The annual SEC/Big-12 challenge is this Saturday. Of course, the SEC has never actually won the challenge, so is it really a competition?
Okay, okay, I expect it to be a thrilling competition this year that goes down to the wire to decide a winner. Among the most intriguing matchups are Texas A&M at Kansas, Kentucky at West Virginia and Oklahoma at Alabama.
But first, I must give the definitive SEC Power Rankings for the week.
I was going to put “no one” at number one, literally, but I was reminded that Auburn has beaten two ranked conference opponents.
Auburn reigns supreme for a second consecutive week, but not because they impressed me so since the last Power Rankings. They fell victim to my curse and lost to an Alabama team that did not feature Collin Sexton, but Florida then went and lost at home to South Carolina.
Florida was all set to be first. They beat Kentucky and Auburn lost to Alabama. But my power rankings curse claimed Florida before I was able to proclaim them number one. Thanks for making me re-do the top, Florida.
The youthful Wildcats have struggled, but they still sit third in the SEC. They have losses to Tennessee and Florida, but they have held strong otherwise. Kentucky has a massive chance for movement with a road game to number-seven West Virginia over the weekend.
Yes, yes, Alabama lost to Ole Miss earlier in the week, but the Tide are a scary young team. Collin Sexton and the gang can, and will, beat anyone at any given time. Alabama has a huge game against Oklahoma this weekend that I would advise everyone to watch. It will probably be the only time we see Collin Sexton go against Trae Young in college basketball.
Tennessee is good. They are officially back. The Vols are in contention for a double-bye in the SEC tournament this year. However, Collin Sexton puts Alabama over Tennessee by a slim-margin in my opinion.
Arkansas has won two consecutive nail biters after starting conference play 2-4. The Hogs can be a dangerous team, but they are soft at times, especially on defense.
7) Ole Miss
Ole Miss remains a scary team because of their talent at the guard positions, and they beat Alabama by double-digits over the week. The Rebels are still looking for answers in the post, however. Ole Miss travels to Texas for the SEC/Big-12 challenge over the weekend with a chance for a massive win that could jump them back into the NCAA Tournament bubble conversation.
8) South Carolina
South Carolina shot up the rankings from 11 to 8 after beating Florida on Wednesday night. The Gamecocks fight hard, and it has worked in recent times.
LSU has two wins over Texas A&M and is led by an exciting freshman guard in Tremont Waters. When he has a good game, LSU can be a problem.
Georgia had a chance to be as high as sixth in this edition, but they were not able to pull out a win in the double-overtime slugfest against Arkansas.
11) Mississippi State
Mississippi State looked poised to be a threat in the SEC after starting the season with only one non-conference loss and opening SEC play with a win over a ranked Arkansas. Unfortunately, Mississippi State has went just 1-5 in the SEC since then with losses to Florida, Ole Miss, Auburn, Alabama and Kentucky. All were teams above Mississippi State that would have presented a chance for the Bulldogs to make a statement.
Missouri is not a terrible team, but they don’t strike fear into the hearts of anyone without their star.
13) Texas A&M
A&M was going to finally make the jump from the bottom four of the Power Rankings, but they lost to LSU, which keeps them down. However, the aggies have a golden opportunity this weekend against Kansas.
Vanderbilt is the only SEC team with a losing record. The Commodores are bringing up the rear with a lowly record of 7-13 (2-6 in conference).