SEC Men’s Basketball Power Rankings – SEC Tourney Edition

 

The regular season has come to a close, and seeding has been placed for the SEC Tournament. It will begin Wednesday, March 13th and will last until Sunday, when a Tournament Champion will be crowned. Who will be take home the title in Nashville this year?

 

Final SEC Seeding 

  1. LSU  16-2
  2. Kentucky  15-3
  3. Tennessee  15-3
  4. South Carolina  11-7
  5. Auburn  11-7
  6. Mississippi State  10-8
  7. Ole Miss  10-8
  8. Florida  9-9
  9. Arkansas  8-10
  10. Alabama  8-10
  11. Texas A&M  6-12
  12. Missouri  5-13
  13. Georgia  2-16
  14. Vanderbilt  0-18

 

 

Tournament Power Rankings

  1. Kentucky Wildcats 26-5 (15-3)
    • SEC Seed – #2
    • NCAA Bracketology – 1 Seed
    • Kentucky, LSU, and Tennessee all have extremely close resumes, but the Wildcats have a slight edge over the two. They are a projected 1-seed by Joe Lunardi, and are led by a talented roster of several All-SEC players, as well as one of the Co-Defensive Players of the Year. They will likely need to face the Volunteers in the semi-finals before reaching the Championship game. To keep their 1-seed for the NCAA Tournament, they will need to at least beat Tennessee in the semi-finals, and if they lose the championship game it probably won’t be a dealbreaker.
  2. Tennessee Volunteers 27-4 (15-3)

    • SEC Seed – #3
    • NCAA Bracketology – 2 Seed 
    • The Vols dropped their final game of the season against Auburn and that loss prevented them from winning a share of the SEC in back-to-back regular seasons. They finished the season undefeated at home, but have lost 3 of their last 4 road games. Every loss but the Auburn one has come against a ranked opponent, giving them one of the best resumes in the country. To reclaim a 1-seed however, they will at the very least need to beat Kentucky in the semi-finals of the SECT. An SECG Title would go a long way as well.
  3. LSU Tigers 26-5 (16-2)

    • SEC Seed – #1
    • NCAA Bracketology – 2 Seed 
    • LSU may have won the SEC regular season outright and earned a 1-seed for the SECT, but Coach Will Wade was suspended indefinitely amid the FBI investigations, and Javonte Smart sat out Saturday’s finale against Vanderbilt. Naz Reid also sat out for that game, but because of an injury. The game against Vanderbilt wasn’t a good gauge on how well they can play without these major contributors, but you would have to think that without them, and with the shadow of the FBI case looming over Baton Rouge, it will be a lot more difficult to win the SEC Tournament.
  4. Auburn Tigers  22-9 (11-7)
    • SEC Seed – #5 
    • NCAA Bracketology – 5 Seed
    • Auburn might finally (emphasis on finally) be getting it together this season. They have looked like a mid-tier team in the conference for most of the season, and just a couple weeks ago were 7-7 in SEC play. After being routed by Kentucky, they ended the season on a 4-game winning streak, capping it off with a convincing upset over the #5 Volunteers. They have slightly better wins than the Gamecocks, and they are playing better basketball going into this Tournament.
  5. South Carolina Gamecocks  16-15 (11-7)

    • SEC Seed – #4
    • Don’t let the overall record fool you, South Carolina has been a night and day difference from their conference and out-of-conference schedules. Here I have Carolina just slightly back from their current seeding, mainly because of the reasons I stated above — they aren’t playing as together at the right time, and Auburn has a slightly better resume. The Gamecocks do have an easier road through the Tournament with their double-bye, but it will be tough for either team to get through LSU to the Championship. They are not projected to make the NCAAT, but a couple wins could possibly put them on the bubble.
  6. Mississippi State Bulldogs 22-9 (10-8)

