SEC Basketball Power Rankings: Tennessee falls to Colorado, Florida stunned by FAU, other teams take care of business
We’re only a week into the 2022-23 men’s college basketball season, but there have already been some notable results across the SEC.
Some teams have lost early season tests. Some have thrived and lit up the scoreboard. Some still have major question marks as tougher competition approaches.
So how do things stand across the conference as we move toward bigger and better games? Here’s a look at our updated SEC men’s hoops power rankings:
14. Vanderbilt (0-2 overall, Last Week: 14)
This is not a good team. Losing to Memphis in the opener was not the worst loss, but falling 60-48 in Nashville against Southern Miss was definitely worrying. The Commodores shot only 3-for-25 from 3-point range (12%). That’s not going to cut it moving forward.
13. Georgia (2-1, LW: 13)
Georgia lost by 10 against Wake Forest on Friday. That was a true road game, so it’s hardly a bad loss, but it’s tough not to think of what could have been. If the Bulldogs had made more than 11 of their 19 free throws, it’s a different contest late. There’s some talent on this roster, but a narrow win on Monday night at home over Miami (OH) wasn’t exactly a confidence booster.
12. Florida (2-1, LW: 6)
Colin Castleton needs some help. He scored 30 points and had 12 rebounds in Monday night’s bad 76-74 home loss against Florida Atlantic – the Owls’ first-ever win over the Gators. The rest of the Florida roster let him down. A furious comeback attempt came up short, as the Gators were down double figures with only a few minutes to go. I’m not going to give up on Todd Golden’s squad yet, but Florida will certainly have to show some major improvement moving forward to work its way back up the board in these power rankings.
11. South Carolina (2-0, LW: 12)
The Gamecocks impressed me this past week. I didn’t have high expectations in Lamont Paris’s first year, but South Carolina scored a rivalry game victory for itself. It was a 60-58 win over a Clemson squad that will probably finish as one of the worst teams in the ACC, but it was still a win. The Gamecocks are showing ability to win close games, as their first victory was an 80-77 takedown of South Carolina State. We’ll see if that continues.
10. Ole Miss (2-0, LW: 10)
The Rebels took down Florida Atlantic 80-67 on Friday night. That’s a better result than what the Gators could manage against the Owls. Like many teams on this list, it’ll be another week or so before we see what the Rebels are made of against tougher competition. They host Chattanooga on Tuesday night.
9. Mississippi State (3-0, LW: 11)
The Bulldogs are another team that hasn’t played the toughest competition yet, but they keep winning. Tolu Smith looks like he’s back to 100%, which is a big boost. He’s a first-team All-SEC-caliber player when he’s right. A Monday neutral-site game against Marquette will be our first real chance to see just how good Chris Jans’ team is.
8. LSU (2-0, LW: 9)
LSU has flirted with disaster in both of its games, earning a 74-63 win over Kansas City in the season opener and a 61-52 win over Arkansas State in its second game. The offense misses some of last year’s stars, but Illinois transfer Adam Miller (who missed all of last year with an injury) has been fun to watch. He scored 26 points and was creating some nice looks for himself:
It took Adam Miller approximately four seconds to become LSU’s best player pic.twitter.com/llVXBz1LWN
— Isaac Trotter (@Isaac__Trotter) November 13, 2022
Now it’s up to Matt McMahon and the Tigers to develop some scoring threats around Miller.
7. Mizzou (3-0, LW: 8)
The Tigers are certainly lighting up the scoreboard, having scored 97, 92 and 82 points through 3 games, all wins. The defense could use a little bit of work, but Dennis Gates already has his team playing better offense than it did during the Cuonzo Martin era. Kobe Brown and Noah Carter are leading the team on both ends of the court. If electric scorer Isiaih Mosley can continue to build confidence, the Tigers should continue to rack up wins. There are winnable games on the schedule this week against SIUE and Mississippi Valley State.
6. Tennessee (1-1, LW: 3)
The Vols lost to Colorado in Knoxville on Sunday. That was not a great loss, made even worse by the fact that they shot only 10-for-37 from beyond the 3-point arc. If you’re going to launch this many 3s, you have to be able to make them at more than a 27% clip. We’ll see if Rick Barnes gets his guys to adjust as the season goes on. Live by the 3, die by the 3 is a much more exciting strategy when you are living by it.
5. Texas A&M (2-0, LW: 7)
The Aggies haven’t played the best competition, but they’re winning convincingly. Wade Taylor IV is lighting up the score sheet. Buzz Williams has his guys playing tough defense. The Aggies have cracked the top 25 in the AP Poll this week. We’ll see if they can keep piling up wins and rise even higher than No. 24.
4. Alabama (2-0, LW: 5)
Brandon Miller is coming along even better than expected as an elite freshman for Nate Oats’ squad. In a 95-59 win over a normally tough Liberty team last week, Miller scored 20 points, had 8 rebounds and made 4 of his 5 3-point shots:
If Brandon Miller shoots like he did last night against Liberty, he's a top-seven pick
Confidently firing from deep, rebounding well, handling and knowing when to attack. Miller looks the part of a top offensive option. 20 PTS, 8 REB, 3 AST last night pic.twitter.com/TcQwm48Ce0
— The Box and One (@TheBoxAndOne_) November 12, 2022
He’s a star in the making. Mark Sears also had 22 points in that win, to go with 8 rebounds and 4 assists. The Tide will also eventually get Jahvon Quinerly back, which will be a major boost. There’s plenty of talent in Tuscaloosa!
3. Auburn (2-0, LW: 4)
If Allen Flanigan is back, that’s a huge boost for the Tigers. Flanigan scored 18 points in the Tigers’ most-recent win over South Florida. He went 3-for-6 from long range and also made some nice passes, as evidenced in this highlight video:
All 18 of Allen Flanigan’s points from last night, plus a few good passes: pic.twitter.com/abE85SgFxB
— Jay Phillips (@aubawn) November 12, 2022
It’s so much fun watching Bruce Pearl teams run up and down the floor. This is perhaps the deepest squad in the SEC (along with Kentucky). It’s going to be exciting to see where Flanigan fits in if he’s back to 100%. He was a star 2 seasons ago.
2. Arkansas (2-0, LW: 2)
Ricky Council IV has really stepped up for this team. He’s a veteran transfer and he’s led the Hogs in scoring in both of their contests so far. The defense is already at a great level, but the offense has some work to do. Nick Smith Jr. hasn’t played yet as he recovers from an injury, but Jordan Walsh and Anthony Black both scored in double figures against Fordham. That’s an encouraging sign moving forward.
1. Kentucky (2-0, LW: 1)
The Wildcats haven’t faced the toughest competition in Howard and Duquesne, but they have played really well. Antonio Reeves, the transfer guard from Illinois State, has been electric, leading the team in points in both contests. He’s averaging 20 points per game and is shooting a blistering 55.6% from 3-point range. The competition gets tougher this week, with the Champions Classic matchup against Michigan State looming large on Tuesday night and No. 2 Gonzaga on Sunday. But the Wildcats could potentially get Oscar Tshiebwe back for the game against the Spartans, so the potential to get even better is there.