Another entertaining week in the SEC led to a pretty big shift in the rankings. I’ve added “Team on the Rise,” “Team on the Decline,” and “Games of the Week” (which will list the five biggest SEC games of the upcoming week) features to this week’s edition of the rankings.
1. LSU (19-4, 7-1). Last Week: 1
The Tigers had a pretty uneventful week, comfortably defeating conference bottom-feeders Georgia and Alabama. But taking care of business in this year’s SEC is a cause for celebration.
2. Florida (19-4, 6-2). Last Week: 5
The Gators avenged their earlier loss to South Carolina in their only game of the week. They rise three spots mostly due to attrition, as SEC East rivals Tennessee and Kentucky fell on hard times.
3. South Carolina (17-5, 6-3). Last Week: 2
The Gamecocks competed against Florida, but couldn’t complete a season sweep of the Gators. Still, they find themselves nicely positioned for a run at an NCAA Tournament berth.
4. Mississippi St. (16-7, 6-2). Last Week: 7
The Bulldogs looked impressive in Rupp Arena last Tuesday. They have firmly established themselves as a contender for the conference crown.
5. Tennessee (14-8, 5-3). Last Week: 3
The Vols’ loss to Auburn Saturday was their first real “bad loss” of the season. Tennessee, who also struggled to beat Arkansas earlier in the week, is clearly still a very inconsistent team.
6. Mississippi (13-10, 4-5). Last Week: 6
The Rebels’ three-game winning streak was halted by Vanderbilt Saturday. But Ole Miss still has an outside shot at stealing an NCAA berth if they can get to 10 wins and get to the SEC Tournament finals.
7. Kentucky (16-7, 5-3). Last Week: 4
Kentucky has, without a doubt, been a better team than Mississippi over the course of the year, but they certainly aren’t playing like it right now. They looked helpless against Mississippi St.
8. Vanderbilt (15-8, 4-5). Last Week: 11
The Commodores’ victory over Mississippi Saturday was their best conference result of the year. The season’s not over yet in Nashville.
9. Auburn (14-9, 3-5). Last Week: 9
Ditto for the Tigers, who stunned Tennessee with a last-second layup on Saturday. Auburn showed they can score against the Vols—Now they need to start playing some defense.
10. Alabama (13-10, 3-6). Last Week: 8
Still no road wins for the Crimson Tide, who look to be in the middle of a lost season at this point. They kept it close at Vandy but were easily handled by LSU Sunday.
11. Arkansas (13-8, 1-7). Last Week: 10
Arkansas looked like the Razorbacks of non-conference play against Tennessee, but couldn’t quite pull out the victory. If they can somehow get to .500 or better in conference the wins over Oklahoma and Texas will become relevant again, but it’s hard to see that happening.
12. Georgia (9-14, 0-8). Last Week: 12
The Bulldogs are still searching for that elusive first SEC win. Tennessee and Florida are on the docket for this week, so it may take a while.
Team on the Rise: Vanderbilt
After starting out 1-5 against a very tough portion of their SEC schedule, the Commodores now find themselves back in the middle of the pack in the conference. They will have to beat some of the league’s top teams to establish themselves as a contender, but it no longer seems out of the question.
Honorable Mention: Mississippi St
Team on the Decline: Kentucky
It has now been more than two weeks since the Wildcats’ last victory, and their loss to Mississippi St. last Tuesday was particularly ugly. Given that Kentucky didn’t really beat anybody in non-conference play, they need to turn things around quickly if they are going to get the 10 or 11 SEC wins necessary to make the Big Dance.
Dishonorable Mention: Alabama
Games of the Week
1. LSU at Mississippi State: Wednesday, February 11, 8 PM.
2. Florida at Kentucky: Tuesday, February 10, 9 PM.
3. Mississippi at LSU: Saturday, February 14, 7 PM.
4. Vanderbilt at Tennessee: Saturday, February 14, 3 PM.
5. Kentucky at Arkansas: Saturday, February 14, 1 PM.