Now that the college basketball season is more than halfway over, it's time to assess the situation in one of the nation's most balanced and talented leagues.
Sit down and strap yourself in for a little review, thorough analysis and even some brave predictions.
I'll be giving my grade to each team based on its season thus far versus its potential approaching the season.
Ready to say "I told ya so" to my preseason predictions? Here's the place; now is the time. Until then, start clickin'.
Anthony Grant has injected some coaching prowess into a program desperately in need of some.
Where depth is severely lacking, inspiration is certainly not. After a bad opening-day loss to Cornell, the Tide have taken down two ranked teams, including a recent five-point brawl of a win over visiting Mississippi State.
Defense is the team's specialty so far, though its offense is correspondingly inept. Rebounding hasn't been impressive thus far either, even though the Tide outrebounded the Bulldogs (one of the league's best rebounding teams) on Saturday.
The two main scorers for the squad are Mikhail Torrance (try spelling that correctly three times in more than 15 points per game.
Torrance ranks second among league guards with a 51.0 percent field-goal percentage mark, as he likes to slash to the bucket rather than try the long-range shots. Torrance also leads the SEC in free-throw percentage: 87.1 percent.
Green ranks seventh in rebounding and fourth in field-goal percentage.
I've been right about 'Bama so far. I expected the team to be competitive in streaks but struggle to achieve a respectable record. If Alabama can battle itself back into a fight for second in the SEC West, an NIT berth isn't out of the question.
Alabama's Grade: B
Arkansas has struggled with off-the-court issues under John Pelphrey, and it's cost the team results on the court.
The team recently returned standout Courtney Fortson and has been competitive in most every game since as a result, but is continuing to rack up losses.
The 'Backs are average on offense despite Rotnei Clarke's SEC-leading 47.6 three-point percentage and beyond awful on defense. The juggernaut that has become Kentucky discovered that out on Saturday to the tune of 101 points.
Clarke's percentage from downtown has continually decreased since his record explosion in the 'Backs' first game, and the rest of the team isn't enough to help him out.
The pleasant surprise has been freshman Marhshawn Powell, who's averaging 15.4 points and 6.7 rebounds while shooting 51.3 percent from the field, good for fifth in the league. This kid is the real deal, and could easily challenge for SEC Player of the Year if Kentucky weren't a conference member.
I pointed Arkansas out as a team who could possibly be a surprise out of the West, but the team's suspensions cost me that prediction.
This season seems lost, and questions are being raised about Pelphrey's remaining tenure at Arkansas. The offseason will be an interesting one for Razorback fans.
Arkansas' Grade: D
Another SEC bottom-dweller, another head coach in danger.
Jeff Lebo is 91-86 at Auburn overall, 29-55 in the SEC. With this being his sixth season, most assume he will be shown the doors in 2010.
Auburn's problem has been size and interior depth for some time now—and not surprisingly, rebounding has suffered as well. Defense is among the league's worst, and not much else stands out.
DeWayne Reed has been the team's main source of points to the tune of 16.5 points per game, while Lucas Hargrove ranks eighth among league rebounders with 7.3 per game.
I have been correct about the Tigers thus far, but that wasn't a difficult thing to do considering Auburn's situation preseason.
Auburn has shown the potential to surprise big teams—at least for a half—but any postseason is all but out of the question at this point.
Auburn's Grade: B
The Gators have been about as expected thus far.
Inconsistency has been the issue, with a big win over second-ranked Michigan State soon followed by three straight losses, including two against nonranked teams.
Florida has, as expected, fallen into the second tier in the East with South Carolina—and looks to stay there for the foreseeable future.
Unique for a Donovan-coached team, Florida has struggled offensively this season, but has quietly placed among the league's best defensive squads.
Erving Walker has stepped into Nick Calathes' shoes quite nicely, ranking fourth in the SEC at 5.05 assists per game, but he isn't able to provide the pure firepower Calathes added to the team.
Freshman Kenny Boynton joins Arkansas' Powell as SEC Freshman of the Year would-bes, leading the Gators at 14.6 points per game.
Few teams in the nation have a starting five as talented as Florida, but Donovan has to find some depth to reliably compete for NCAA appearances. This season could easily end in an NCAA bid, but the Gators will need to step up their offensive consistency to garner it.
Florida's Grade: B-
Mark Fox has quieted doubters—including myself—despite a shrug-worthy overall record thus far.
The Bulldogs have shocked several teams this season, and this coming from a program used to losing more games than not. Those victims have included Illinois, 20th-ranked Georgia Tech, and eighth-ranked Tennessee, and UGA nearly stole one at Mississippi State.
The most recent accomplishment, the Tennessee win, was by 15 points. In fact, four of the Bulldogs' last five games have been against ranked opponents. Out of those last five games, two were wins against ranked teams and the other three were losses by an average margin of just five points.
That included an exciting eight-point loss that went to the wire in Lexington against seemingly untouchable Kentucky.
Fox has done a tremendous job with this team thus far, and the long-term future certainly looks bright for this program. The short term, however, isn't as pretty. The squad won't make the postseason in 2010, but don't count out a bid in 2011.
Georgia's Grade: A
Boy, was I wrong.
I said Kentucky couldn't shoot. They lead the SEC, shooting 49.8 percent from the floor.
I said Kentucky would struggle from behind the arc. They rank second in the league, hitting 38.1 percent of their treys.
I said Kentucky would struggle with consistency and take their lumps en route to a high NCAA seed. They're undefeated 19 games into the season and seemingly breezing to an SEC regular-season championship.
I said John Wall was good, but not great. He ranks fourth in the league at 17 points per game and ranks second nationally at 6.89 assists per game. He's drained several clutch shots to help Kentucky to its undefeated record.
