Not going to lie, this was a pretty slow week by SEC standards. Then Wednesday happened.
Toward the end of a week where many games went according to plan, Vanderbilt (and Ole Miss to an extent) took all the order the SEC had and replaced it with complete and utter chaos.
Vandy literally hadn’t won a conference game in 26 tries (26!!), and they decided to end that embarrassingly awful streak against the only remaining undefeated team in conference play? Man, I don’t know.
There was a point in the season where they kept losing by double-digits to below average teams constantly, and I guess a flip was switched.
That game lit a spark in an otherwise uneventful week, and it’s only fitting that the biggest shock of the year, in my opinion, comes now.
So, what can you expect in the rankings? Well, a lot of the same to be frank, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see LSU take a dive.
People say “if you come at the king, you best not miss,” and that is exactly what happened in their matchup with Kentucky. Auburn deservedly snatched back the title of top dog and proved their losing streak was nothing more than just a little funk. They also had a nice road victory at Arkansas that shouldn’t be cast aside. Welcome back, Tigers.
Just because the Wildcats lost a battle of the heavyweights doesn’t mean they are any less than who we thought they were. If they didn’t bounce back with a dub against Mississippi State, I may have pressed the panic button, but for now they are still up with the best.
The “dive” that I teased was only a spot, but that’s only because no other team was worthy of stealing their place in the top three. It’s impossible to ignore that Vanderbilt loss, and it will most certainly cost them in March Madness seeding, but they were still undefeated in the month of January, and a loss no matter how big or small won’t change that (although giving up 99 points in a non-overtime game is a red flag).
The Gators didn’t exactly have the toughest week of play, but they finished 2-0. They did struggle much more than they should have with Vanderbilt, but they didn’t do anything to deserve a drop.
Although Arkansas took an L to Auburn, they showed me enough to make me believe in them again. The Razorbacks won a tough road contest against Alabama and, while playing without Isaiah Joe, lost in overtime to Auburn. Their schedule weakens a bit, so that should give Joe a little time to heal from injury before the bigger games.
6. Mississippi State
Mississippi State is a hell of a team at home, and they demonstrated that last Saturday with their big win over Tennessee. Their road loss to Kentucky could have been much worse too as it was simply an off night for Reggie Perry. He will be back and this team will continue to impress.
John Petty Jr. has cooled down, and so has Alabama. Following their upset of Auburn, it looked as if things were taking a turn for the better, but the Crimson Tide are now in the midst of a three-game losing streak with Herb Jones sitting out with a wrist injury to makes things worse. I think Bama has already hit its peak for the season.
If Anthony Edwards doesn’t eventually get more help, things won’t get better for Georgia. The man has been on a tear, and it makes my heart ache to see this happen.
Two road games in one week doesn’t sound optimal, but at least they got out with one win against a short-handed Alabama team. The schedule doesn’t get much kinder for the Vols, though. They are simply not the tournament team that we’ve gotten used to in recent years.
10. South Carolina
We got to see how valuable Justin Minaya truly was last Wednesday as the Cocks played a very poor game defensively. If they are losing games like these to Ole Miss, I have no reason to stir up hope until I see more. Every player that logs 20+ minutes per game on this team is so vital to their success, and we saw what happens when one of those guys goes down.
11. Texas A&M
This last week showed me that there is a gap between Texas A&M and the true bottom feeders of the conference, as the Aggies have beaten them all. Can they stack up with anybody else? Not quite sure because their only other win is versus Tennessee, but it still is a good sign to know a team can be much, much worse.
12. Ole Miss
Their handling of South Carolina on Wednesday was a shocker to me. What I got from that was Breein Tyree is so good that he will single-handedly get this squad a dub once in a while. He is a special player who should be on every team’s boards in the upcoming NBA draft. As for the rest of the team, no comment.
I gave them a rise in the rankings solely for sentimental reasons. I expect them to fall back down by next week, but seeing them play how they did against Kentucky, Florida, and LSU should give any Vandy fan at least a shred of hope.
It’s fun watching an offense as inept as Missouri’s. In their two games this week, they put up 54 and 51 respectively in games they should have at least competed in. This is a bad team that can occasionally catch fire at home.