SEC Basketball Power Rankings: Kentucky Leads with Florida Coming on Strong

Blake StansberyCorrespondent IDecember 1, 2009

The 2009-2010 season is young, and three SEC teams currently are ranked in the AP top 20 in the nation.

Kentucky leads the way at No. 5 in the nation, with Florida coming on strong at No. 13 in the nation, and Tennessee sits in the middle of the two at No. 11 in the nation.

The remainder of the SEC has been a bit of a mess, and it looks like the conference is another year away from being a legitimate power basketball conference again.

So with no further ado, here are the early December SEC Power Rankings.


Top Tier

1. Kentucky Wildcats

Year one under John Calipari has been a success so far. The Wildcats are ranked fifth in the nation, and their young talent has improved from game to game. They enter this week 7-0 and sit atop the SEC.

Next Test: Sat., Dec. 5 vs. No. 10 North Carolina


2. Florida Gators

Billy Donovan has his team on a roll. The Gators just won the Legends Classic. A huge win over then-No. 2 Michigan State, and it appears Florida is on a quick rise back to the top of college basketball. The Gators are 6-0 on the season.

Next Test: Thu., Dec. 10 vs. No. 8 Syracuse


3. Tennessee Volunteers

Bruce Pearl fields yet another extremely talented and good basketball team this year. So far they have not disappointed. The Vols are 5-1 on the season, and their only loss was to No. 6 Purdue 73-72 on Nov. 23. The Vols round out what is a very strong top three for the SEC.

Next Test: Dec. 31 vs. Memphis


Sniffing the Top Tier

4. Mississippi Rebels

The Rebels come in ahead of Vanderbilt on my list by a hair. The Rebels sit at 5-1, and their only loss came in a good contest against No. 3 Villanova. The Rebs are a tough bunch that is quickly becoming the new favorite in the SEC West.


5. Vanderbilt Commodores

Vanderbilt is just outside the top 25 in both polls and was ranked a week ago. They lost a close game to Cincy on Nov. 23 and since then picked up a quality win over Arizona on Nov. 25, and they sit at 4-1 overall. The Commodores have time to prove themselves and work to move into the top tier of the SEC much like the Rebels can do if they continue to play well.


Middle of the Pack

6. Alabama Crimson Tide

The Tide came into the season with some high expectations and came out of the gate with a loss to Ivy League Cornell. Currently they sit at 4-2 overall. The Tide lost recently to Florida State, but it does appear they could move up into the lower top of the conference and make a push for the big dance. They have three quality wins over Baylor, Providence, and Michigan to their credit so far this season.


7. South Carolina Gamecocks

The Gamecocks have been a bit of a surprise so far in the SEC. They sit at 5-1 overall but have played a very soft schedule. Their one loss came to a decent Miami team by 15 points. The Gamecocks will more than likely move down over the season, where so far all the other teams appear to have a strong upside.


8. Mississippi State Bulldogs

Oh how they have fallen. The Dogs were ranked to begin the season in the top 25 and also favored to win the SEC West. Currently they sit at 4-2 with no impressive wins and losses to Rider and Richmond. The Dogs have more of a chance to move up later in the season in the weaker SEC West but have currently shown no reason to be ranked higher.


The Rest

9. Georgia Bulldogs

The Georgia Bulldogs sit at 3-2 with no quality wins and losses to UAB and Wofford. Things will only get tougher for the Bulldogs and first-year coach Mark Fox as the season goes on.


10. LSU Tigers

LSU has talent, and they have a good coach. However, since their last deep NCAA run the Tigers have been in a funk. They have pieces to make a move in the SEC, but for now they sit in the cellar. The Tigers are 3-2 on the year with no quality wins.


11. Auburn Tigers

Auburn sits at 3-3 overall. They have not played any top teams and have lost to some decent teams. The only positive going for them is that they are not dead last in the conference power rankings right now.


12. Arkansas Razorbacks

The Razorbacks come in last in the current power rankings. Picked preseason to finish fifth in the SEC West, it looks like they are on track to do just that or worse. Last week the Razorbacks lost three straight home non-conference games to inferior teams. It is only the second time in Arkansas history they've lost three straight non-conference games. This year is on track to match or be the worst Razorback season in history.


Check in next week to see if anyone plays themselves up or down in the Power Rankings.

Continue to visit Bleacher Report for the latest SEC Basketball News.


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