With that said, it's time to point to a few warning signs.
Kentucky has, however, struggled at times despite its record. Four of their wins have been within five points, two of those to nonranked teams: Miami (Ohio) and Auburn.
Kentucky's only seen two ranked teams (North Carolina and Connecticut), and each of those teams proved to disappoint their expectations. UNC isn't ranked, and UConn is 13-6 overall.
In fact, Kentucky's only truly impressive victory was an 89-77 victory at Florida.
The going gets much tougher from here on out. Five currently ranked teams await the Wildcats in the regular season, and one more just outside the Top 25. Three of those games are on the road.
Kentucky is good, and so is Calipari. But neither are perfect, and Kentucky will lose a game—if not more than one. It won't matter, though, as the SEC regular-season title is as close to a lock as can exist this early in the season, and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament is probable.
Kentucky's Grade: A+
Not even reigning SEC Coach of the Year Trent Johnson could salvage LSU after decimating losses from 2008-09 to graduation.
The story isn't pretty, and only a win over Western Kentucky (who has defeated Mississippi State and Vanderbilt) is effectively the only positive thing to mention thus far.
LSU has lost eight of its last nine contests, and the remaining of its SEC slate could get ugly.
Johnson will get this team moving in the right direction with some solid recruiting, but after a near winless SEC record in 2009-10, the going will be tough.
LSU's Grade: C
This season has felt familiar to devoted Mississippi State fans. Lots of wins, a few head-scratching losses, and streaky results.
The season opener was a jaw-dropping one for the then-18th-ranked Bulldogs: a 14-point home loss to Rider. Rider is currently 11-11 on the year.
After righting the ship, MSU soon found its identity and won 12 of 13 games and re-entered the Top 25. True to Bulldog form, a loss to a nonranked opponent followed.
The Bulldogs have a suffocating defense and a decent offense that has shown signs of invincibility—if the threes are hitting. If they aren't, the Bulldogs are very beatable, but not exactly dead in the water.
Varnado (whose name you should know by now) will certainly topple the NCAA career blocks record this season, and he recorded his second-career triple-double this season against Arkansas.
MSU is headed for the NCAA, but a few things remain in question: Can the Bulldogs manage to reliably score enough to win consistently, can they avoid choking in the national spotlight, and will the road win in Oxford mean yet another divisional title for Stansbury?
Mississippi State's Grade: B
I couldn't have pegged Ole Miss more perfectly.
A lack of size and interior depth, good shooting and a good—but not great—season.
I also pointed out that Terrico White was overrated, fingered by many in the preseason as SEC Player of the Year potential. He is averaging a modest 15.2 points and doesn't register on the league's listing of three-point shooters, steals, or any other major category.
One pat on the back for me. Hate it, love it—doesn't matter; I was right. Moving on.
The Rebels have played well, but they have no good wins to show for it. A home loss to an unranked team doesn't help, and it doesn't seem the Rebels' defense or size will be enough to make Kennedy's squad a true contender this season.
Ole Miss will likely make the NCAA's, however, and it's never past a potent offense to make a run in the postseason.
Ole Miss' Grade: B-
You readers may be tired of this already, but it's time for another pat on the back for this writer.
Preseason, I called out South Carolina as potentially overrated, with a questionable coach and not enough talented depth to compete in a rising SEC.
A glance at South Carolina's record proves my point.
USC has endured a tough schedule thus far, but that doesn't help to explain a seven-point loss to Wofford and three-straight SEC losses with no solid wins to show for it.
While senior Devan Downey leads the SEC at 21.9 points per game, it's due to a lack of depth—not necessarily to pure talent—and the remainder of the team just isn't very talented or well-coached.
Defense is the most obvious weakness, as the Gamecocks are 10th in the league in scoring defense and 11th in field-goal percentage defense. The lack of size hurts rebounding as well, as Horn's squad ranks last in rebounding margin.
The road doesn't get easier. Two matchups with top-ranked Kentucky and 14th-ranked Tennessee each and three additional road games.
South Carolina went from an expected NCAA bid in the preseason to currently hoping for an NIT bid.
South Carolina's Grade: D+
Tennessee has been an interesting story this year.
Before the approach of 2010, the Vols struggled a bit, with no impressive wins and an embarrassing 22-point loss to an unranked USC.
The New Year's holiday hit, and suddenly, four star players were suspended for an off-court incident that eventually resulted in the dismissal in All-SEC star Tyler Smith.
Since then, Tennessee has reeled off a 5-1 record with an eye-opening 76-68 decapitation of previously invincible and top-ranked Kansas. A trip to 21st- ranked Ole Miss also resulted in a win.
The last loss, though, was a return to form. The Vols dropped a 15-point decision to SEC cellar-dweller Georgia in Athens.
Balance is nice, and Tennessee certainly has plenty, but depth and consistency can be questionable at times. Bruce Pearl's coaching has lifted the team to some impressive performances, but the personnel issues alone are holding the team back from competing for the SEC regular-season title.
The Vols are an early lock for the NCAA tournament, with a six seed or higher pretty likely.
Tennessee's Grade: A-
After starting the season with a 6-3 record, Kevin Stallings was facing questions about what was wrong in Nashville.
No matter. Since that point, the Commodores are a perfect 9-0 with four-straight league wins.
Vanderbilt is an offense-first squad, but defense has been enough to bolster the team's offense. As one of the league's deepest squads, balance and a talented bench have been strengths as well.
Though Vandy likely won't be able to compete with Kentucky for the SEC's regular-season title, they've already done plenty to prove my preseason prediction for a surprising 'Dore squad true.
Vanderbilt's Grade: A-