Welcome, y’all! I’m going to assume we have some first-time readers of these power rankings this week, as the college football season has now officially drawn to a close.

To get you caught up, the SEC men’s hoops landscape is all sorts of crazy this year. After going 1-6 in nonconference play, Kentucky is 3-0 in SEC action. Alabama is undefeated in SEC play, while Auburn is 0-4.

So, how do the 14 teams stack up against one another? Well, outside of a couple of teams at the top and a couple of teams at the bottom, the middle part of the rankings are pretty blurry.

Here’s how I have the SEC power rankings shaking out this week:

14. Vanderbilt (4-5 overall, 0-3 in SEC, Last week: 13)

Hello darkness, my old friend. The Commodores are back in the SEC cellar thanks to an 0-3 start to league play. Vanderbilt was feisty this past week, at least, losing at Kentucky by 3 and at home against Mississippi State by 3. Still, until the Commodores get a league win, this is likely where they’ll remain.

At least Scotty Pippen Jr. continues to be exciting to watch. He had an 18-point, 12-assist double-double against Mississippi State:

https://twitter.com/SECNetwork/status/1348283504937865217

Vanderbilt’s quest for a win won’t get easier this week. Due to COVID-19 issues elsewhere in the SEC, the Commodores will host No. 10 Tennessee on Tuesday before traveling to Knoxville to take on the Vols on Saturday. At least after this, the Commodores will be done with their in-state rivals.

13. South Carolina (3-2, 1-0, LW: 14)

The Gamecocks burst out of the gates in SEC play, trouncing Texas A&M 78-54 on Wednesday night in Columbia. But for the third time this year, South Carolina is on pause due to COVID-19 issues. It’s hard to get a read on this team when it is unable to stay on the court.

AJ Lawson had a great game against the Aggies, though, continuing his strong play. He finished with 30 points (19 of which he scored in the second half), 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals, outdueling fellow Canadian Emanuel Miller on the A&M side.

Now, we’ll once again wait to see when the Gamecocks are able to play next.

12. Auburn (6-6, 0-4, LW: 10)

Yes, Auburn lost to rival Alabama on Saturday, but the Tigers were without talented freshman Justin Powell. The big story, though, was the debut of 5-star freshman PG Sharife Cooper, who immediately stole the show.

He was everything advertised and more, scoring a game-high 26 points, dishing out 9 assists, grabbing 4 rebounds and snagging 3 steals. Yes, he did struggle at times, committing 5 turnovers and only going 1-for-7 from 3-point range, but the signs of a budding superstar were all there.

Look at how effortless Cooper’s ability to score is. He gets to the rim, makes pull-up jumpers and sees the court so well he creates easy opportunities for teammates:

And here’s his lone 3 of the game, which is an NBA-level 3-pointer:

JT Thor also played well, scoring 15 points to go with 9 boards and 4 blocks. He also threw down this monstrous alley-oop on a pass from Cooper:

https://twitter.com/SECNetwork/status/1347972018331934722

The talent is very evident on this Auburn roster. But until the Tigers start getting that talent to translate to SEC victories, they’ll remain low in these power rankings. We’ll see if they can get in the SEC win column this week against Georgia on Wednesday or Kentucky on Saturday.

11. Ole Miss (6-4, 1-2, LW: 12)

After a midweek win against Auburn, Ole Miss had an awful Saturday showing against LSU, losing 75-61. It was a rough night offensively, as the Rebels only had 1 player score in double figures. That was Austin Crowley, who had 10 points.

It was a nightmare performance for Devontae Shuler, who went 0-for-9 from the floor (0-for-6 from 3-point range) and finished with only 2 points. Transfer big man Romello White finished with 4 points and 3 rebounds. I feel very comfortable saying the Rebels will win exactly 0 games in which those 2 players combine for 6 points.

Of course, this was a game played on short notice for both teams. LSU was supposed to play Mizzou, but the Tigers have COVID issues. The Rebels were supposed to play South Carolina, but the Gamecocks also had to postpone due to COVID. Still, it was short notice for both teams, and LSU was up for the challenge. Ole Miss was not.

