SEC Basketball Power Rankings: A new No. 1 tops the list after an exciting week of nonconference action
The SEC picked up its signature victory of the nonconference slate, with Tennessee knocking off No. 1 Gonzaga in dramatic fashion this weekend in Phoenix. It was a huge game for Rick Barnes and the Vols, who showed they can compete with anyone in the country.
This week, things slow down a bit as the players deal with their fall semester finals before games pick up again over winter break.
Still, it was a big week for the SEC Basketball Power Rankings, as the Vols moved up to No. 1. Here’s how the rankings shake out this week:
1. Tennessee (7-1, Last week: 2)
The Volunteers take over the No. 1 spot on this list after taking down Gonzaga 76-73 on Sunday. The Bulldogs were the top team in the country at the time, and the Vols battled them toe-to-toe for the entire game, picking up the win thanks to this NBA-range 3-pointer by Admiral Schofield:
Down goes #1! #7 Tennessee knocks off the top ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs 76-73. Admiral Schofield wills his way to a career-high 30 points.
Schofield: 30 PTS, 6 REB, 1 AST
— CollegeBB News (@CollegeBBNCAA) December 9, 2018
This weekend, another tough test looms, as the Vols head to Memphis to take on the Tigers. A win there against Penny Hardaway’s team will help solidify the Vols as the SEC’s No. 1 squad.
2. Auburn (8-1, Last week: 1)
The Tigers fall to No. 2 not because of anything they did wrong, but because the Vols beat the top team in the country, moving up to No. 3 in the AP Poll in the process. The Tigers, meanwhile, looked impressive in a win against Dayton, with Jared Harper and Bryce Brown continuing to dominate.
Auburn plays one game this week — at UAB on Saturday, so the Tigers should enter next week 9-1.
3. Mississippi State (8-1, Last week: 4)
The Bulldogs picked up a big win over Clemson on Saturday, and this weekend, they have a chance to add another big non-conference victory to their resume, as they play host to Cincinnati. Lamar Peters was named the SEC’s Player of the Week, in part because of his 28-point effort against the Tigers.
4. LSU (7-2, Last week: 6)
The Tigers are one of the few teams to have a game during the week this week, with a road trip to Houston to take on a ranked Cougar squad. A signature road win would be huge for Will Wade’s squad, so we’ll see what happens on Wednesday night.
5. Kentucky (7-2, Last week: 3)
Keldon Johnson hit a huge 3 against Seton Hall on Saturday to send the game to overtime, but it still wasn’t enough for the Wildcats to avoid the upset:
KELDON JOHNSON SENDS IT TO OVERTIME!pic.twitter.com/1Mk0vupOZM
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) December 8, 2018
I didn’t think Kentucky would start struggling against Seton Hall, so this is a bad sign for coach John Calipari’s team heading into a stretch of games that includes Utah (on Saturday), Louisville and North Carolina before SEC play starts.
6. Alabama (6-3, Last week: 7)
A home loss to Georgia State was bad, but a thrilling win over Arizona was just what the doctor ordered to rebound from that setback. Kira Lewis Jr., a 17-year-old freshman, had a huge game, scoring 20 points and knocking down the 3-pointer that sealed the Crimson Tide’s victory over the Wildcats:
17 year old Kira Lewis just abused Chase Jeter for a big time shot. pic.twitter.com/CArRGV7x2A
— Eric Fawcett (@Efawcett7) December 9, 2018
With Lewis coming along nicely, the Tide have another scoring weapon. They might not crack the top 3 anytime soon, but this is a dangerous team when the SEC schedule starts.
7. Arkansas (6-2, Last week: 5)
A road win at Colorado State was nullified a little bit by the ensuing 1-point home loss to Western Kentucky. That’s a loss that can’t happen to a team that wants to make an NCAA Tournament run.
The Hogs have a chance to rebound in Little Rock on Saturday against UTSA before hosting Georgia Tech next Wednesday.
8. Florida (5-4, Last week: 8)
Florida played a ranked Michigan State team tough at home, but at the end of the day, the Gators couldn’t get the job done, falling 63-59. With an off week this week, the Gators will look to regroup and build some momentum.
Mike White does have this squad playing better, though, so a rise up the rankings could be coming soon for the Gators. With big dunks like this one against the Spartans, they’re at least fun to watch:
Go UP and GET THAT.
Keyontae Johnson with the vicious alley-oop. pic.twitter.com/GQeRj1kuMS
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) December 8, 2018
9. Mizzou (6-3, Last week: 9)
The Tigers are off this week, but a tough pair of games looms next week. Mizzou will host Xavier before heading to St. Louis for a rivalry game against Illinois. Those are both going to be difficult, but they’re also winnable, so we’ll see what Cuonzo Martin’s crew can do.
10. Vanderbilt (6-2, Last week: 10)
The Commodores are off this week, but play ranked Arizona State and Kansas State next week, and they’ll struggle to win either game. This team could have a really rough couple of months coming when SEC play starts.
11. Ole Miss (6-2, Last week: 11)
The Rebels have been playing a lot of lesser teams, but they keep winning. They’ll try to keep that going against Southeastern Louisiana and Chattanooga this week.
12. Georgia (5-3, Last week: 12)
The Bulldogs didn’t have a game last week, but they have a chance to pick up a signature win as No. 20 Arizona State squad comes to Athens this weekend. That game will tell us a lot about the Dawgs in Tom Crean’s first year at the helm.
13. South Carolina (4-5, Last week: 13)
The Gamecocks looked decent in a loss at No. 5 Michigan, but this week, more tough tests loom. On Wednesday, the Gamecocks host No. 6 Virginia and then play host to rival Clemson on Saturday. That looks like an 0-2 stretch at the moment.
14. Texas A&M (3-4, Last week: 14)
The Aggies had their Saturday game against Boston College canceled due to weather and travel concerns, and neither side was particularly happy about it. At the end of the day, though, the Aggies will have had 12 days off between games, so they’ll be well-rested for Saturday’s contest against Oregon State in Portland. That could be a good opportunity to build some positive momentum.