Conference play is about to hit the midway point and there was plenty of movement in the second edition of our SEC power rankings. The top team remained Texas A&M and the bottom feeder is still Missouri, but everything in between changed this week.
The schedule will also throw a wrinkle into things this week with some SEC teams matching up with the Big 12 in a midseason conference crossover.
Here’s a look at where the conference stands entering the final week of January:
1. Texas A&M (17-2, 7-0)
Last week’s ranking: 1
Last week’s results: Beat LSU 71-57, beat Missouri 66-53
The Aggies slogged past Missouri for their 10th straight victory Saturday. Jalen Jones dropped 20 points and Texas A&M held the Tigers to just 3-of-19 from 3-point range. The Aggies will travel to Arkansas on Wednesday before hosting No. 19 Iowa State on Saturday.
2. Kentucky (15-4, 5-2)
Last week’s ranking: 3
Last week’s results: Beat Arkansas 80-66, beat Vanderbilt 76-57
The Wildcats got back on track with two double-digit victories over middling SEC opponents. Next week presents a tougher task with a home matchup with Missouri before another pivotal road game against No. 3 Kansas.
3. Florida (13-6, 5-2)
Last week’s ranking: 5
Last week’s results: Beat Mississippi State 81-78, beat Auburn 95-63
The Gators are quietly winners of three straight and sit atop the three-way tie for second place in the SEC. Beating Vandy and West Virginia this week would make some noise.
4. South Carolina (17-2, 4-2)
Last week’s ranking: 2
Last week’s results: Beat Ole Miss 77-74, lost to Tennessee 78-69
The Gamecocks barely avoided two losses last week thanks to a late 11-0 run that sent their game against Ole Miss into overtime. South Carolina struggled just as much in Knoxville, Tenn., but couldn’t pull it out late. The Gamecocks must take care of business with two home games against conference cellar dwellers.
5. LSU (12-7, 5-2)
Last week’s ranking: 4
Last week’s results: Lost to Texas A&M 71-57, beat Alabama 72-70
It took a late bucket from Tim Quarterman to get the Tigers out of Tuscaloosa, Ala. with their first road win against Bama since 2004, but every road win helps LSU’s NCAA Tournament chances. A win over No. 1 Oklahoma would put standout freshman Ben Simmons and LSU in the driver’s seat for a tournament bid.
6. Georgia (11-6, 4-3)
Last week’s ranking: 9
Last week’s results: Beat Missouri 60-57, beat Arkansas 76-73
The Bulldogs squeaked out two wins after alternating wins and losses through their first five games of conference play. Georgia will get a chance to prove itself as a conference contender with road games against LSU on Tuesday and No. 13 Baylor on Saturday.
7. Vanderbilt (11-8, 3-4)
Last week’s ranking: 6
Last week’s results: Beat Tennessee 88-74, lost to Kentucky 76-57
The Commodores had their three-game winning streak snapped by Kentucky in blowout fashion and still have plenty of work to do to salvage a tournament bid. The good news is Vanderbilt is back to full strength and has the back-end of the conference slate to make a push.
8. Tennessee (10-9, 3-4)
Last week’s ranking: 12
Last week’s results: Lost to Vanderbilt 88-74, beat South Carolina 78-69
The Volunteers are improving and it showed in their first victory over a ranked opponent in the Rick Barnes era against South Carolina. If Tennessee can ratchet up its team defense, it will be a tough team to beat the rest of the way.
9. Auburn (9-9, 3-4)
Last week’s ranking: 10
Last week’s results: Beat Alabama 83-77, lost to Florida 95-63
Despite a big in-state victory against Alabama early in the week, when the Tigers have been bad they’ve looked really bad. Auburn has lost by double digits in each of its four conference losses and was drubbed by the Gators in Gainesville, Fla.
10. Arkansas (9-10, 3-4)
Last week’s ranking: 7
Last week’s results: Lost to Kentucky 80-66, lost to Georgia 76-73
The Razorbacks have dropped three consecutive games, but have been relatively competitive in each of them. Arkansas will get an opportunity for a major victory when it hosts Texas A&M on Wednesday.
11. Mississippi State (8-10, 1-5)
Last week’s ranking: 13
Last week’s results: Lost to Florida 81-78, beat Ole Miss 83-77
After several close losses, the Bulldogs finally broke through for their first conference victory over their biggest rival. Freshman Malik Newman poured in a career-high 25 points and showed off his NBA potential against the Rebels.
12. Ole Miss (12-7. 2-5)
Last week’s ranking: 8
Last week’s results: Lost to South Carolina 77-74, lost to Mississippi State 83-77
The Rebels are losers of four straight and lost the SEC’s leading scorer, Stefan Moody, to a hamstring injury against the Gamecocks. Moody is day-to-day with the strained hamstring, but it forced him to miss Saturday’s loss to Mississippi State.
13. Alabama (10-8, 1-5)
Last week’s ranking: 11
Last week’s results: Lost to Auburn 83-77, lost to LSU 72-70
The Crimson Tide have dropped three straight since knocking off South Carolina at home.
14. Missouri (8-11, 1-5)
Last week’s ranking: 14
Last week’s results: Lost to Georgia 60-57, lost to Texas A&M 66-53
Mizzou has been playing teams close despite the program’s self-imposed postseason ban. That’s about the only thing coach Kim Anderson can hang his hat on. He will need to motivate the Tigers for Wednesday’s road contest against Kentucky.