10. Georgia (7-3, 0-3, LW: 8)

Georgia’s 7-0 nonconference record is looking more like a mirage with each passing game. The Bulldogs are 0-3 in SEC action and just got demolished at Arkansas on Saturday, losing 99-69.

I don’t understand that result at all. The Dawgs have several very talented players. Sahvir Wheeler, Toumani Camara, Andrew Garcia, Justin Kier, PJ Horne and Tye Fagan are all capable. But for now, this team is a disaster in conference play.

Will things change this week when the Dawgs host Auburn on Wednesday and travel to Ole Miss on Saturday? I’m not holding my breath.

9. Texas A&M (6-4, 1-3, LW: 7)

The Aggies need to find some offense in a hurry. Emanuel Miller is playing like a star, but he can’t do it all. In losses to South Carolina and Tennessee this past week, the Aggies only put up 54 points in each game. In the loss to the Gamecocks, Miller scored 28 of those 54 points — more than half of A&M’s output.

Credit to Tennessee — the Vols had a plan against him on Saturday, holding Miller to 8 points on 3-for-8 shooting. They did a good job of keeping the ball out of his hands. If more teams start copying that strategy, things could spiral out of control quickly for Buzz Williams’ squad.

8. Mississippi State (8-4, 3-1, LW: 11)

I continue to be impressed by the Bulldogs. After turning the tables on Mizzou last Tuesday, the Bulldogs went to Nashville and avoided an upset loss against Vanderbilt. No, beating the Commodores by 3 is nothing to write home about, but a win is a win in SEC play.

DJ Stewart Jr. scored 24 points against Mizzou. Against Vanderbilt, it was Iverson Molinar’s turn to carry the offensive load, as he had a 24-point effort. Molinar does it all. He added 8 rebounds and 4 steals. His steals lead to easy offense like this:

The Bulldogs are a double-overtime loss to Kentucky away from being 4-0 in SEC action. If they win a pair of home games this week — vs. Texas A&M on Wednesday and Florida on Saturday — they will likely break into the top half of these rankings.

7. Florida (5-3, 2-2, LW: 1)

OK, so, I might have jumped the gun a bit putting Florida at No. 1 in last week’s rankings. The Gators collapsed this past week, losing at Alabama by 15 points and at home to Kentucky by 18 points. That was the worst-case scenario for Florida fans. Now, coach Mike White’s hot seat is heating up once again.

I have no idea what is up with Scottie Lewis. The Gators can’t win without him, but he has been nowhere to be found. He finished with 2 points on 1-for-6 shooting against Alabama and matched that with 2 points on 1-for-4 shooting against Kentucky. He had 4 rebounds and 0 assists in those 2 games combined.

If the Gators can’t get Lewis going, I’m not confident they’ll be able to beat Ole Miss on Tuesday night or go into Starkville on Saturday and compete with Mississippi State. We’ll see.

6. Kentucky (4-6, 3-0, LW: 9)

The Wildcats continue to leave an awful 2020 behind them. Since the calendar flipped to 2021, Kentucky is 3-0, with wins over Mississippi State, Vanderbilt and Florida. Vanderbilt is nothing to write home about, but we’ve seen how good Mississippi State has been and how well Florida has played at times.

Getting Keion Brooks Jr. back from injury proved to be huge for this team. He finished with 12 points against the Gators and also had 6 rebounds and 4 assists. He’s strong in the post, as he showed here:

But he’s also a good passer, as he displayed by finding Davion Mintz on this play:

Mintz and Brandon Boston Jr. each had 13 points. Mintz has been solid recently, but if Boston can get going, this Kentucky team becomes even more dangerous. We’ll see if the Wildcats can remain unbeaten in SEC play this week when they host Alabama on Tuesday and travel to Auburn on Saturday.

