Thanksgiving Week was a feast for the college basketball fanatics out there and the SEC represented well.
Kentucky kept rolling along while Texas A&M, Alabama, and Vanderbilt all made big statements on national stages. LSU and Florida faltered a bit, and Arkansas is encountering tough sledding without their stars from last season.
Here is how the conference stacks up:
1. Kentucky Wildcats- 6-0
Kentucky got another pair of 20 point wins over the holiday weekend by throttling Boston University and South Florida. But it all wasn't lollipops and rainbows. Big Blue Nation got a bit of a fright in the first half of the South Florida game as star point guard Tyler Ulis went down with a right arm injury. Ulis hyperextended his elbow and is listed as day-to-day. My guess is that he sits one more game before heading to UCLA to face the Bruins.
This Week: 11/30 vs. Illinois State, 12/3 at UCLA
2. Texas A&M Aggies- 6-1
The Aggies made a strong showing in the Battle for Atlantis but fell to the Syracuse Orange 74-67 in the championship game. On the way to the title game, A&M defeated Texas and Gonzaga. Billy Kennedy's team is making some noise and we should expect them to be in the top 25 for the remainder of the season.
This Week: 12/2 vs. FGCU, 12/5 at Arizona State
3. Vanderbilt Commodores- 6-1
Like Texas A&M, the Commodores made a splash in an overseas tournament. Vandy made quite the showing in the Maui Invitational, crushing St. John's and Wake Forest before losing to Kansas in the championship. Wade Baldwin IV and Damian Jones showed they are the real deal, but the 'Dores had a hard time defending all of the stellar athletes that Bill Self has on his team. Defense will be the question for Kevin Stallings, but he has one of the best offensive teams in the nation.
This Week: 12/2 vs. Detroit, 12/5 at Baylor
4. South Carolina Gamecocks- 6-0
While Frank Martin's team lacks the sexy out-of-conference schedule, they are still the only undefeated team in the SEC along with the Kentucky Wildcats. They are destroying the teams they are supposed to outside of a close game against a good Tulsa team. We still won't know much about them before they get into conference play, as their schedule stays light until they play Memphis at the beginning of January. But for now they deserve to be here.
This Week: 11/30 vs. WCU, 12/5 vs. South Florida
5. Florida Gators- 5-1
The Gators got a big wake-up call when they went down 85-70 to a very good Purdue team. After that, they easily beat a couple of cupcakes. I'm not sure how good this Gator team is, the one example we have of them playing against good competition wasn't pretty. They will have a few more chances at redemption soon enough. They play the Richmond Spiders and the Miami Hurricanes in consecutive games.
This Week: 12/1 vs. Richmond
6. Alabama Crimson Tide- 4-2
Break up Avery Johnson's Tide team! They went from near the bottom of the barrel to near the top with a pair of back-to-back wins over top 25 opponents. First, they knocked off Wichita State 64-60 and then followed that performance by beating Notre Dame 74-73 in dramatic fashion. Whatever Johnson's message is, it's getting through. He doesn't have a lot of talent to work with, but his guys fight hard and play passionate basketball.
This Week: 12/4 at Southern Mississippi
7. LSU Tigers- 3-2
Johnny Jones is doing his thing: underachieving with stellar talent. The Tigers had no business losing to unranked Marquette and unranked North Carolina State, yet here we are. Is he getting the most out of Ben Simmons? Nope, not even close. He is misusing his star player, making him defer too much to his supporting cast. Put the ball in his hands and let him work.
This Week: 11/30 at College of Charleston, 12/2 vs. North Florida
After losing two out of three games, the Rebs bounced back by beating Georgia State and Bradley, although by single digits in both games. Stefan Moody is still doing his thing scoring 22 points per game, but the rest of the team has been average at best.
This Week: 12/5 at UMass
9. Auburn Tigers- 3-1
3-1 is a pretty good record, but Bruce Pearl's team hasn't played nearly enough games or games against quality teams. So here they will sit until they do something worth noting.
This Week: 12/2 at Coastal Carolina
10. Tennessee Volunteers- 4-3
After a decent start, the Vols took it on the chin losing two straight to a good George Washington team and then to a mediocre to bad Nebraska team by nine points. Things won't get easier as they have to travel to Indianapolis to play Butler on their home court.
This Week: Off
11. Mississippi State Bulldogs- 3-3
After losing three games to some decent competition, Ben Howland's team took care of business against inferior opponents. Star freshman Malik Newman has yet to get on track, but one would think the Dogs will improve once he does. This Week: 12/2 vs. Texas Southern
12. Arkansas Razorbacks- 2-3
While they Razorbacks may not be all that bad, Georgia Tech and Stanford aren't all that great either, and the Hogs own a two-game losing streak thanks to them. Mike Anderson has some uphill climbing to do.
This Week: 12/1 vs. NWST, 12/ 4 at Wake Forest
13. Georgia Bulldogs- 2-2
The Bulldogs are like many teams at the bottom of the list; they haven't played anybody and the few wins they have aren't impressive. They will have a chance to prove themselves this week with two games against quality teams.
This Week: 12/1 vs. Oakland, 12/4 vs. Kansas State
14. Missouri Tigers- 2-3
Yikes, Mizzou. Three losses in a row to a good Xavier team, a pretty good Kansas State team, and a less than good Northwestern team. If they lose to this week's opponents, go ahead and kiss the NCAA tournament and maybe even the NIT goodbye. And it's not even January.
This Week: 12/1 vs. Arkansas State, 12/4 vs. Northern Illinois