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SEC Basketball: Midseason Report Card for Every Team

Bobby ReaganFeatured ColumnistFebruary 6, 2013

SEC Basketball: Midseason Report Card for Every Team

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    The 2012-13 SEC basketball season seemed to be an extended NCAA Tournament practice for Florida until a recent upset by Arkansas. 

    There have been numerous storylines so far in conference play, whether it's Marshall Henderson, Florida's dominance or Elston Turner scoring 40 points at Rupp Arena...and we just flipped the calendar to February. 

    Going into Week 14, only Florida and Missouri are ranked in the AP Top 25. It is possible Ole Miss and Kentucky can jump into the Top 25 as both teams are currently receiving votes.

    Let's take a look at a SEC midseason report cart for every team. 

South Carolina Gamecocks

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    Overall Record: 2-7

    SEC Record: 12-10

    Current RPI: 200

    Quality Wins: Arkansas

    Bad Losses: Mississippi State

    It's been a tough go for South Carolina in Frank Martin's first season as head coach in Columbia. Its offense has been sputtering all season, including a 36-point output against Florida in January.

    Even with two-sport star Bruce Ellington joining the team after the Gamecocks got off to a 5-1 start, the offense continued to go nowhere as they scored over 80 points only twice since his return.

    Despite the conference being down this year, there's a shot South Carolina has a chance to win only two, LSU and Mississippi State, of its remaining games. 

    Midseason Grade: D-

Mississippi State Bulldogs

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    Overall Record: 7-13

    SEC Record: 2-6

    Current RPI: 235

    Quality Wins: at Georgia

    Bad Losses: Troy, Loyola (Ill.), Alabama A&M

    To be very blunt, this is not a good basketball team. After struggling—and that might be putting it lightly—in Maui the outlook was not bright for the Bulldogs this year.

    However, they were able to put together a three-game winning streak in January with wins over New Orleans, South Carolina and Georgia. The win against South Carolina could be looked at as a quality win as it has helped keep Mississippi State out of last place in the SEC this year.

    The Bulldogs are currently on a six-game losing streak. 

    Midseason Grade: D-

Auburn Tigers

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    Overall Record: 8-13

    SEC Record: 2-6

    Current RPI: 218

    Quality Wins: Florida State, College of Charleston

    Bad Losses: Rhode Island, Winthrop

    While Auburn basketball is usually a holdover for students until football season starts, this season has been one of up and downs for the Tigers. They have two different three-game winning streaks, but also a four-game losing streak and most recently a current six-game losing streak.

    Auburn's season outlook could be much different, but losses by one, six and four to Boston College, Rhode Island and Depaul respectively has put a damper on its season. However, bouncing back to defeat Florida State by six has been a highlight this year. 

    Midseason Grade: D

Vanderbilt Commodores

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    Overall Record: 8-12

    SEC Record: 2-6

    Current RPI: 154

    Quality Wins: at Xavier

    Bad Losses: Marist, Middle Tennessee State

    After winning last year's SEC Tournament it has been a fall from grace for Vanderbilt. In fact, it has fallen so far that the Commodores lost to Marist at home. While scoring 33 points. 

    Just let that sink in.  

    The win at Xavier is nice, but it is hard to look past scoring 33 points on your home court against a team like Marist. Vanderbilt should improve next season as this was a rebounding year due to Jeff Jenkins from leaving early.

    Midseason Grade: D

Tennessee Volunteers

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    Overall Record: 11-9

    SEC Record: 3-5

    Current RPI: 84

    Quality Wins: Wichita State, Xavier, Alabama

    Bad Losses: at Georgetown

    The loss at Georgetown was not a bad loss because the Hoyas are a bad team. It was a bad loss because the score was 37-36. 

    If you watched the game, you would know it's a miracle both teams scored that many points. In fact, it may have set the game back 50 years.

    After going on a four-game winning streak that saw a win against then-No. 23 Wichita State, the Volunteers dropped their next four. 

    Midseason Grade: C-

LSU Tigers

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    Overall Record: 12-7

    SEC Record: 3-5

    Current RPI: 115

    Quality Wins: Missouri

    Bad Losses: at Auburn, at Boise State

    Starting the season off 6-0 gave the Tigers' fans something to get excited about. However, wins against the likes of McNeese State and Northwestern State don't prepare you for play in the SEC, no matter how down the conference is.

    That showed when LSU dropped its first six games, but a win recently over then No. 17 Missouri has shown LSU can compete in the conference. 

    Midseason Grade: C-

Texas A&M Aggies

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    Overall Record: 13-8

    SEC Record: 3-5

    Current RPI: 78

    Quality Wins: at Kentucky

    Bad Losses: Southern University

    It's been an erratic year for the Aggies in their first year in the SEC. After winning at Rupp Arena, something that wasn't done by a conference opponent against John Calipari, Texas A&M dropped four of its five next games. 

    The one game the Aggies won was an overtime game against lowly Mississippi State.

    A loss to Southern University this season almost cancels out Elston Turner's 40-point performance in Rupp Arena.  

    Midseason Grade: C

Georgia Bulldogs

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    Overall Record: 10-11

    SEC Record: 4-4

    Current RPI: 130

    Quality Wins: USC

    Bad Losses: Youngstown State, Mississippi State

    Georgia is average.

