We are a week into the SEC schedule and we saw a few surprises come out of Week 1 to say the least. Each team has now taken a loss overall and only 4 teams are left undefeated in the SEC (and 1 of those teams doesn’t have a league game under their belt yet). So let’s try this again and see where I think everyone stands going into this week.
#1 Tennessee (7-1, 1-1)
Last Week: 1
- After Tuesday’s night impressive 20 point win at Missouri, I wondered how anyone would be able to take down Tennessee in league play this season. The answer: fantastic 3-point shooting. That’s what Alabama did in Knoxville yesterday picking up a signature win that they needed but as far as Tennessee goes, they have loads of talent and they will be fine. But I also wonder if they get into a game like this in the tournament, will they be able to score enough or will their offense be their downfall. I’m still leaving them at the top because I think they’re still the best team in the league right now as they hit the road twice this week.
- This Week: Wednesday at Texas A&M, Saturday at South Carolina
#2 Florida (5-1, 2-0)
Last Week: 5
- The Gators are one of just 2 teams in the league who went 2-0 in the SEC last week. The story for the Gators is the breakout performances from Michigan transfer Colin Castleton. Florida needed a player to step up and take on the scoring role after Keyontae Johnson went down and they seem to have found that in Castleton. He had 23 in the win at Vanderbilt and 21 points (in just 19 minutes) in the win over LSU Saturday. He was 18-23 overall from the field this past week for Florida. They face the only other 2-0 team in the league tomorrow before a big rivalry game Saturday in the Swamp.
- This Week: Tomorrow at Alabama, Saturday vs Kentucky
#3 LSU (6-2, 1-1)
Last Week: 3
- I’m going to leave LSU here at 3 because I can’t penalize them too much for a 4-point loss at Florida. The Bayou Bengals looked extremely impressive in their win on Tuesday against Texas A&M. Cam Thomas averaged a cool 30 PPG this past week (32 against A&M and 28 at Florida), increasing his grip as the league’s scoring leader as he’s now scoring 24 PPG in 8 games this season. That duo of Thomas and Watford is going to be extremely difficult for many people to slow down this season.
- This Week: Wednesday vs Georgia, Saturday at Missouri
#4 Missouri (7-1, 1-1)
Last Week: 2
- Missouri came into the game against Tennessee ranked 12th in the country with wins over Oregon and Illinois but Tennessee brought them back to earth with a beatdown on their home floor. That makes what they did in Fayetteville Saturday extremely impressive. Jeremiah Tilmon had 25 points and 11 rebounds and Xavier Pinson added 23 to get Missouri on the board in league play. This is a veteran experienced team and they were able to put the Tennessee behind them quickly.
- This Week: Tomorrow at Mississippi State, Saturday vs LSU
#5 Arkansas (9-1, 1-1)
Last Week: 4
- I was really impressed with the Hogs on Wednesday night against Auburn. Moses Moody is the real deal but the play of guards Desi Sills and JD Notae was honestly the most impressive thing I saw from them Wednesday night. Which makes what happened Saturday in Fayetteville even more disappointing. Losing their grad transfer forward Justin Smith for 3-6 weeks due to an injury suffered at Auburn was a big blow but after torching the Tigers, Sills couldn’t buy a bucket and neither could 7’3” Connor Vanover, as they were a combined 1-21 from the field and 0-9 from 3. After putting 97 up against Auburn, they shot just 26.8% overall against Missouri and frustrations boiled over for Eric Musselman as he was ejected late in the game. They have no time to feel sorry for themselves as they head to Knoxville to face what I’m sure is an angry Vols team looking to bounce back.
- This Week: Wednesday at Tennessee, Saturday vs Georgia
#6 Alabama (7-3, 2-0)
Last Week: 10
- When Alabama shoots the ball the way they did Saturday night, there aren’t many teams in America that can beat them. Which makes some of their losses even more to comprehend. The talent is there, but they certainly put it all together at Thompson-Boling Arena for a signature win. Including their win Tuesday night against Ole Miss, and they join Florida as the only 2-0 teams in SEC play. John Petty was perfect from 3, knocking down all 4 of his 3-point attempts as Alabama was 10-20 from 3 in the win. They controlled the 2nd half against Tennessee and never let the Vols get closer than 6 coming down the stretch. Now which Alabama team shows up this week? We’ll see.
