Recent stumbles aside, a season of SEC basketball has taught us that Alabama and Tennessee are legitimate. Either team could end up as a 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, and both have the necessary ingredients for a deep March Madness run.

But who else does? As of Tuesday night, the SEC’s 2nd ranked team in the conference is … Texas A&M. The Aggies had an awful pre-conference run and will need to stay near the top of the league to sneak into the NCAA field. But who else will? Auburn? Missouri? Arkansas? Can any of them make a run? Here’s the state of the SEC in our weekly notebook.

Tennessee’s struggles

A week after Alabama’s shocking loss to Oklahoma, Tennessee had its own odd week. Colin Castleton dominated the Vols in Florida’s 67-54 upset win in Gainesville. But unlike Bama, which responded by destroying Vandy, UT followed it up with an ugly 46-43 win over Auburn. It shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to determine UT’s problem.

Yes, the Vols are still giving up the fewest points per game in D1 basketball, and holding opponents to an absurd D1-low 21.9% from 3-point range.

But UT is 269th in shooting percentage, 277th in 3-point percentage and 160th in scoring. In the past 2 games, UT shot 28 and 27%, and went 5-for-25 and 2-for-21 from long range. Now, when the Vols held the opponent to 23.6% (Auburn), they found a way to win. But when the opponent shot a reasonable 43.8% (Florida), the Vols lost by double digits.

Of the 9 players who average double-digit minutes for UT, 5 are shooting below 40%, with a 6th at 40.1%. Olivier Nkamhoua looks like he could be part of the answer, but even he went 8-for-29 in those last two games. Quality shots must follow for the Vols.

Who’s No. 3?

No, seriously, who is the SEC’s 3rd-best team? Texas A&M is 9-2 in league play, but this is the same team that lost to Colorado by 27, to Murray State, to Boise State by 15, and to Wofford. A&M still has to play UT, Bama and Arkansas, as well as travelling to Mizzou and Mississippi State.

Is it Arkansas? The Hogs have finally reached a winning mark in SEC play by beating Kentucky, but it’s the same team that squeaked by South Carolina over the weekend.

Auburn? They just lost to UT and Texas A&M, and that backcourt hasn’t been exceptional.

Maybe it’s Mizzou? The Tigers are 6-5 in league play and just lost to Mississippi State by 11.

It’s not Kentucky. Oscar Tshiebwe looked lost in the Wildcats’ home loss to Arkansas, and the Wildcats are probably going to continue losing enough games to keep them on the NCAA bubble. Speaking of which.

Tournament watch

BracketMatrix continues compiling a ton of projected brackets — 105 at last note, and all 105 have Alabama as a No. 1 seed. UT’s recent difficulties have dropped the Vols to the 2nd No. 2 seed in the site’s composite bracket. Also in the field is No. 7 seed Auburn, No. 8 seed Missouri, No. 9 seed Arkansas and No. 11 seed Kentucky, although losses by Auburn and UK could shift those projections. A&M is BM’s 2nd team out of the NCAA field, with Mississippi State and Florida drawing a tiny bit of NCAA interest.

Joe Lunardi’s recent projections are predictably similar. As of Tuesday morning, Joey Brackets had Bama as a No. 1, UT as a No. 2, Auburn and Mizzou as No. 8 seeds, Kentucky as a No. 10 and Arkansas as a No. 11. Lunardi had UK and Arkansas at the bottom of his last 4 byes, but of course, that was before the Hogs’ road win in Lexington on Tuesday night. He also had A&M and Florida as his first 2 teams out, but A&M’s win over Auburn likely leaps the Aggies into his projected field.

Games to watch

A few moments not to miss in the week to come.

Florida at Alabama (Wednesday): The Tide are favored by 9 and seem likely to continue their perfect SEC campaign, but the Gators are fresh off upsetting UT, and could solidify their NCAA situation with an upset.

Alabama at Auburn (Saturday): The in-state rivalry becomes a game that the Tigers really could use … or another conference W for the Tide.

Mizzou at Tennessee (Saturday): Mizzou is in better NCAA standing than Florida and probably better than Auburn, but a victory in Knoxville would still be monumental for a team that needs to avoid sliding further from a 6-5 league mark.

Mississippi State at Arkansas (Saturday): The sticky defensive Bulldogs are trying to make a run, and Arkansas is trying to hold its position. Could be a good one.