SEC Basketball Power Rankings: Texas A&M falls after rough week, Auburn and Alabama continue to impress
Welcome to Feast Week, y’all!
Arkansas is out in Hawaii competing in the Maui Invitational. LSU is at the Cayman Islands Classic. Auburn is at the Cancun Challenges. Tennessee is at the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas. Alabama and Florida are involved in the Phil Knight events in Oregon.
It’s a great week to be a college hoops fan! Early season tournaments are a ton of fun to watch and, more importantly, there’s basketball on TV all day, every day.
So where do things stand as we approach Thanksgiving? Here’s a look at the updated SEC power rankings:
14. Vanderbilt (2-2 overall, Last Week: 14)
The Commodores got back on track this past week with back-to-back wins. But victories over Temple (in overtime) and Morehead State won’t exactly move the needle on this squad. A game against Saint Mary’s on Wednesday is going to be a very difficult one for Jerry Stackhouse and company.
13. South Carolina (2-3, LW: 11)
In the past week, the Gamecocks have lost to Davidson and Furman. At this point, even Friday’s matchup against SC Upstate in Charleston is no easy task. Outside of GG Jackson, this team doesn’t have much scoring power. It’s going to be a long year for the Gamecocks.
12. Georgia (4-1, LW: 13)
Georgia picked up a decent win on Monday night in the Sunshine Slam over Saint Joseph’s, 66-53. The problem? After taking a 38-15 lead into halftime, the Bulldogs were outscored by 10 in the second half. Mike White is going to have to stress that games are 40 minutes long to this team moving forward.
11. Texas A&M (3-2, LW: 5)
No one has had a worse week than the Aggies. Buzz Williams’ team has dropped matchups to Murray State and Colorado. The loss to the Buffaloes was a blowout affair. After getting to No. 24 in the AP Poll, it seems the Aggies took their foot off the gas pedal. We’ll see if Texas A&M can regroup as the season goes on.
10. Ole Miss (4-0, LW: 10)
I’m going to mention this about a few teams moving forward in these rankings, so I’ll make a blanket statement now. You don’t move up by leaps and bounds in these rankings without some halfway decent wins against somewhat tough competition. Ole Miss won’t face a particularly tough foe until Thursday, when the Rebels take on Stanford in the ESPN Events Invitational in Florida. If they manage to win that game, they’re certainly a team to keep an eye on as more difficult competition looms in December.
9. Florida (3-1, LW: 12)
The Gators lost to Florida Atlantic recently, which was one of the worst losses of the young SEC season. But then they bounced back to earn a comeback win against a cratering Florida State program. Still, trailing 43-26 at halftime against an 0-4 Seminole squad wasn’t a good look. The Gators will play at the Phil Knight Legacy tournament in Oregon this week. That’ll be a good proving ground for Todd Golden’s team.
8. Mississippi State (5-0, LW: 9)
Mississippi State has jumped out to an impressive 5-0 record in Chris Jans’ first year at the helm of the program. On Monday, in their first game of the Fort Myers Tip Off, the Bulldogs earned a thrilling 58-55 win over Marquette. Now, a final matchup against Utah awaits on Wednesday. It still won’t be a signature win, but it would be the best victory yet for the Bulldogs.
7. Mizzou (5-0, LW: 7)
D’Moi Hodge, a Cleveland State transfer, has become a star for the Tigers. He scored 30 points against SIUE on Tuesday and added 18 more against Mississippi Valley State on Sunday. That earned him SEC Player of the Week honors. Here’s a look at his highlight reel from the SIUE game:
Missouri brought in a slew of transfers this offseason, one of our favorites was Horizon League DPOY last season, D'Moi Hodge. We weren't expecting much from him on offense this season.
But the grad transfer from Cleveland State dropped 30 tonight, hopefully, he can keep it up. pic.twitter.com/ah5Wz1ykzE
— On The Clock (@OnThe_ClockBB) November 16, 2022
If he can keep up that level of play offensively, Mizzou has a superstar in the making. At 5-0, the Tigers currently have the most wins in the SEC (tied with Mississippi State). Dennis Gates is off to a hot start in Columbia!
6. LSU (4-0, LW: 8)
LSU is playing in the Cayman Islands Classic this week. If KJ Williams keeps playing the way he did against Illinois State on Monday, the Tigers might just earn themselves a trophy to start the year. Here’s a look at his stat line against Illinois State:
KJ Williams’ Monday:
◽️2 steals pic.twitter.com/mV5apytR98
— LSU Basketball (@LSUBasketball) November 21, 2022
There isn’t a ton of competition for the Tigers in this early tournament, but it will be a good building block for Matt McMahon and company as they learn an entirely new system with new players.
5. Tennessee (2-1, LW: 6)
Thanksgiving in the Bahamas. Not a bad way to spend the holiday for Rick Barnes and company. The Vols open the festivities at the Battle 4 Atlantis against Butler on Wednesday. If the Vols can advance to the final of the prestigious Feast Week tournament, Kansas could be waiting. That would be a huge confidence and résumé booster for the Vols.
4. Kentucky (3-2, LW: 1)
Kentucky has now lost to Michigan State and Gonzaga. Those are quality teams, yes, but John Calipari isn’t making the millions of dollars he makes every year to keep things close against NCAA Tournament-caliber foes. He’s getting paid to lead the Wildcats to Final Fours and national titles. He needs to figure out what buttons to press with this experienced squad moving forward or there are going to be plenty of angry fans in Lexington.
3. Alabama (4-0, LW: 4)
Alabama is another team that will see its level of competition upped this week. Starting on Thanksgiving Day, the Tide will compete in the Phil Knight Invitational in Oregon. Their first opponent? No. 12 Michigan State. A win in that matchup would potentially send the Tide to a semifinal game against No. 20 UConn. A second victory could vault the No. 18 Alabama squad into a Sunday title bout against No. 1 North Carolina. What a run that will be for Nate Oats’ crew!
2. Auburn (4-0, LW: 3)
The Tigers have been torching the nets so far this year as they continue to prove they’re one of the deepest teams in the country. It hasn’t been against the best competition thus far, but that has a chance to improve a bit this week in Cancun. The Tigers will take on Bradley on Tuesday and, should they win, they’ll face the winner of Liberty-Northwestern on Wednesday with a chance to win a trophy.
1. Arkansas (4-0, LW: 2)
The Razorbacks got off to a great start in Maui, earning an 80-54 beatdown victory over Louisville. It was a coming out party for Anthony Black, who had the best game of his freshman season thus far. He scored 26 points, dished out 6 assists and added 3 rebounds and 2 steals. He also made 3 of his 5 3-point attempts:
— B/R Hoops (@brhoops) November 22, 2022
We’ll see if he can continue to dominate, as Arkansas doesn’t have to wait long for its next test. The Hogs, No. 9 in this week’s AP Poll, take on No. 10 Creighton on Tuesday. That’ll be a big-time matchup for Eric Musselman’s crew.