    Georgia plays to its competition every game.

    Georgia does this every year.

    Same thing will be said about Georgia next year.

    Let's move on. 

    Midseason Grade: C

Arkansas Razorbacks

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    Overall Record: 14-8

    SEC Record: 5-4

    Current RPI: 104

    Quality Wins: Florida

    Bad Losses: at South Carolina

    Arkansas got its signature win on Tuesday night when it dismantled No. 2 Florida by 11 points at Bud Walton Arena. 

    It's been an impressive season for the Razorbacks so far as their losses haven't been all that bad. Three of their losses are to Syracuse, Wisconsin and Michigan. 

    While Arkansas has beaten teams it should all season, it does have losses to South Carolina and Texas A&M. While you can argue the loss to Texas A&M as an equal team, you can't explain a 21-point loss to the Gamecocks. 

    This is a team that could be a sneaky pick come SEC Tournament time as it has shown it can win a game against an elite program. 

    Midseason Grade: B-

     

     

Missouri Tigers

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    Overall Record: 16-5

    SEC Record: 5-3

    Current RPI: 34

    Quality Wins: Illinois, VCU

    Bad Losses: LSU

    When the season started it looked like it'd be a Florida-Missouri heavyweight fight all season. However, Missouri seemed to hit a little bit of a stumbling block with a loss at LSU and a 15-point loss at Ole Miss.

    That being said, Missouri has had a lot of nice, wins including one against rival Illinois and against always pesky VCU. 

    Missouri is by no means out of the SEC title hunt as it is just two games back of Florida and gets a chance to redeem itself again the Gators still. The Tigers also play Ole Miss and Kentucky in the second half of the season to help make a run. 

    Missouri has shown they are right at home in the SEC in its first season, though. 

    Midseason Grade: B-

Alabama Crimson Tide

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    Overall Record: 14-7

    SEC Record: 6-2

    Current RPI: 60

    Quality Wins: Villanova, Kentucky

    Bad Losses: Mercer, Tulane

    Anthony Grant has the Alabama Crimson Tide as someone fellow SEC teams need to be aware of. Especially when they come play in Tuscaloosa. 

    The Crimson Tide haven't lost a home game in conference this season and have beaten the likes of Arkansas and Kentucky at home. 

    However, the pre-conference games have hurt Alabama this year. It went on a three-game losing streak to Cincinnati, Dayton and VCU before defeating Texas Tech. However, Alabama wasn't able to bounce back as it dropped games to the likes of Mercer and Tulane. 

    You can't lose to Mercer or Tulane if you plan on winning a game in March. 

    Midseason Grade: B

Kentucky Wildcats

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    Overall Record: 16-6

    SEC Record: 7-2

    Current RPI: 48

    Quality Wins: at Ole Miss, Maryland

    Bad Losses: Texas A&M

    Who is Kentucky this year?

    Young? Yes.

    Inconsistent? Yes.

    A team you don't want to play in March? Yes.

    A team getting better each game? Yes.

    John Calipari has this team turned around after blowing a second-half lead at Alabama. The Wildcats are currently on a four-game winning streak and should win their next game against Auburn before traveling to Florida to take on the Gators.

    With many questions early in the season, Kentucky has seemed to come into form thanks in large part to the shooting of Kyle Wiltjer and the dominant defense of Nerlens Noel.

    That being said, there is not a better defender in the country (sorry Aaron Craft) than Noel. He refuses to let this team not succeed. 

    Midseason Grade: B+

Ole Miss Rebels

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    Overall Record: 17-4

    SEC Record: 6-2

    Current RPI: 44

    Quality Wins: Missouri

    Bad Losses: Middle Tennessee State

    Ole Miss has given us Marshall Henderson and everything that comes along with Marshall Henderson so far this year. That alone is worth an A+. 

    However, Ole Miss is likely a flash in the pan in the SEC this year as it has dropped its last two games against Kentucky and at Florida. While Henderson's shooting, taunting and craziness will keep the Rebels in the headlines, their play down the stretch will not.

    But, this is a midseason grade. And right now the Rebels are a game out of first place in the SEC. They could prove everyone wrong and keep up their style of play. Hopefully, Andy Kennedy will be able to worry about just that and not what Henderson does next. 

    Midseason Grade: B+

Florida Gators

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    Overall Record: 18-3

    SEC Record: 8-1

    Current RPI: 3

    Quality Wins: Wisconsin, Missouri, Marquette, Ole Miss

    Bad Losses: A canceled game against Georgetown

    Florida is the class of the SEC, and if you ask me a lock for the Final Four this year. After making it to the Elite Eight the last two years, Billy Donovan has done a wonderful job of blending guards and powerful big men like Patric Young this year.

    Sure, they just lost a pretty ugly game at Arkansas, but that will happen to anyone in the NCAA this year. Florida's worst game this year was the fact its game against Georgetown on the USS Bataan was canceled due to conditions. 

    The game at Kentucky is the only game that Florida should struggle with the rest of its way. Expect to see Florida pull a three-peat this year by winning the SEC regular season, the SEC Tournament and then play in the Final Four.

    Sure, the SEC may be down this year. But Florida can beat anyone in the country. 

    Midseason Grade: A

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