SEC basketball rankings, Week 1: Newcomer Missouri enters conference play at No. 1

USA TODAY Sports

After a rough non-conference season, SEC teams begin conference play this week.

1. Missouri Tigers (11-2/0-0) -- There hasn't been much pride in SEC basketball this year, but right now, the newcomer Tigers are the pride of the conference. Missouri has the SEC's best non-conference victory, a, 82-73 win over then-No. 10 Illinois on Dec. 22.

2. Florida Gators (10-2/0-0) -- The Gators could have been ranked No. 1, but Missouri won out thanks to better comparative wins and losses. Kenny Boynton entered the season as a player of the year candidate, and while he's playing well -- 13.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.7 apg -- Florida could use a little more out of the senior.

3. Kentucky Wildcats (9-4/0-0) -- Kentucky hasn't looked like the uber-talented Wildcat teams of recent years, probably because it isn't. That being said, the Cats have tons of talent, and John Calipari should have them playing well by March

4. Mississippi Rebels (11-2/0-0) -- After the SEC's top 3, it's hard to tell which mediocre-to-bad team is the best. The Rebels haven't played anyone, but they're tied for the best record in the conference and thanks in large part to Marshall Henderson's conference best 18.2 points per contest, they lead the way with 83.1 points per game.

5. Arkansas Razorbacks (9-4/0-0) -- The Razorbacks have a win over Oklahoma, which honestly, isn't all that impressive. But Arkansas doesn't have a bad loss, having fallen to Arizona State, Wisconsin, Syracuse and Michigan.

6. Texas A&M Aggies (10-3/0-0) -- The Aggies haven't been bad this year, but they' d probably be better if Johnny Football was on the court.

7. Tennessee Volunteers (8-4/0-0) -- Tennessee has been offensively challenged at times this season, scoring fewer than 40 points in consecutive games on Nov. 30 and Dec. 5. On the other hand, the Vols have scored 75 or more six times. Tennessee needs to find some consistency.

8. LSU Tigers (9-2/0-0) -- LSU is another team that's feasted on a bad schedule (No. 227). The Tigers are unbeaten at home, but they're 2-3 on the road.

9. South Carolina Gamecocks (10-3/0-0) -- Despite a gaudy record, the Gamecocks have an RPI ranking of 225, second-worst in the conference. That's a result of Carolina's 346th-ranked strength of schedule, second-worst in the nation.

10. Alabama Crimson Tide (8-5/0-0) -- 'Bama has been decimated by injuries this year, and that has been reflected in the Crimson Tide's record. Alabama has lost five of seven to Cincinnati, Dayton, VCU, Mercer and Tulane.

11. Vanderbilt Commodores (6-6/0-0) -- The Commodores have had a nice run under Kevin Stallings in recent years, but Vandy is definitely in rebuilding mode. The 'Dores are playing five new starters this year.

12. Auburn Tigers (6-7/0-0) -- Auburn continues to be cursed, struggling out of the gate and losing two key players, Chris Denson and Jordan Price, to significant injuries. But the Tigers seem to be heating up, coming off a two-point loss at Illinois and a six-point win over Florida State. Frankie Sullivan's 17.8 points per game ranks second in the SEC.

13. Georgia Bulldogs (6-7/0-0) -- The Dawgs lost seven of nine to start the year, but they have won four straight. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ranks fourth in the conference with 17.5 points per game and 11th with 7.2 rebounds per game.

14. Mississippi St. Bulldogs (5-7/0-0) -- With a new coach and a bunch of new players, the Cowbells have struggled. State has losses to Troy, Providence, Loyola-Chicago and Alabama A&M. Woof.

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