Originally posted on Race Review Online  |  Last updated 1/9/12


On the first weekend of conference games we saw two ranked teams going down on the road. There was a Terrence Jones siting in Lexington. Tennessee is set to add a top 15 recruit mid season. Outside of Kentucky being the class of the conference the next few spots appear as if they will be changing a lot this season. Spots two through eight are all within one game of each other.   So let's rank 'em.

Last weeks rankings in ().

1. Kentucky 15-1 (1)  Last week the Wildcats beat Arkansas-Little Rock 73-51 and South Carolina 79-64.  I've said it before and I will continue to say it, this is the best team in the country. I know they have a loss, but I will be shocked if they aren't cutting down the nets in April.  As long as Terrence Jones continues to play the way he played last week they will have the best combination of bigs in the country with him and Anthony Davis.  Next weeks games on 1/11 at Auburn and on 1/14 at Tennessee.   2. Alabama 12-3 (5)  Last week the Tide won at Georgia Tech 73-48 and won at Georgia 74-59.  Bama was ranked as high as #12 this season, but after losing 3 of 4 to Georgetown, Dayton, and Kansas St. they fell from the rankings.  Since the last loss to KSU the Tide have not let an opponent score in the 60's and Tony Mitchell has been heating up, averaging 16ppg, 7rpg, and 2bpg.  Next weeks games on 1/11 vs LSU and on 1/14 at #20 Mississippi St.   3. Mississippi St. 13-3 (3)  Last week the Bulldogs lost at Arkansas 88-98.  State only played one game last week but it wasn't pretty.  They got caught up in the fast paced game that Arkansas prefers and could not keep up. The Bulldogs are better suited slowing down and relying on the inside/outside combo of Moultrie and Bost. As long as they control the pace of the game they can continue being a top 25 team.  Next weeks games on 1/12 vs Tennessee and on 1/14 vs Alabama.   4. Vanderbilt 11-4 (4)  Last week the Commodores beat Auburn 65-35. Vandy continues the run they've been on since the return of Festus Ezeli.  The Dores are the hottest team in the SEC not named Kentucky. They have won three in a row since Ezeli's return, and five in a row overall.  During this current five game streak they are beating opponents on average by 22.6 points.   Next weeks games 1/10 at South Carolina and on 1/14 vs Georgia.

5. Florida 12-4 (2)  Last week the Gators beat UAB 79-61 and lost at Tennessee 56-67.  Not a good week for the Gators.  They still have yet to win on the road and they were outplayed in a facets of the game by Tennessee.  Florida beat up on some lesser opponents early in the season but they were the ones bullied on Saturday.  We know the Gators can score but they need to be tougher. Next weeks games on 1/10 vs Georgia and on 1/14 at South Carolina

6. Louisiana St. 11-4 (6)  Last week the Tigers beat Mississippi 81-55. A team that was predicted to finish fifth or sixth in the West this year continues to prove people wrong. When you talk about LSU it's normally about the football team and their hard hitting defense.  Well the basketball team can play some D too, they have allowed more than 60 points only once in their last twelve games and that game went to overtime.  Next weeks games on 1/11 at Alabama and on 1/14 at Arkansas.

7. Arkansas 12-3 (7)  Last week the Razorbacks beat Savannah St. 83-66 and #16 Mississippi St. 98-88.  "Forty Minutes of Hell" is back. Nolan Richardson's Razorbacks of the 90's would press you the whole game, they would only attempt dunks and threes it seemed like.  Well Richardson disciple Mike Anderson has brought back the heat to Fayetteville.   The Hogs pressured #16 Mississippi St. into 18 turnovers while shooting 56.5%.  Next weeks games on 1/11 vs Mississippi and on 1/14 vs LSU.   8. Tennessee 8-7 (11)  Last week the Volunteers lost at Memphis 69-51 and beat #14 Florida 56-67.  The Vols got bullied around versus rival Memphis last week, and the beating they took seemed to light a fire under this team. From the tip against Florida the Vols were the aggressors.  They contended almost every shot, they boxed out better than they have all season, and they pushed the Gators around.  This team still has another trick up their sleeve as well, top 15 recruit Jarnell Stokes should be making his debut in the coming week or so. Next weeks games on 1/12 at #20 Mississippi St. and on 1/14 vs #2 Kentucky.

9. Mississippi 10-5 (8)  Last week the Rebels beat SMU 50-48 and lost at LSU 81-55.  Ole Miss has been on a slide as of late losing four of their last five. They still don't have a loss to a team outside of the RPI top 100 but they also don't have any good wins.  The Rebels need a win versus a top 50 team soon if they have any aspirations of making the NCAA Tournament.  Getting that much needed W over a top team will be harder now with the dismissal of leading scorer Dundrecous Nelson.  Next weeks games on 1/11 vs Arkansas and on 1/14 at Auburn.

10. Georgia 9-6 (10)  Last week the Bulldogs lost to Alabama 74-59. Four of Georgia's top seven players are freshmen or sophomores so you will see some mistakes in their games.  They are young but they are scrappy and they have the talent to trip up some teams in conference play if they aren't taken seriously.  Next weeks games on 1/10 at #19 Florida and on 1/14 at Vanderbilt.

11. Auburn 10-5 (9)  Last week the Tigers lost at Florida St. 85-56 and lost at Vanderbilt 65-35.  It may be a different season but once again Auburn has racked up wins versus inferior teams and now seems poised to take their spot at the bottom of the conference.  Every year they beat up on cream puffs, then they turn into the cream puff when SEC games start.  Losses by 30 can happen whenever you have a bad game but back-to-back games losing by 29 then 30, that's bad.  Next weeks games on 1/11 vs #2 Kentucky and on 1/14 vs Mississippi.

12. South Carolina 8-7 (12)  Last week the Gamecocks beat South Carolina St. 79-51 and lost at #2 Kentucky 79-64.  Once again South Carolina played a ranked opponent and once again they lost convincingly.  South Carolina has the athletes to hang defensively with teams but they just can't score.  I don't see South Carolina moving from this spot all season.  Next weeks games on 1/10 vs Vanderbilt and on 1/14 vs #19 Florida.   Please follow me on Twitter @rmarbury 
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