SEC College Basketball Power Rankings 2.0

Via Si.com

SEC College Basketball Power Rankings 2.0

Basketball

SEC College Basketball Power Rankings 2.0

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Via Si.com

We are now six weeks into league play and teams are beginning to find out who they are. The cream is rising to the top. Here are the power rankings as we head into the middle portion of conference play. 

 

  1. Ole Miss Rebels: 9-10 (1-6)

In the preseason, I had Ole Miss ranked at eight. I expected the Rebels to take a massive step forward in 2022 and that just hasn’t happened. Daeshun Ruffin has come back from his injury and has taken a big step backwards. Guys like Jaemyn Brakefield and Matthew Murrell have been good, but it isn’t enough to win games right now. Kermit Davis could be on his way out of Oxford if he can’t turn it around. 

 

  1. South Carolina Gamecocks: 8-11 (1-5)

There is an argument to be made for South Carolina to be at the bottom of the power rankings. They have been a disaster in Lamont Paris’ first season in Columbia. G.G. Jackson has lived up to the hype, and he will be a great player, but there isn’t much else there for the Gamecocks. I put them at 14 in the preseason rankings and, for the most part, it has played out that way. 

  1. LSU Tigers: 12-7 (1-6)

Before the season, I stated that LSU was a wildcard in the conference. They could figure it out and be a tournament team, or they could really struggle. After winning the conference opener against Arkansas, the Tigers have lost six in a row. They have talent, so it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that they make a run at the NCAA tournament, but it seems unlikely. They need to stop the bleeding first. 

  1. Mississippi State Bulldogs: 12-7 (1-6)

Things have really fallen apart for Mississippi State. They opened the season winning their first 11 games and since then, they have lost seven out of their last eight. They have talent, and they are competitive in most of their games. Tolu Smith has been one of the best big men in the SEC, but the offensive skill around him just isn’t there. There is only one player that plays more than 12 minutes a night that is shooting over 28% from three. They are an elite defensive team and that keeps them competitive, but they are significantly challenged offensively and there aren’t many signs of that changing. 

 

  1. Vanderbilt Commodores: 10-9 (3-3)

Vanderbilt just can’t seem to turn the corner under Jerry Stackhouse. They can seemingly compete with most of the teams in the conference, but fall just short on a consistent basis. They put together a masterful performance against a talented Arkansas team and have been good at home, but they follow it up with some tough losses. Center Liam Robbins is a great player, but it will be tough for Vanderbilt to win while he is on the bench due to injury. 

 

  1. Georgia Bulldogs: 13-6 (3-3)

Mike White has done a wonderful job in turning around the Georgia program. Nobody expected Georgia to compete in the SEC and yet, here we are. The Dawgs have a real chance to make the tournament. They lost a tough home game against Vanderbilt this weekend, but the schedule lines up for them to continue stacking wins. Terry Roberts and Kario Oquendo have been phenomenal and need to keep it up if they want to appear in the NCAA tournament. Coach White is building a sound foundation. 

 

  1. Arkansas Razorbacks: 13-6 (2-5)

What is going on at Arkansas? This team opened the season at third in my preseason power rankings and a lot of people believed that they could be a final weekend of the tournament-type team, and it has been a bit of a struggle so far. They are a young team, so I believe they will work out the kinks, but it needs to start now. They handled business against Ole Miss on Saturday, but they have a difficult schedule going forward. They have massive opportunities to build a resume as we head into March. I expect them to be much higher on this list next time we update these rankings.  

  1. Missouri Tigers: 14-5 (3-4)

I am conflicted with these next two teams. Starting with Missouri, they shocked some when they opened the season 12-1 with wins over Kentucky and Illinois. They have since lost four of their last six games. However, their schedule eases up here over the next couple of weeks with games against Ole Miss, LSU, Mississippi State, and South Carolina. That is a great chance to stack wins and gain momentum. I think they have a chance to sneak into the NCAA tournament, but I am not sure if they have the top-end talent to make as much noise as Mizzou fans would hope. 

 

  1. Florida Gators: 11-8 (4-3)

For me, Todd Golden’s Gators are the most difficult team to peg. Florida has had some really tough losses that may keep them out of the dance. They also have one of the toughest schedules in the nation over the next three weeks. Florida plays Kansas State, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Alabama, with the Tennessee game being the only one at home. If the Gators can survive this murderer’s row at 2-2 or even 3-1, their hats will be thrown right back into the ring. As of right now, I am just not sure what to make of them. 

 

  1. Texas A&M Aggies: 13-6 (5-1) 

Buzz Williams’ squad really struggled out of the gate en route to a 6-5 record. They went on a heater of seven wins in a row before hitting a buzz saw in Lexington, Kentucky this past Saturday. Texas A&M has found some of the secret sauce they had at the end of last season. I believe they are going to head into the NCAA tournament with a chance to make noise. They are a really tough team led by guards Wade Taylor IV and Tyrece Radford.  

 

  1. Kentucky Wildcats: 13-6 (4-3)

Has Kentucky finally turned the metaphorical corner? The Wildcats have won three in a row and have looked good in all three games. Coach John Calipari has found a consistently efficient lineup in C.J. Fredrick, Antonio Reeves, Cason Wallace, Jacob Toppin and Oscar Tshiebwe. Kentucky is elite when that group is on the floor, and they have a massive test this weekend when the Kansas Jayhawks come to Lexington. Should they pass said test, folks should be pulling out their preseason projections for this Kentucky team. Oh, and Oscar Tshiebwe is still playing at a Player of the Year level. 

  1. Auburn Tigers: 16-3 (6-1)

Auburn’s concerns over the last couple of seasons has been guard play. Wendell Green Jr. has gotten less efficient from last season to this season. His turnovers per game are up and his three-point shooting percentage, which was a measly 31.7% last year, has dropped to an even worse 28% percent. Teams that win in March are usually led by great guard play, and I am not convinced Wendell Green Jr. can be the point guard on a Final Four team. Auburn is quite good, but their ceiling could be limited. 

 

  1. Tennessee Volunteers: 16-3 (6-1)

Once again, the Volunteers are an elite defensive team. Per Kenpom, they are the best defensive team in the nation. The issues for Tennessee come on the offensive end. They have a Final Four ceiling, but their offensive inconsistency could be the reason they don’t make it to the second weekend. 

 

1.Alabama Crimson Tide: 17-2 (7-0)

The Crimson Tide are the best team in the nation right now. They are just rolling right through everyone on their schedule. Freshman forward Brandon Miller is an absolute superstar and has played himself into the top five picks in the NBA Draft. There isn’t much else to say about Nate Oats’ team. They are a juggernaut. 

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