5. Arkansas (10-2, 2-2, LW: 5)

After a tough loss at Tennessee on Wednesday, the Razorbacks bounced back in a big way against Georgia on Saturday. The Hogs showed why their offense is so dangerous, putting up 99 points in a 99-69 rout of the Bulldogs.

Jalen Tate had perhaps his best game as a Hog, scoring 15 points and dishing out 10 assists. Freshman Moses Moody continues to be the star, though, leading all scorers with 25 points. He makes it look so easy:

Fellow freshman Davonte Davis also deserves a shoutout for scoring 20 points to go with 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals. Senior Vance Jackson had 15 points and knocked down 4 of his 5 long-range attempts.

We’ll see if the Hogs can carry this momentum into a brutal week, as they travel to LSU on Wednesday and to Alabama on Saturday.

4. Mizzou (7-2, 1-2, LW: 3)

Mizzou is still a top-4 team in these rankings based on its accomplishments in nonconference play, but the goodwill from wins over Oregon and Illinois is wearing out fast. After a disastrous second-half collapse against Mississippi State last week, the Tigers had their Saturday showdown against LSU postponed due to COVID-19 issues in their program.

Right now, the Tigers are still expected to travel to College Station to play Texas A&M on Saturday. They’ll need to show they can bounce back and even up their SEC record or they face the risk of sliding into the bottom half of these rankings.

3. LSU (8-2, 3-1, LW: 6)

When the Tigers played Ole Miss on Saturday, star freshman Cam Thomas left the game early with an ankle injury and didn’t return. Hopefully, he’ll be able to return soon, because he’s proven himself to be one of the best players in the SEC.

In his absence, Trendon Watford stepped up. He greatly improved his free-throw shooting, too. After going 3-for-10 against Georgia earlier in the week, he knocked down all 5 of his free throws against Ole Miss. He finished with a game-high 21 points to go with 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. He’s a very versatile big man who can knock down 3s with hands in his face, as he showed here:

https://twitter.com/LSUBasketball/status/1348081657559932928

Depending on Thomas’s status, Watford and PG Javonte Smart (who had 17 points, 6 assists and 6 turnovers against Ole Miss) will have to do even more. The Tigers will host Arkansas on Wednesday and South Carolina on Saturday to try to keep their winning streak going.

2. Alabama (9-3, 4-0, LW: 4)

Alabama is 4-0 in SEC play and continues to cruise through the league schedule, but I can’t put the Crimson Tide at No. 1 just yet because of that nonconference loss to Western Kentucky. Still, for now, it’s smooth sailing for Nate Oats’ squad.

After taking down Florida in the middle of last week, the Tide held off a feisty Auburn team on Saturday. Yes, Auburn freshman Sharife Cooper was the star of the show, but don’t overlook what Alabama freshman Josh Primo did — 22 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and a block. Primo came out ready to play, scoring 14 of Alabama’s first 16 points, including 4 3-pointers:

Herb Jones continues to develop into a superstar. He had 19 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 5 steals and 2 blocks against Auburn. He also threw down this awesome dunk:

Those moves off the dribble are what has helped Jones take the next step as a player. We’ll see if he can keep leading the Tide to wins as they travel to Kentucky on Tuesday night and host Arkansas on Saturday.

1. Tennessee (9-1, 3-1, LW: 2)

Tennessee is in the No. 1 spot and the Vols are doing it thanks to their outstanding defense. So far this season, the Vols have scored 768 points and have allowed only 568. That’s an incredible differential.

This past week, they overcame a 7-point halftime deficit against Arkansas and then trounced Texas A&M 68-54. Santiago Vescovi had an outstanding game against the Aggies. He finished with a game-high 23 points and went 6-for-10 from 3-point range. Look at these shots, too. It looks like a game of “Around the World”:

https://twitter.com/SECNetwork/status/1348021431192473606

It’s hard to imagine the Vols falling from this spot over the next week, as they have an interesting schedule. They’ll travel to Vanderbilt on Tuesday and then host the Commodores on Saturday due to COVID-related schedule changes around the SEC.