SEC Power Rankings, chapter four: Auburn falls from top spot, Kentucky, LSU, Florida move up, Hogs 5th

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My SEC Power Rankings (1/13/20): Auburn started the season 15-0 and 3-0 SEC, but the Tigers were blown out twice last week while LSU remains unbeaten in league play with Kentucky and Florida locked in a two-way tie with only one league loss apiece. Florida, Alabama, Mississippi State, and South Carolina surged last week by going undefeated.

tie 1. Kentucky (13-4, 4-1 SEC) … No. 27 NCAA NET … the ‘Cats let a double-digit second-half lead slip away in a mid-week loss at South Carolina, but when it happened again at Arkansas they responded with a 15-0 run to win on Saturday … Ashton Hagans, Nick Richards, Tyrese Maxey, and Immanuel Quickly have been strong at both ends of the court for a Kentucky team with good depth off the bench … the Wildcats host Georgia on Tuesday before playing at Texas Tech in the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Saturday … previous ranking: No. 2.

tie 1. LSU (13-4, 5-0 SEC) … No. 23 NCAA NET … wins at Texas A&M (by four points) and at Ole Miss (also by four points) last week means the Tigers are now 3-0 in league road games … counting all 18 SEC regular-season games from a season ago, the defending league champs have won 21 of their last 23 regular-season SEC games … aside from a 14-point win at Tennessee in their league opener, the Tigers have won their last 4 games by an average margin of 2.8 points … previous ranking: tie No. 3.

3. Florida (12-5, 4-1 SEC) … No. 39 NCAA NET … the up-and-down Gators had a great week at home, beating Ole Miss by 16 points and Auburn by 22 points while holding the teams to 55 and 47 points, respectively … this after Florida gave up 90-plus points twice early on in SEC play … big men Omar Payne and Kerry Blackshear, Jr., both had double-doubles in scoring and rebounds in the win over Auburn, marking the second time in league play that the Gators had multiple players with a double-double … league game at LSU on Tuesday followed by a home game against No. 1 Baylor in the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Saturday … previous ranking: tie No. 5.

4. Auburn (15-2, 3-2 SEC) … No. 20 NCAA NET … the Tigers went from being one of two NCAA Division 1 unbeateans to losing two road games last week by an average of 20.5 points against Alabama and Florida … Auburn’s high-powered offense was limited to 55.5 points per game in the two losses … Auburn returns home to play surging South Carolina on Wednesday before hosting Iowa State in the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Saturday … previous ranking: No. 1.

5. Arkansas (14-3, 3-2 SEC) … No. 32 NCAA NET … the Hogs have league wins against Texas A&M, Ole Miss, and Vanderbilt, which are a combined 2-11 in the SEC … closes losses at LSU and home against Kentucky were missed opportunities for Quad 1 wins … the Hogs can survive with one or two of Mason Jones, Isaiah Joe, and Jimmy Whitt., Jr. having an off night, but not all three which is what happened against Kentucky … one league game this week — at Mississippi State on Wednesday — followed by a home game against TCU in the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Saturday … previous ranking: tie No. 3.

6. Alabama (10-7, 3-2 SEC) … No. 42 NCAA NET … first-year head coach Nate Oates has the Tide winning 3 of their last 4 games following a two-overtime loss at Florida in the league opener … las week ‘Bama blew out rival and then-unbeaten Auburn by 19 points before disposing of Missouri by 14 points … Kira Lewis and John Petty, Jr., continue to be one of the best backcourt duos in the SEC … league game this week at Vanderbilt before hosting Kansas State in the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Saturday … previous ranking: No. 7. 

7. Mississippi State (11-6, 2-3 SEC) … No. 57 NCAA NET … the Bulldogs are hot at the right time with Arkansas coming in to Starkville, MIss., on Wednesday … MSU started 0-3 in the SEC before beating Missouri and Georgia by a combined margin of 59 points last week, and the Hogs will mark the ‘Dogs third straight home game … sophomore 6-10 forward Reggie Perry is averaging 16.4 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 2.5 assists … after hosting Arkansas on Wednesday the Bulldogs play at Oklahoma in the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Saturday … previous ranking: No. 9.

8. South Carolina (10-7, 2-2 SEC) … No. 98 NCAA NET … the Gamecocks had a great week, upsetting then-No. 10 Kentucky, 81-78, on a buzzer-beating bank-shot off the glass, followed by a road win over Texas A&M, 81-67 … freshman 6-4 guard Jermaine Couisnard blew up for 43 combined points (including 7-of-13 from 3) in those wins … league games this week are at Auburn on Wednesday and home against Vanderbilt on Saturday … previous ranking: No. 13.

tie 9. Georgia (11-6, 1-3 SEC) … No. 73 NCAA NET … Georgia earned a split last week, winning by 17 points at home against Tennessee before losing by 32 points at Mississppi State … freshman sensation Anthony Edwards continues to live up to his 2020 NBA Draft top 3-prospect status … league games this week are at Kentucky on Tuesday and home against Ole Miss on Saturday … previous ranking: No. 8.

tie 9. Tennessee (11-6, 3-2 SEC) … No. 64 NCAA NET … the Vols split games last week, losing 80-63 at Georgia before winning 66-45 at Vandy … senior guard Jordan Bowden hit for 21 points in the win over the Commodores on Saturday … league game this week is at home against Ole Miss on Tuesday before playing at No. 3 Kansas in the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Saturday … previous ranking: No. 6.

11. Missouri (9-8, 1-4 SEC) … No. 75 NCAA NET … the Tigers were on the road last week and got beaten soundly by both MSU and ‘Bama — two teams playing well for now … aside from an impressive 16-point home win over Florida — go figure — the Tigers have lost by double figures in each of their four SEC losses … league game this week at home against Texas A&M before playing at No. 14 West Virginia on Saturday … previous ranking: tie No. 10.

12. Texas A&M (8-8, 2-3 SEC) … No. 146 NCAA NET … the Aggies had won 5 of their previous 6 games before going 0-2 last week against LSU and South Carolina … one of the better scoring defenses in the SEC yielded 80-plus-points in both losses, so Buzz Williams will be looking to get his team back to playing stingy defense … league games this week is at Missouri before hosting Oklahoma Stat in the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Saturday … previous ranking: tie No. 10.

13. Ole Miss (9-8, 0-4 SEC) … No. 113 NCAA NET … the Rebels have fallen down in league play and have lost five straight games overall … senior guard Breein Tyree did score 36 points on Saturday, but Ole Miss loss by four points at home against league-unbeaten LSU … league games this week are both on the road — at Tennesse on Tuesday and at Georgia on Saturday … previous ranking: No. 12.

14. Vanderbilt (8-9, 0-4 SEC) … No. 143 NCAA NET … the ‘Dores are possibly, if not likely, looking at a second-consecutive season of going 0-18 in league play after losing SEC leading scorer Aaron Nesmith, whose season appears to be over due to a right foot injury … counting the last two SEC tournaments, Vandy has lost 24 consecutive games against league opponents dating back to the 2017-18 season … league games this week are home against Alabama on Wednesday and at South Carolina on Saturday … previous ranking: No. 14.

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