Hey, y’all! Quick note before we dive into this week’s power rankings. We’re launching “Blue Chip Grit” this week, a national college hoops newsletter. If you love college basketball, this will be the best 5 minutes of your morning!

Click the link here to subscribe. Thank you!

The Big 12/SEC Challenge was held on Saturday, and the SEC won the annual event 6-4. Alabama scored perhaps the most surprising win of the day, taking down No. 4 Baylor in Tuscaloosa.

No. 12 Kentucky also went to No. 5 Kansas and earned a blowout win, meaning the SEC knocked off the Big 12’s 2 top-ranked teams.

So, how did the wild weekend of action, and the midweek games that preceded it, affect our weekly power rankings? Here’s a look at our updated SEC men’s basketball power rankings:

14. Georgia (6-15 overall, 1-7 in SEC, Last week: 14)

Georgia actually scored its first SEC win of the year, starting Alabama’s week on a sour note by taking down the Tide 82-76 in Athens. How did the Bulldogs handle that positive momentum? Well, they went to Nashville on Saturday night and lost 85-77 to Vanderbilt. Still, beating the Tide was a positive step for this team. At least 0-18 in SEC play is no longer an option. A brutal week awaits Tom Crean’s squad. The Dawgs host red-hot Arkansas on Wednesday night and No. 1 Auburn on Saturday.

13. Mizzou (8-12, 2-5, LW: 11)

The Tigers nearly pulled off the upset of No. 1 Auburn in Columbia last week. But, baffling late-game clock management cost the Tigers a chance to finish the upset. Then, they went to a resurgent Iowa State team on Saturday and got blown out, 67-50. Mizzou is much tougher at home than it is on the road this year, so we’ll see if the Tigers can pull off an upset of Florida on Wednesday night at Mizzou arena. Texas A&M hosts the Tigers on Saturday.

12. Vanderbilt (11-9, 3-5, LW: 13)

Vanderbilt is now 0-2 against South Carolina this year. That’s not where the Commodores wanted to be in 2022 under coach Jerry Stackhouse with Scotty Pippen Jr. on the roster. Yes, they took care of business at home against a bad Georgia team on Saturday night, but a disappointing season will likely get much worse this week. On Wednesday night, Vanderbilt travels to Kentucky. On Saturday night, it hosts LSU. Both of those are going to be tough games the way the Commodores are playing right now.

11. Ole Miss (11-10, 2-6, LW: 12)

Ole Miss picked up a nice win over Kansas State in the Big 12/SEC Challenge, taking down the Wildcats 67-56 in Oxford. Daeshun Ruffin continues to shine, which is a good thing for Ole Miss as Jarkel Joiner continues to recover from a back injury. Ruffin scored 17 points against Kansas State and showed off some aggressive moves in the lane:

Ruffin is developing into a leader for the Rebels, which is only going to help when Joiner does return to action. We’ll see if Ole Miss can carry momentum in a pair of tough road games this week – at LSU on Tuesday night and at Florida on Saturday afternoon.

10. Texas A&M (15-6, 4-4, LW: 8)

The bottom has fallen out for the Aggies after a solid start to the season. This team was 15-2 overall and 4-0 in SEC play not too long ago. Then, after a tough loss to Kentucky, things have spiraled out of control. The Aggies have lost 4 games in a row now, including a bad home loss against South Carolina on Saturday night.

Texas A&M was once the SEC’s best 3-point shooting team. It shot 20% from deep against the Gamecocks, 35% against LSU, 31% against Arkansas and a dismal 4.5% against Kentucky. More consistency from the 3-point arc and from the free-throw line will be the key to turning things around in College Station.

The Aggies head to Tennessee on Tuesday night and host Mizzou on Saturday afternoon. Those are 2 good opportunities to show the hot start to league play wasn’t a fluke.

9. South Carolina (13-7, 4-4, LW: 10)

The Gamecocks are on a roll lately, having won 3-straight games. Yes, those games were against teams ranked lower than them on this list, but Frank Martin’s team is showing plenty of fight. James Reese V has emerged as a talented scorer, leading the Gamecocks with 19 points in a win over Vanderbilt and 20 points in Saturday’s victory over Texas A&M. He’s hit 6 of his 11 3-point attempts in that span, too:

The Gamecocks will have the next team in these power rankings in their crosshairs on Tuesday night, heading to Starkville to face Mississippi State.

8. Mississippi State (13-7, 4-3, LW: 6)

The Bulldogs had a tough draw in the Big 12/SEC Challenge, going to Lubbock to face a very athletic Texas Tech squad. Still, coming off a midweek overtime loss at Kentucky, I expected better than a 76-50 blowout loss to the Red Raiders. This is a crucial juncture of the season for the Bulldogs now. This week, they host South Carolina on Tuesday night and head to Arkansas on Saturday night. Will last week’s 2 losses to ranked teams derail the Bulldogs’ momentum? Or, can they fight their way back onto the NCAA Tournament bubble?

7. Florida (13-8, 3-5, LW: 9)

The Gators beat Oklahoma State in the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Saturday in Gainesville, showing some much-needed physicality and fight after a midweek loss at Tennessee. The game was won at the free-throw line, with Florida making 33 of its 41 free throws, compared to the Cowboys going 12-for-19. There’s your margin of victory, and then some, in the Gators’ 81-72 triumph.

