Monday, December 19, 2011
Conference power rankings: SEC
By Andy Katz
Here's my attempt at ranking the SEC teams:
1. Kentucky: The Wildcats rebounded well after the late-game loss at Indiana. UK's talent isn’t in question. And neither is its consistency compared to its SEC counterparts.
2. Florida: The Gators destroyed Texas A&M for most of the first half and then went the distance for a solid win. The guard play may have had its most balanced performance of the season.
3. Mississippi State: The Bulldogs played their first true road game and escaped Detroit on an Arnett Moultrie block. The Moultrie-Renardo Sidney combination had the look of a dominant tandem in that game.
4. LSU: The Tigers clearly aren't the fourth-most talented team in the league, but they climb up the rankings on the back of a four-game win streak heading into Monday's home game against Marquette. LSU has been stingy on defense, holding each of its past four opponents to fewer than 60 points.
5. Ole Miss: The Rebels have the frontcourt talent to be a top-four team in the SEC, but they haven’t won either of their toughest games. Losing to Marquette by 30 in the Virgin Islands was humbling. And then the Rebels lost at Southern Miss by four this weekend.
6. Vanderbilt: The Commodores have the talent to be in the top three, but they simply haven’t been able to finish games. Vandy lost in overtime at home to Xavier, at Louisville in overtime and then couldn’t beat Indiana State at home Saturday, VU's third home loss of the season.
7. Alabama: The Tide began the season ranked but have whiffed in their biggest games of the season, except for knocking off Purdue in Puerto Rico. Bama has lost three of its past four games, including a double-digit loss to Kansas State on Saturday. The talent is there to finish much higher, but the results simply aren't there yet.
8. Georgia: The Bulldogs get a chance to move up in the power rankings because they won and everyone else of note lost. Georgia snapped a four-game losing streak by winning at a depleted USC by four. The Bulldogs now have four home games in a row to get healthy.
9. Auburn: The Tigers get a little love here for simply winning games that they should. Auburn has beaten up every team it has played, save a loss at Seton Hall. The Tigers sure didn’t have much trouble against the Big East’s South Florida this weekend.
10. Arkansas: The Hogs will finish higher in the standings than some of the teams above them now, but Arkansas has yet to beat a team from a power-six conference. This ranking is what it deserves to this point.
11. South Carolina: The Gamecocks gave a great effort for 30-plus minutes against Ohio State. Bruce Ellington can make a significant difference for South Carolina once he makes the full commitment to basketball. This team is clearly getting better.
12. Tennessee: The Vols looked extremely competitive against Duke and Memphis in Maui, but they haven’t been able to follow that up with anything else, losing six straight to Division I opponents, with the only win coming against Chaminade.