Each team added at least one more game onto their 2019-2020 record, and now it’s time to see what has changed over the last week.
I will continue to divide all the SEC teams into four categories: contenders, tournament hopefuls, meh, and bad. This week, I took the “with hope” out of the “bad with hope” section because I’ve seen all I needed to with the one team in that section (spoiler alert: it’s Texas A&M).
Once again, in order to avoid confusion, the teams ranked in each section will be in alphabetical order.
Auburn: They are still undefeated, and they beat two good Saint Louis and NC State teams. J’Von McCormick had a masterpiece of a game against Saint Louis, a game good enough for head coach Bruce Pearl to call him “the best player on the floor.” With that kind of high praise in mind, shall he be the guy hitting the big shots in March? Or shall it be Samir Doughty, the star of the NC State game? Let’s see. Nonetheless, Auburn is legit.
Kentucky: Georgia Tech isn’t Duke, but it was a good win nonetheless. They then proceed to lose to Utah at home. The Wildcats are a very scary team on both sides of the ball and they will definitely continue to make more noise as the season rolls on, but they also have the potential to drop games to teams worse than them on any given night. One more loss like this and I may need to reevaluate this team.
Arkansas: That loss to Western Kentucky, their only loss, still stuns me, but Arkansas found their way back into the win column this week in their demolition of Tulsa. Anyone who drops 40+ in the college game has my attention and Mason Jones did just that last Saturday. Arkansas is going to be a SEC juggernaut.
Florida: Following a loss to Butler, Florida came out and handed Providence a 32 point loss. Pummeling the bad teams on their schedule has become a trend for them, but that isn’t a bad thing. When they beat the good teams is when they will move up in the rankings, but that time has not come yet.
LSU: I’m sure they wish they were still on vacation after the way they played against East Tennessee State.
Mississippi State: Although they fell behind early, Mississippi State left Newark last Saturday a winner versus Kansas State. Four out of their five starters finished with double figures, which is great, but their leading scorer finished with 14, which slightly concerns me. If Tyson Carter is supposed to be their alpha, he needs to play better, and that applies even more after his 1-for-11 performance against Radford. They are a very good team but would most likely fall in the back half of this category if I were ranking them.
Ole Miss: Beat a bad team by 18: check. I like Ole Miss, but I’m still waiting for their season defining game.
Tennessee: Good news is they allowed 51 points to a solid Memphis team. Bad news is they put up 47 and lost the game in addition to blowing a road game at Cincinnati. Tennessee’s defense is among the best in the nation, but their offense is a problem they need to fix if they want to compete with the best.
Alabama: The Crimson Tide is an underwhelming 5-5 on the year. Their latest loss came at the hands of Penn State, but they made up for it slightly in their pummeling of a bad Samford team, where they saw John Petty Jr. put up 39 points. Let’s see if Bama sees a similar result against a better Belmont team.
Georgia: I was wrong in assuming having one very skilled guy, Anthony Edwards, equals having a good team. Arizona State is an above average squad, but still has no business beating this team by 20.
Missouri: The Tigers beat a bad Southern Illinois team by 16 and Mark Smith played like he wasn’t human dropping 23 points while shooting 7-of-9 from long range. The problem, though, is that no other starter scored in double digits. Smith may be a sniper from 3, but he can’t do it all.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks beat Clemson, and that is worthy of a promotion in the rankings. Their emotions may have been running high, but they played like the team we thought they would look like in this game. Next up is Virginia...
Vanderbilt: The Commodores lost to one of the few remaining undefeated teams in the nation in Liberty. They then proceeded to lose to Loyola Chicago, a previous fan favorite in the NCAA Tournament two years ago. Despite the (not terrible) losses, they are still surpassing every expectation set for this team and it makes me happy.
Texas A&M: They beat WHO by 3 points??