SEC basketball power rankings: Chase group tries to close gap on Auburn

Since the SEC schedule began, Auburn has been the class of the SEC. The Tigers have built a two-game lead after 12 league contests, but there is suddenly a group of contenders lining up behind them.

Tennessee and Florida are tied for second, while six other schools within two games of second place.

Let’s see what all that means for the power rankings this week, shall we?

14. Vanderbilt

Record: 9-16, 3-9 SEC

Ranking last week: 14

Take: The Commodores are 0-7 in SEC play away from Nashville. Thankfully, the next two games against Mississippi State and Florida are at Memorial Gym.

13. Ole Miss

Record: 11-14, 4-8

Ranking last week: 13

Take: The Rebels are just 3-9 since the calendar flipped to 2018, and have lost five games in a row. A home date with Arkansas on Tuesday is their next chance to stop the skid.

12. South Carolina

Record: 13-12, 4-8

Ranking last week: 11

Take: The bottom section of the standings is populated with struggling teams, and South Carolina is in that category. Five straight defeats have moved the Gamecocks from the fringes of the NCAA Tournament bubble to a place that has them in danger of missing the postseason all together.

11. Georgia

Record: 13-11, 4-8

Ranking last week: 10

Take: The Bulldogs are in full-blown retreat, having dropped six of their last seven games. It’s a slump that has our friends at DawgNation wondering about Mark Fox’s job security.

10. LSU

Record: 14-10, 5-7

Ranking last week: 12

Take: LSU has done a nice job protecting its home floor of late, winning three consecutive games at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Unfortunately, the Tigers have also lost four straight away from home — which is why they’re two games under .500 in SEC play.

9. Mississippi State

Record: 18-7, 6-6

Ranking last week: 8

Take: The Bulldogs’ four-game winning streak came to an end Saturday in a hard-fought overtime loss at Missouri. The Tigers are one of the SEC’s hottest teams, however, so it may not be a loss that damages their postseason aspirations.

8. Arkansas

Record: 17-8, 6-6

Ranking last week: 9

Take: With the jam-packed nature of the league standings, a two-game winning streak is enough for some serious movement. The Razorbacks will try to build on a pair of easy home wins against South Carolina and Vanderbilt when they visit Ole Miss on Tuesday.

7. Alabama

Record: 16-9, 7-5

Ranking last week: 4

Take: The Crimson Tide had a strange week, falling at Mississippi State before beating Tennessee by almost 30 points on Saturday. It was the largest margin of victory for Alabama over a Top 25 opponent since 2005. We’ll see which squad shows up Tuesday for a home game with LSU.

6. Missouri

Record: 17-8, 7-5

Ranking last week: 7

Take: Missouri is giving Texas A&M a run for its money for the status of league’s hottest team. Four wins in a row over Alabama, Kentucky, Ole Miss and Mississippi State have the Tigers three games out of first with six remaining.

5. Kentucky

Record: 17-8, 6-6

Ranking last week: 3

Take: The Wildcats are struggling, having dropped three games in a row for the first time under John Calipari and find themselves four games behind Auburn and in a tie for sixth in the league standings. That makes the Wednesday night tilt with the league leaders a must-win for regular-season title purposes.

4. Texas A&M

Record: 17-8 overall, 6-6 SEC

Ranking last week: 6

Take: Last week in this space, we wondered how the Aggies would react to facing a pair of ranked teams in four days. They responded with a win at Auburn and a home triumph over Kentucky. With Duane Wilson and Admon Gilder getting closer to 100 percent, Texas A&M has won four straight to climb back into the middle of the standings.

3. Florida

Record: 17-8, 8-4

Ranking last week: 5

Take: There are no easy nights in the SEC, but the Gators took care of business last week against LSU and South Carolina — two teams near the bottom of the league standings. Two more such games, with Georgia and Vanderbilt, await this week.

2. Tennessee

Record: 18-6, 8-4

Ranking last week: 2

Take: Tennessee completed its first sweep of Kentucky since 1999 and then promptly got its doors blown off by Alabama on Saturday. The Vols shot only 27.6 percent from the floor in a 78-50 loss, its worst of the season.

1. Auburn

Record: 22-3, 10-2

Ranking last week: 1

Take: Auburn bounced back from an 81-80 loss at home to a surging Texas A&M squad with a 17-point pasting of Georgia — without standout guard Bryce Brown. The Tigers hope his ailing right shoulder will be healed enough for him to play when Kentucky visits on Wednesday.

The post SEC basketball power rankings: Chase group tries to close gap on Auburn appeared first on SEC Country.

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