Tyree Appleby also had perhaps his best game of the season, leading the Gators with 21 points, 13 of which came in the second half. Down 45-32 at halftime, Appleby led the Gators’ charge. He turned defense into offense:

And, the sign of a confident scorer, he also hit a step-back 3:

That was a big shot in a big moment. Florida often has trouble building off of positive momentum under coach Mike White. With a road trip to Mizzou on Wednesday night and a home game against Ole Miss on Saturday afternoon, we’ll see if the Gators can change that narrative and get back to .500 in SEC play.

6. LSU (16-5, 4-4, LW: 7)

LSU clung to a spot in the AP Poll this week, checking in at No. 25. The Tigers suffered a disappointing loss at TCU to kick off the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Saturday afternoon. TCU is a tournament-worthy team, and the Tigers fought hard, but foul trouble cost them a chance to claw their way back into the game.

Still, there’s reason for optimism in Baton Rouge. Xavier Pinson came back (briefly) from his knee injury. Darius Days looked good, recording a 14-point, 12-rebound double-double. With games vs. Ole Miss (on Tuesday night) and at Vanderbilt (on Saturday night) on the docket for this week, the Tigers have a chance to get back in the hunt for a top-4 position in the SEC standings.

5. Tennessee (14-6, 5-3, LW: 4)

You just never know when shooting woes are going to rear their head for this Tennessee team. The Vols are maddeningly inconsistent, and that was on display once again in Rick Barnes’ return to Texas on Saturday night. The Vols lost the Big 12/SEC Challenge nightcap to Texas, 52-51.

When Santiago Vescovi has an off night, like he did in his 3-point, 0-for-5 from 3-point range night on Saturday, the Vols are lost offensively. Tennessee only hit 35.8% of its field goals in the game, going 5-for-18 (27.8%) from deep. The Vols also only made 8 of their 16 free throws. The defense is consistently strong for the Vols, but until they can develop more consistent offense, they are susceptible to low-scoring losses.

4. Alabama (14-7, 4-4, LW: 5)

The Crimson Tide completed their incredible trifecta on Saturday against No. 4 Baylor. They’ve now beaten 3 of last year’s Final Four teams, having scored wins over Gonzaga and Houston earlier this year. Yes, this team. The same team that lost at Georgia last Tuesday.

The Tide just seem to get up for big games. That’s a good trait to have, as it shows they could be a real threat to any team in the NCAA Tournament. The problem? You have to make the tournament to win the tournament. Alabama needs to avoid bad losses and continue racking up wins to secure a solid bid in March Madness.

A good way to start is to have Jaden Shackelford and Jahvon Quinerly hot at the same time, which they were on Saturday evening. Quinerly led the Tide with 20 points and hit 3 of his 6 3-pointers. When he’s making shots like this, Alabama is tough to beat:

The problem is that he hasn’t been consistently hitting shots like that this year. We’ll see if he (and the rest of the team) can carry that momentum forward into this brutal week of games. Alabama heads to No. 1 Auburn for a rivalry game on Tuesday night, then hosts No. 5 Kentucky in primetime on Saturday night.

Based on past results from this year’s Alabama squad, literally anything can happen in those 2 games.

3. Arkansas (16-5, 5-3, LW: 3)

Beating a Bob Huggins-coached West Virginia team is no easy task. The Razorbacks, however, won a comfortable 77-68 game over the Mountaineers in Fayetteville on Saturday. The Hogs have now won 6 games in a row and don’t seem to be slowing down at all. Jaylin Williams only shot 3-for-13 from the floor on Saturday, but he still continues to improve. He finished the game with a 12-point, 15-rebound double-double. This was a great defensive sequence for him. He stayed vertical, altered the shot and then grabbed the rebound:

His emergence as a dominant post player has been the key to Arkansas’s winning streak. We’ll see if the Hogs can extend that streak to 8 games this week as they play at Georgia on Wednesday and host Mississippi State on Saturday.

2. Kentucky (17-4, 6-2, LW: 2)

Keion Brooks Jr. had perhaps his best game in a Kentucky uniform on Saturday night as the Wildcats blew out Kansas at Phog Allen Fieldhouse, 80-62. Brooks scored a career-high 27 points to go with 8 rebounds and an assist. He did it with an impressive mid-range game, going only 0-for-1 from the 3-point arc.

Here’s a look at him getting into the middle of Kansas’s zone and making a play once his teammates were able to get him the ball:

Oscar Tshiebwe was his usual dynamic self, scoring 17 points and grabbing 14 rebounds in the win. It was nice to see TyTy Washington back on the court after his ankle injury the previous weekend, but he was not his usual self.

The Wildcats are up to No. 5 in the AP Poll and face what should be a tuneup game on Wednesday night in Lexington against Vanderbilt. Then, they hit the road on Saturday to take on a giant killer in Alabama.

1. Auburn (20-1, 8-0, LW: 1)

Yes, Auburn looked bad in a 55-54 midweek win at Mizzou. But, the sign of a good team is actually winning those games. The Tigers went 1-0 last Tuesday night, and at the end of the day, that’s all that matters.

The Tigers looked much better in an 86-78 home win over Oklahoma on Saturday afternoon. Jabari Smith Jr. got back on track, too, after a bad performance at Mizzou. He scored a game-high 23 points and snagged a career-high 12 rebounds in the win. He makes it look so easy:

Those shots are incredibly difficult, but it doesn’t matter to Smith, who has one of the best shooting strokes the SEC has ever seen.

Auburn Arena will be rocking on Tuesday night when rival Alabama comes to town. Then, on Saturday, the Tigers hit the road to take on Georgia in what could be a blowout win.