- This Week: Tomorrow vs Florida, Saturday at Auburn
#7 Texas A&M (6-2, 1-1)
Last Week: 9
- I mean, pull names out a hat at this point because after those 6, to me, it’s pretty much a tossup down to about 11-12 here.
- I’ll go A&M at 7 despite their loss to LSU. The Aggies made life extremely difficult for Auburn in the first half with their defense (and maybe a little too much) but still, they forced Auburn into a lot of turnovers and held Auburn to 22 1st half points. They overcame a comeback from Auburn and were able to win the game on the final possession. It’s the best win for A&M this season and they have a golden opportunity this week with Tennessee coming to town this weekend.
- This Week: Wednesday at South Carolina, Saturday vs Tennessee
#8 Georgia (7-1, 0-1)
Last Week: 7
- The Bulldogs came into SEC play undefeated but largely untested. Mississippi State ended the perfect run from Georgia as Sahvir Wheeler and Justin Kier were held to a combined 10 points in the loss. Still, considering where the rest of the league is right now, I’m only dropping them a spot this week.
- This Week: Wednesday at LSU, Saturday at Arkansas
#9 Auburn (6-4, 0-2)
Last Week: 6
- This is a young team and games like they had this past week will do nothing but make this team better in the long run. In both games, the Tigers came back in the 2nd half, tied the game, but could never get over the hump and take the lead. You had to like what you saw from Jamal Johnson this past week, putting up his first 2 20-point games as a Tiger and almost carried Auburn to a win Saturday in College Station. Devan Cambridge made some strides this week as well, hitting 5 3s against Arkansas and making his first career road 3 in SEC play seem to spark him late in the game against the Aggies. We’ll see if Justin Powell misses any more action after sitting most of the 2nd half Saturday after getting knocked in the head but this team needs Sharife Cooper and hopefully sooner rather than later.
- This Week: Wednesday at Ole Miss, Saturday vs Alabama
#10 Kentucky (2-6, 1-0)
Last Week: 11
- John Calipari’s ejection with 9 minutes to go against Mississippi State may be the turning point in the season. Did he get tossed to try to create a spark and send a message to his team? It’s possible and it’s not the first time he’s done it. He got thrown out at Arkansas last season and they won 12 of their next 13 games (the only loss was at Auburn). Kentucky trailed 55-46 after Cal’s ejection but the Cats went on a 10-0 run, and won the game in Double Overtime. The biggest question to answer is how on earth did Dontaie Allen stay on the bench for all but 20 minutes during the Cats 1-6 start? Allen got his shot to play and made the most of it, scoring 23 points, knocking down 6 3-pointers and gave the Cats a shooter the team desperately needed. It’s one game but it may be the jumpstart Kentucky needed.
- This Week: Tomorrow vs Vanderbilt, Saturday at Florida
#11 Mississippi State (6-4, 1-1)
Last Week: 12
- The Bulldogs went into Athens and knocked off previously undefeated Georgia. Iverson Molinar had a career-high 24 points in the victory and is now averaging 18.4 PPG this season. They squandered their opportunity to send Kentucky to 1-7, falling in Double OT. The Bulldogs had a chance to win it in the first Overtime and never got a shot off on a very questionable possession. They get another chance for a big win with Mizzou coming to town tomorrow.
- This Week: Tuesday vs Missouri, Saturday at Vanderbilt
#12 Ole Miss (5-3, 0-1)
Last Week: 8
- I thought Ole Miss would go into Tuscaloosa and give Alabama a tough game. They did not. Ole Miss never led in the game and the Tide ran away in the 2nd half for an 18 point win. They did get 20 points and 11 rebounds from Romello White in the losing effort. Then, they went out of conference in the SEC/American Alliance and fell at home to Wichita State on Saturday. We’ll get to see Ole Miss up and close this week when they host the Tigers Wednesday night.
- This Week: Wednesday vs Auburn, Saturday vs South Carolina
#13 South Carolina (2-2)
Last Week: 13
- The Gamecocks played their first game since December 5th and defeated Florida A&M by 7 points. It’s fair to say they were rusty as their previous 4 games had been either postponed or cancelled due to COVID. They will get into league play this week.
- This Week: Wednesday vs Texas A&M, Saturday at Ole Miss
#14 Vanderbilt (4-3, 0-1)
Last Week: 14
- The Commodores fell to Florida 91-72 in their lone game of the week. Scotty Pippen Jr. continues to have a great sophomore season but their road gets no easier this week.
- This Week: Tomorrow at Kentucky, Saturday vs Missouri