Edition
Vanderbilt’s win over LSU was their first SEC win since March 3, 2018. (Photo by atozsportsnashville.com).

The four-team race at the bottom of the conference now rests among Ole Miss, Missouri, Georgia and Vanderbilt. All four teams are playing for one thing and that’s to not have to play the first night of the SEC Tournament.

Ole Miss put together two nice upset wins against streaking South Carolina and Florida. They nearly pulled off a third in a double-overtime loss to Auburn. Missouri likewise had a 2-2 split with wins over Georgia and a hampered Arkansas team in overtime.

Georgia’s season continues to go from bad to worse. They are losers of six of their last seven and eight of their last ten. Vanderbilt was able to earn their first SEC win in nearly two years with a shocking upset over LSU The Tigers at that time were undefeated in conference play.

Outlook

With the injury to Isaiah Joe, the top three in the conference have separated themselves from the rest. Auburn, Kentucky and LSU are sure-ins for the tournament. The only question left is if they can get higher than a four seed. Auburn has the best shot at is at 21-2.

The bubble is massive at the moment. With their momentum, Mississippi State is finding themselves on the right side of it. Florida’s loss to Ole Miss really hurt their NCAA chances. Tennessee and Alabama have struggled of late and are seeing their bubble shrink.

Meanwhile, South Carolina has made a late charge. The Gamecocks sit at 14-9 with just one ranked opponent left on their schedule – LSU who will likely fall out.

Arkansas is still on the bubble for the tournament but it is shrinking fast. They’ve lost five of their last seven now and without the second-leading scorer, they’ll have a hard run to make the tournament.

 

 

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