Feb 16, 2013; Auburn, AL, USA: Florida Gators guard Kenny Boynton (3) runs a play as Auburn Tigers guard Brian Greene (24) defends during the second half at Auburn Arena. The Gators beat the Tigers 83-52. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

SEC Basketball: 02/18/2013 Power Rankings

1. Florida Gators (21-3, 11-1): The Gators are obviously the best team in the SEC and possibly the best team in the country. Florida is in for a tough test on Tuesday when they travel to Mizzou Arena. The Tigers have a 15-game winning streak at home, which is the 7th longest streak in the nation. Mike Rosario has been hot for Florida, averaging 16 points per game over the last six games. He’s also had a 2.1 assist to turnover ratio during that time period.

2. Missouri Tigers (18-7, 7-5): I might get slack for having Missouri this high, but I still believe they are the second best team in the SEC. It also appears they are starting to feel more comfortable on the road. Saturday’s loss at Arkansas was devastating, but fans will quickly forget about that if the Tigers can upset Florida on Tuesday. Missouri is the only team in the country that has six players averaging double figures in points per game.

3. Alabama Crimson Tide (17-8, 9-3): Too high for the Crimson Tide? It possibly is, but with the loss of Noel for Kentucky, I’m going to place Alabama ahead of them for now. The Tide have a pretty good record but have several bad losses that most likely leaves them on the outside looking in for the NCAA Tournament. Losses against Mercer, Tulane, and Auburn don’t look good on a resume.

4. Kentucky Wildcats (17-8, 8-4): If Saturday is any indication of what we can expect from Kentucky going forward without Nerlens Noel then they are in big trouble. They still have some talent left, so I do expect them to bounce back. It will take a game or two to figure out how to play without Noel. If Kentucky has any chance of making the NCAA Tournament then they need Archie Goodwin to take this team over. Goodwin averages 13.6 points per game but has only averaged 6 points per game over the last three games.

5. Mississippi Rebels (19-6, 8-4): The bubble word is starting to pop up in conversations about Ole Miss. The Rebels are on a slide, going 2-4 over their last six games. Looking at their schedule, they should be able to get hot again over the next two weeks. I don’t think they have much to worry about right now, but they clearly need to regroup going forward.

6. Arkansas Razorbacks (16-9, 7-5): Anyone who followed Mike Anderson’s career at Missouri can’t be surprised at how different Arkansas is on the road compared to at home. The Razorbacks are 1-6 this season in true road games but are 14-1 in Bud Walton Arena. With an RPI ranking of 75 and only one decent non-conference win (Oklahoma), Arkansas has a lot of work to do to make the NCAA Tournament.

7. Tennessee Volunteers (14-10, 6-6): On Saturday, Tennessee absolutely dominated Kentucky, 88-58. Currently, the Volunteers aren’t even in the bubble talk, but if they can get hot down the stretch and pull off an upset or two, then you never know what could happen. Jarnell Stokes has been huge for Tennessee. He has had a double-double in six of his last seven games, averaging 16.28 points and 11.28 rebounds over that time period.

8. LSU Tigers (15-8, 6-6): The Tigers are 5-1 in their last six games, but who have they beaten? Their victory over Missouri was impressive but other then that, they have just beaten up on the bottom feeders of the SEC. This week is big for LSU.  Tuesday, the Tigers will travel to Tennessee, and Saturday, they will host Alabama. 1-1 would be a good record for LSU, but if they go 0-2 this week, then it just proves their recent success was largely schedule driven.

9. Georgia Bulldogs (12-13, 6-6): I wanted to rank Georgia over both Tennessee and LSU, but I couldn’t ignore their 6-7 non-conference record. The Bulldogs won five straight games in late January and early February but have since lost their last two. This week Georgia will travel to Arkansas and then will host South Carolina. 1-1 seems most likely for the Bulldogs but maybe Arkansas will have a let down game after their victory over Mizzou.

10. Texas A&M Aggies (15-10, 5-7): The Aggies have been one of the most difficult teams to judge thus far in the SEC. One day they win at Kentucky, and then they follow that up by losing four straight games. Then in February, they beat Missouri and Ole Miss, but lose to Georgia and Vanderbilt. Elston Turner continues to lead the Aggies in scoring with 16.4 points per game. Turner scored 37 points in last week’s win against Ole Miss.

11. Vanderbilt Commodores (10-14, 4-8): Vanderbilt has been more competitive lately. Last week the Commodores lost at home to Tennessee 58-46, but they bounced back to beat Texas A&M 63-56. With the injury to Nerlens Noel at Kentucky, five out of Vanderbilt’s next six games are very winnable.

12. Auburn Tigers (9-16, 3-9): The Tigers started SEC play at 2-0, but they have since lost 9 out of their last 10 games. Things don’t get easier for Auburn as they host Texas A&M and then travel to Ole Miss and Alabama over the next three games.

13. South Carolina Gamecocks (12-13, 2-10): South Carolina has lost eight of their last nine games and six straight games overall. Freshman, Michael Carrera, leads the team in scoring and rebounding, but he struggled last week. Carrera averaged only 4 points per game in their two losses. Frank Martin is visibly frustrated this team, and has started to publicly criticize them.

14. Mississippi State Bulldogs (7-17, 2-10):  The Bulldogs played brutal basketball last week and have now lost 10 straight games. They barely have enough players to fill a team. Today, Mississippi State announced forward Roquez Johnson will be suspended indefinitely for violating team rules. This possibly could leave the Bulldogs with just five scholarship players. Guard, Jalen Steele, has also been suspended for violating team rules, but he could return this week.


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