I'll be posting SEC Basketball Power Rankings every Thursday from here on out. Please don't yell if you disagree.
1. Kentucky (10-0)
It's beginning to feel like 1996. The Wildcats are undefeated and have beaten some quality competition. They took care of North Carolina, Connecticut, and Indiana in a recent three-game stretch. From a national standpoint, all headlines feature super freshman John Wall. He even has his own incredible dance. UK will likely be 14-0 headed into a showdown with Louisville.
2. Florida (8-1)
This spot is basically a toss-up between the Gators and the Volunteers. I gave the spot to Florida on the strength of their wins versus Michigan State and Florida State. They also suffered a defeat at the hands of Syracuse. This week, Florida will face two solid teams: Richmond and South Alabama. The Gators are led by four players averaging double figures.
3. Tennessee (8-1)
I was able to watch the Vols first-hand against Middle Tennessee State in the Sun Belt Classic. Tennessee can run with any team in the nation, and their style of play could be described as controlled chaos. Their only loss was to undefeated and fourth-ranked Purdue in St. Thomas. The Volunteers' next meaningful game will be on New Year's Eve against Memphis.
4. Mississippi (9-1)
Ole Miss has started off very strongly, only losing to No. 8 Villanova. The Rebels are led by Chris Warren, who is nearly averaging 20 points a game. Their best wins have been against Indiana and Kansas State. Their next big test is next Wednesday at No. 6 West Virginia. A win there could propel them to a bright 2010.
5. Mississippi State (8-2)
The Bulldogs were ranked to start the year, but began with a disappointing loss to Rider. Since then, they have only lost to a decent Richmond team. This team is capable of big things, but they don't have the results to prove it.
6. Vanderbilt (6-3)
The Commodores have been one of the league's most disappointing teams. Their three losses have been to quality teams (Cincinnati, Illinois, Western Kentucky), but the 'Dores have shown nothing to prove that they could make a run in March. The team will be favored to win its next five, so Vandy could be 11-3 going into their first SEC game with Florida.
7. Alabama (7-3)
I really like this 'Bama squad. Their most impressive outing was a near defeat of No. 4 Purdue. Alabama held a 16-point second half lead and let it get away. The Crimson Tide have solid wins over Providence, Baylor, and Michigan. It will be interesting to see how this team responds in SEC play. They are led by Mikhail Torrance and JaMychal Green, both averaging over 14 points.
8. LSU (6-2)
An interesting start for the team. LSU has beaten everybody on its schedule that they should. That includes wins over Western Kentucky, Louisiana-Lafayette, and Indiana State. The problem is that they had two chances to play against superior competition: Connecticut and Arizona State. They lost both times by an average of 23 points.
9. South Carolina (7-2)
Things are moving forward for the Gamecocks. South Carolina coach Darrin Horn agreed to a two-year contract extension that will increase his salary to $1.1 million per year. The only two losses for SC have been against Miami and at rival Clemson. The Gamecocks defeated Richmond last night and have games this week against Wofford and Furman.
10. Auburn (5-4)
Just a ho-hum start for the Tigers. No horrible losses, but no wins to get excited about either. They squeaked out a close win against a decent Virginia squad. Auburn has a good test against Florida State. If they can win there, that would help build momentum going into the SEC schedule.
11. Georgia (4-4)
This seems to be a bad team, but their losses/wins have been better than those of Arkansas. Trey Thompkins leads the team with 14 points and seven rebounds a game. The Bulldogs only have five players that average more than four points a game. Things may get worse for Georgia, as their next six games feature five quality opponents: Illinois, Pepperdine, Missouri, Georgia Tech, and Kentucky.
12. Arkansas (5-5)
Things have been a mess for Arkansas. After a wave of suspensions, they got off to a 2-5 start, including three consecutive home losses. They have recovered slightly, defeating three overmatched teams in a row. The real test for the Razorbacks will be against undefeated Missouri State next Tuesday. That will give a test to see if the team has turned things around. As of now, they have no wins of any significance.