    • SEC Seed – #6
    • NCAA Bracketology – 6 Seed 
    • Mississippi State had a fairly easy out of conference schedule, and it showed once they hit conference play. They were 12-1 before SEC play began, sporting one of the best records in the SEC. They then went 10-8 against SEC teams, and went from the #14 team in the country to now unranked and looking at a 6-seed in the NCAA Tournament, which probably wont be affected much by the SEC Tournament. They have a tough path to navigate through in the Conference Tournament, and will have to face Tennessee and Kentucky before even getting to the Championship. They went 0-3 against the two, and were outscored 218-176.
  7. Ole Miss Rebels 20-11 (10-8)
    • SEC Seed – #7 
    • NCAA Bracketology – 9 Seed 
    • Stop me if you’ve heard this story before. An SEC team is picked to finish in the bottom of the conference, but they take the conference by storm and the head coach wins SEC Coach of the Year. Now, they didn’t win the SEC regular season like the Vols did last year, but that doesn’t take away from how impressive of a season the Rebels had. They have also lived and died by the streak this season, which doesn’t give strong testament to their consistency. Their first game of the Tournament will be on Day 2 against Alabama, who they lost to on the road by 21 points.
  8. Florida Gators 17-14 (9-9)
    • SEC Seed – #8 
    • NCAA Bracketology – 11 Seed 
    • Florida seemed to be getting everything together toward the end of the season before ending it with a 3-game losing skid. Granted, two of their losses were against LSU and Kentucky. The loss against Georgia was by far their worst SEC loss of the season, which may be a red flag heading into the tournament. They are currently projected as an 11 seed and one of the last teams in, but that’s a bubble that could burst with a first game exit from the SEC Tournament. The good news is they will be playing Arkansas, who they did beat by 6 on the road.
  9. Alabama Crimson Tide 17-14 (8-10)
    • SEC Seed – #10 
    • NCAA Bracketology – On The Bubble/First Four Out 
    • Alabama may be the 10-seed in the SECT, but I gave them an edge over the 9-seed Hogs because of better wins/losses. It is a small edge however. The Tide has slipped up over the last 2 weeks, letting their 3 game lead over Arkansas dwindle to a tie, and their NCAAT projections have slipped to the outside of the bubble. One win in the SECT may be all that Alabama needs, but a fourth consecutive loss will likely send them to the NIT.
  10. Arkansas Razorbacks 17-14 (8-10)
    • SEC Seed – #9 
    • A couple weeks ago, Arkansas was 14-14, 5-10 and in the midst of a 6-game losing streak. Then they found a way to steal a game from Ole Miss, dominated Vanderbilt, and looked solid against Alabama. They’re playing really well right now compared to the rest of the season, but how long can that last? Their first game against Florida will be a rematch of the 57-51 Arkansas loss in January, but both teams are playing a lot differently than two months ago. Also, if Arkansas can win multiple games and make a deep run, they may be looking at a very late NCAA Tournament bid.
  11. Texas A&M Aggies 13-17 (6-12)

    • SEC Seed – #11
    • The last four in the SEC is probably the third big divider between level of play. All teams playing on the first day of the tournament likely won’t win in the second round, but if any team can do it, it would be Texas A&M. They have gone 3-1 against teams below them, swept Alabama and split the series against Arkansas. The Aggies and the teams below them won’t be making the NCAAT, but A&M and Mizzou could have a shot at the NIT.
  12. Missouri Tigers 14-16 (5-13)
    • SEC Seed – #12 
    • The Missouri Tigers finished the season winning 2 of their last 3, but also averaging more points given up than scored. Like Vanderbilt and Mississippi State, it has been disappointing ever since conference play began. The Tigers were 9-3 for the first part of the year before their SEC stretch.
  13. Georgia Bulldogs 11-20 (2-16)
    • SEC Seed – #13
    • 8-4 before SEC play isn’t bad, but isn’t great either, especially with losses to Georgia State and Temple. Then they opened SEC play with a 40-point blowout loss to Tennessee, and it didn’t get much better for the Bulldogs. For their only two conference wins, they defeated Vanderbilt at home and Florida on the road. Their First Round game will be a rematch of a 64-39 blowout loss to Missouri.
  14. Vanderbilt Commodores  9-22 (0-18)
    • SEC Seed – #14
    • Vanderbilt is *still* in a losing streak, which has now compiled to 19 straight losses. They did, believe it or not, have 9-4 record at one point this season. Without one single conference win over the course of an entire season, it is highly unlikely they see one in the Tournament or even make the NIT. Their First Round game against Texas A&M will probably be their last of this season.

 

*Rankings are determined based on the quality of wins and losses against SEC opponents, as well as how navigable their path to a Championship is. 

 

Written by Dylan Vogel, ESPN Chattanooga Contributor