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It’s official, the SEC is going to come down to a three-team race. Tennessee, LSU, and Kentucky. It seems as if the SEC is not as deep as we thought it would be. Or, beyond those three teams listed, the rest is beating up on each other. Because the second tier of Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and Auburn have fallen off substantially. This doesn’t mean that the SEC won’t get their fair share of teams into the tourney, it just means that the seeding of those teams will be significantly different than expected.

Historical Performance

The SEC entered the week with six teams in the AP Top 25. There are the expected teams in the top 10 (Tennessee and Kentucky) and then you have some teams overachieving. Like Ole Miss. But, that train might be coming to a stop. The Rebels have lost two of their last three following wins over ranked in opponents such as Auburn and a road win at Mississippi State. The Rebels are coming off a 21-point embarrassment against Alabama. And to keep it on the topic of unexpected teams, South Carolina just keeps winning. Frank Martin’s squad is tied for third in the SEC with Kentucky.

Defensive Minded

The SEC currently has five ranked teams in the AP Top 25. There’re the usual suspects like Tennessee, Kentucky, and Auburn. But, there are some dark horse teams separating themselves, one that most thought would be at the bottom of the barrel heading into conference play. Yes, we’re talking about Kermit Davis’ Ole Miss Rebels. Davis is in the conversation for not only SEC Coach of the Year, but NCAA Coach of the Year. But to sum up the depth of the SEC so far this year, two of the top three teams in the current standings are not ranked.

Ace in the Hole

The SEC Gauntlet has begun. With four teams ranked in the top-20 and solid coaching top to bottom there will be no off-night in this league. Unless your Tennessee because they dismantled Georgia. But Kentucky learned that immediately during their trip to Tuscaloosa. The Crimson Tide had a losing streak of 21 games to ranked opponents prior to Johnson’s arrival. Avery Johnson is now 12-10 against such opponents during his tenure as Alabama’s head coach. The SEC is trending up and should make for interesting league play. That is if Tennessee doesn’t run away with the title.

Cool Cat

For those of you jumping on the college hoops train with this break for bowl season, there’s a lot to talk about. SEC? Pretty good. Tennessee has been better than expected, and they were a top-five team heading into the preseason. Crazy to think a co-champion of the SEC returning all it’s players from a year ago made them…better. But seriously, Auburn is as good as advertised. Mississippi State is 11-1 and ranked in the AP poll. My pick to win the SEC, Kentucky? Eh.

SEC Conference Wrap Up

SEC Player of the Year

Grant Williams (Tennessee)

Grant WilliamsGrant WilliamsGrant Williams may be on the shorter side for a power forward at just 6’7, but he is a man-child. He averaged 15 points per game, up from 12 during his freshman season. And managed to average 6.3 boards per game.

A Jaunt Through the Park

Last week I discussed whether an elite team would emerge from the SEC, and how it seemed to be the Auburn Tigers. Most people jump on the bandwagon of the trending team, but with two losses and Bruce Pearl’s Tigers looking better and better, it seemed as if they were going to be the one. But, the SEC this year is just too good. Texas A&M is tied for eighth in the SEC and went into Auburn Arena, a place they haven’t lost all year, and knocked off the No. 8 team in the country.

Fort Knox

It may have been a while without analysis of SEC basketball, but I am back, and so is the SEC. Over the course of the past month or so we have learned that the SEC is made up of plenty of solid basketball teams.

Army of One

Let’s address the elephant in the room immediately: Alabama did indeed play with three players for the final 11 minutes of their game against Minnesota following their entire bench getting ejected, Dazon Ingram fouling out, and John Petty getting injured. The Crimson Tide indeed outscored the Golden Gophers from that point on and cut in to their lead to fall just short 89-84, after closing the lead to 3.

School of Hard Knox

College basketball is officially back. Opening weekend never gets people that excited because it consists of big schools paying a bunch of money to smaller schools to blow them out. Unless someone decided to take a risk like Billy Kennedy and the Aggies and open against a top-15 team. But, A&M came out better than most expected and embarrassed West Virginia as if they were a smaller school 88-65 in the Armed Forces Classic in Germany. After eight long months of no collegiate basketball, it finally hits you that it is back the morning of the Champions Classic.

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