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SEC Power Rankings: Week 15

The Battle of the Bubbles has begun...

NCAA Basketball: Auburn at Georgia Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Things are starting to get very interesting in the SEC not only because of NCAA Tournament pushes, but also because of SEC Tournament seeding.

In the conference tournament, there are only four slots available for that double bye, and there are six teams going for them: Kentucky, Auburn, LSU, Florida, Mississippi State, and South Carolina.

Kentucky has a firm lead on the rest of the conference, but only a game separates the five remaining teams.

Previously looking like a surefire top four team, LSU has been ice cold of late, and they have another key game against South Carolina this weekend.

There is nothing guaranteed in the SEC (just ask Missouri or Georgia after their wins over Auburn), and there is still time for anything to happen.

1. Kentucky

The Wildcats slowed down a hot Ole Miss team and kept LSU in check on the road. They haven’t lost in five games and they look like the best team in the SEC at the moment.

2. Auburn

After playing pretty well for the last couple weeks, the Tigers let themselves go in their last two games, losing twice at the hands of the conference’s bottom-feeders. Those losses loosened their grip on a double bye for the tournament, although they do have a winnable home game versus Tennessee coming up this Saturday.

3. LSU

If anyone has been choking harder than Auburn, it’s undoubtedly LSU. They have lost four of five (including their loss to Vanderbilt) with their only win in that span being against Missouri at home... by four points. They must view their upcoming game at South Carolina as a must-win.

4. Florida

Yes, the Gators are inconsistent, but they would have had to actually try to lose to let those games versus Vanderbilt and Arkansas slip away. Vanderbilt is Vanderbilt, and Arkansas is struggling because of injuries. Their next week will show who they really are with two big box office games against Kentucky and LSU coming up.

5. Mississippi State

Mississippi State may not be the best road team, but they sure do know how to defend home court, and against a South Carolina team that may have needed that win just as much as they did. The Bulldogs are in a prime position to do some damage, especially with a schedule as weak as theirs to close out the year.

6. South Carolina

The Gamecocks are fighting for their tournament lives right now. After losing to Boston and Stetson to begin the season, many people wrote this team off, but they continue to claw their way into “first four out” territory. Their win versus Tennessee was HUGE for them, but on the flip side, that loss to Mississippi State was rough. If USC loses to LSU this Saturday, they can most likely kiss their dreams of dancing goodbye.

7. Tennessee

The Volunteers barely escaped Vanderbilt on Tuesday, and they let a game versus the Cocks slip right through their fingers. Justin Bowden finally played one of his rare good games against Vanderbilt, but John Fulkerson had to do the heavy lifting in the loss to South Carolina. I don’t know what to make of Tennessee at times, but I know they aren’t playing in the tournament. Tough for a school that has had so much success in basketball over the last couple years.

8. Alabama

After taking down LSU, they lose to Texas A&M at home... like how does that happen? The potential they once had seems to be simmering away.

9. Ole Miss

After looking dead for most of SEC play, they went on a three-game winning streak... and then lost two straight with the more regrettable one being to Missouri. Breein Tyree continues to be one of the best players in the SEC despite the rough week they had as a team.

10. Texas A&M

The Aggies continue to beat the bad teams in the SEC. They just can’t beat the good ones... A 2-0 week with wins over Georgia and Alabama is nothing to complain about, but it’s no cause for celebration either. Here’s to being average!

11. Missouri

It’s official, Xavier Pinson has gotten my attention. He’s scored 60 points over his last two contests and has been one of a few sources of offense on this Missouri team. Maybe when he plays like this, Missouri isn’t that bad? It’ll be fun watching this team wreak havoc on bubble teams over the next couple weeks.

12. Georgia

It’s just so depressing how a team with so much talent, so much hope will end up finishing the year without any tournament bid. You see sparks of talent in their wins over Auburn and Memphis but then see the Bulldogs get destroyed by teams that shouldn’t be pushing them around. Nice win, but it’s too little too late.

13. Arkansas

Without Isaiah Joe, this team is done. A team that should have had one of the best backcourts in the SEC has transformed into a disappointment in conference play as they haven’t won a game since the first day of February. The Razorbacks struggle to beat just about anyone at this rate, and I will no longer be supporting them. Mason Jones deserves better.

14. Vanderbilt

Not much good to say here. When a team sees Vanderbilt on their schedule, they can simply pencil in a dub for the most part. I just want to see this team win at least one more time so I can dwell less on the negativity.