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SEC Power Rankings and Open Discussion: The Season Finale

It’s the last week of the SEC Regular Season. Where has the time gone?

NCAA Basketball: Mississippi State at Auburn John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

This. Is. March.

I don’t know about you all but to me, College Basketball seems to go by so fast. We’ve reach the final week of the SEC Regular Season play and absolutely nothing has been decided yet. By the end of Saturday, we’ll have all of those answers. Let’s take a look at where we stand in the SEC going into the final week.

#1 Tennessee 26-3 (14-2)

Last Week: Beat Ole Miss 73-71, Beat Kentucky 71-52

This Week: Tonight vs. Mississippi State, Saturday at Auburn

If you missed the Tennessee-Ole Miss game, you missed an outstanding game. Here’s how it ended.

Grant Williams reminded everyone why he’s one of the best players in the SEC making this game winning shot and then Tennessee drew a charge (the correct call) to seal the road win for the Vols.

Then, the Vols enacted revenge on Kentucky on Saturday. Now, the Vols continue their run against NCAA Tournament teams to close their season with a trip to the Plains looming this weekend.

#2 LSU 24-5 (14-2)

Last Week: Beat Texas A&M 66-55, Beat Alabama 74-69

This Week: Wednesday at Florida, Saturday vs. Vanderbilt

LSU has a better chance of getting through this upcoming week 2-0 than Tennessee does but if these two teams end up tied after Saturday, the Tigers would be the #1 seed in the SEC Tournament next week. But they have to get by their trip to Gainesville tomorrow in a game that Florida absolutely has to win. If LSU wins, then they’ll pretty much be guaranteed to win the SEC unless Vanderbilt shocks the world.

#3 Kentucky 24-5 (13-3)

Last Week: Beat Arkansas 70-66, Lost to Tennessee 71-52

This Week: Tonight at Ole Miss, Saturday vs. Florida

After destroying Auburn the previous Saturday, the Cats seemed to sleepwalk through their matchup with Arkansas, falling down by 15 early in the second half before coming back to beat the Razorbacks. Unfortunately for Kentucky, things went about as well for them in Knoxville as they did for Tennessee in Lexington. Tonight’s matchup in Oxford is intriguing as they’ll face a Rebels team coming off consecutive heartbreaking losses on their senior night.

#4 Auburn 20-9 (9-7)

Last Week: Beat Georgia 78-75, Beat Mississippi State 80-75

This Week: Tonight at Alabama, Saturday vs. Tennessee

Maybe that’s what Auburn needed. Normally when Auburn wins, they win games handily. Last week, they had to win two close games. Auburn hadn’t won a one possession game all season, until Wednesday night. Chuma Okeke’s 3-pointer with 26 seconds left and a defensive stand on the final possession allowed Auburn to get out of Athens with a W. Then, Auburn was able to hold off a hard charging Mississippi State team on Saturday. With the win on Saturday, Auburn hits the 20 win mark for the second straight year and will finish at worst .500 in SEC play. It also means you all but lock Auburn in to the NCAA Tournament.

However, there’s still work to be done and going to Tuscaloosa tonight is not going to be easy. How will Auburn play on the road against their in-state rival? Alabama is going to be playing extremely desperate and Auburn will have to try and match that intensity. And then, Saturday, an opportunity to determine who wins the SEC Regular Season Championship when Tennessee comes to town for a morning tilt. That matchup will be the ultimate test for Auburn as Tennessee is one of the most well-rounded teams in the country in both the frontcourt and backcourt.

#5 Mississippi State 21-8 (9-7)

Last Week: Beat Missouri 68-49, Lost to Auburn 80-75

This Week: Tonight at Tennessee, Saturday vs. Texas A&M

Give the Bulldogs credit. Auburn was in complete control on Saturday when they led 69-50. But a 17-2 run cut Auburn’s 19 point lead down to 4 before Auburn was able to close them out. Quinndary Weatherspoon and Tyson Carter were outstanding for the Bulldogs and they outrebounded Auburn 41-21. Tonight, they face a stiff challenge going into Knoxville to take on the Vols. Auburn fans should pull for Tennessee in this one seeing the Tigers would currently lose a tiebreaker with the Bulldogs, especially since the Bulldogs close with A&M on Saturday.

#6 Ole Miss 19-10 (9-7)

Last Week: Lost to Tennessee 73-71, Lost to Arkansas 74-73

This Week: Tonight vs. Kentucky, Saturday at Missouri

Ole Miss lost 2 heartbreakers last week but Rebels fans did not learn from Georgia fans the previous week. Fans, no matter how much you may disagree with a call, don’t throw things on the floor.

Unfortunately for Ole Miss, they weren’t able to bounce back against Arkansas as the Hogs scored on their final possession to stun the Rebels by 1. Now, Ole Miss is also tied with Auburn and with 2 wins over Auburn, Ole Miss holds the tiebreaker over Auburn as well. They can’t feel sorry for themselves with an angry Kentucky team that just got thumped in Knoxville coming into The Pavilion tonight.

#7 Florida 17-12 (9-7)

Last Week: Beat Vanderbilt 71-55, Lost to Georgia 61-55

This Week: Wednesday vs. LSU, Saturday at Kentucky

Florida had righted the ship, winners of 5 in a row after beating Vandy at home. Then they came home and.... lost to Georgia? Yep, the Gators offense disappeared in the 2nd half Saturday night and Georgia finally broke through in the win column in a close game. It’s a horrible loss for Florida (and Auburn) because it dropped them below 30 in NET, costing Auburn a Q1 win, while also putting a bad loss on Florida’s already shaky resume. And to make matters worse, they play 2 Top 10 teams to close out their schedule. I don’t see them winning in Rupp so their game against LSU is pretty much a must win. Auburn would hold the tiebreaker over Florida due to a head-to-head win.

#8 South Carolina 14-15 (9-7)

Last Week: Lost to Alabama 68-62, Lost to Missouri 78-63

This Week: Tonight at Texas A&M, Saturday vs. Georgia

South Carolina has overachieved in league play but suffered two tough losses last week to fall under .500 overall. They also lost guard A.J. Lawson to injury last week and it looks like he’ll miss the game against Texas A&M tonight. The Gamecocks still have the tiebreaker over Auburn though so Auburn fans need another loss from South Carolina. The best chance of that happening is probably tonight in College Station.

#9 Alabama 17-12 (8-8)

Last Week: Beat South Carolina 68-62, Lost to LSU 74-69

This Week: Tonight vs. Auburn, Saturday at Arkansas

I don’t think anyone can really know what to expect from Alabama on a game-to-game basis. I thought they had a really good chance to beat LSU on Saturday, but they didn’t. That makes tonight’s game against Auburn even more important for Alabama, especially in Tuscaloosa.

#10 Arkansas 15-14 (6-10)

Last Week: Lost to Kentucky 70-66, Beat Ole Miss 74-73

This Week: Wednesday at Vanderbilt, Saturday vs. Alabama

I have to say, it’s hard to not be impressed with what Arkansas did last week. Losers of 5 in a row going into last week, they went into Rupp Arena with nothing to lose and it clearly showed early against Kentucky. They shot the ball extremely well early against the Cats but weren’t able to hold the lead and also missed several free throws at the end of the game that really cost Arkansas. Arkansas honored their 25th Anniversary team on Saturday and got rewarded with a late 1-point win over Ole Miss. If the season ended today, the Hogs would face Auburn in the SEC Tournament.

#11 Texas A&M 13-15 (6-10)

Last Week: Lost to LSU 66-55, Beat Vanderbilt 64-57

This Week: Tonight vs. South Carolina, Saturday at Mississippi State

Texas A&M has gone 5-2 in their last 7 games but lost T.J. Starks for the year to a dislocated shoulder. A&M is still a Q1 win for Auburn so it’s imperative for the Aggies to try and keep winning, but the fact the Aggies face 2 teams tied with Auburn in the standings makes Auburn fans hope it’s a successful week for Texas A&M.

#12 Missouri 13-15 (4-12)

Last Week: Lost to Mississippi State 68-49, Beat South Carolina 78-63

This Week: Wednesday at Georgia, Saturday vs. Ole Miss

I was a little surprised by Missouri’s win over South Carolina but it certainly helped Auburn’s cause. They go to Georgia who has a bit of confidence now before hosting Ole Miss to end the year.

#13 Georgia 11-18 (2-14)

Last Week: Lost to Auburn 78-75, Beat Florida 61-55

This Week: Wednesday vs. Missouri, Saturday at South Carolina

Georgia lost 4 straight games by a total of 9 points, including one to Auburn last Wednesday. I was afraid the Bulldogs would break through against Auburn and the Tigers were fortunate to get out of Athens with a W. But they did just that in Gainesville against a hot Florida team. Nicolas Claxton had a career night for the Bulldogs scoring 25 points in the win. Georgia may have a say in the race for 4th place as they travel to South Carolina Saturday.

#14 Vanderbilt 9-20 (0-16)

Last Week: Lost to Florida 71-55, Lost to Texas A&M 64-57

This Week: Wednesday vs. Arkansas, Saturday at LSU

Will Vandy get an SEC win? It looks like Wednesday is their last chance. Georgia Tech, back in 1954, was the last team to go through the SEC without winning a conference game. It’s been quite a disappointing season in Nashville for the Dores.