SEC Power Rankings: Florida's run at history down to final week
MAR 03, 2014 5:37p ET
Kentucky ran the SEC table at 16-0 three times during the league's 16-game league schedule from 1992-2011. During the previous 18-game league schedule that ran from 1967-91, no team went undefeated in league play.
Florida (16-0 in SeC) continues to add to its program standards with regular-season wins (27), winning streak (21) and home winning streak (31). A sellout crowd rocked the OâConnell Center on Saturday, with the Gators claiming a second straight SEC regular-season title (beating LSU).
"You don't want to play like you're trying to protect something," Gators coach Billy Donovan said, "where you're back on your heels (worrying) about losing No. 1, not losing at home, wanting to keep this streak going.
"You don't want to get to a point where you're trying to avoid things and prevent things (because), inevitably, you get tight, frozen and you don't play."
Heading into the last week of regular season play, leading into next week's conference tournament in Atlanta, here are the SEC Power Rankings:
1 -- FLORIDA (27-2, 16-0)
After hitting the game-winning shot at Vanderbilt while breaking out of a 10-game shooting slump, sophomore forward Dorian Finney-Smith (160 points) came off the bench again to guide the Gators to a home win over LSU.
Florida's scoring defense (58.7) tops the league and ranks sixth in the country. LSU was held to its lowest scoring tally of the season (61).
2 -- KENTUCKY (21-8, 11-5)
The Wildcats, featuring one of the nation's youngest playing rotations, might have run into the proverbial "wall" last week, incurring upsets to Arkansas (home) and South Carolina (road). The Razorbacks outlasted the 'Cats in overtime at Rupp Arena, clinching the series sweep.
A few days later, 11-win South Carolina played its game of the year in knocking off the Wildcats, who didn't have coach John Calipari (two technical fouls -- ejection) for part of the second half.
3 -- TENNESSEE (18-11, 9-7)
The Vols probably jumped back on the good side of the NCAA tourney bubble by beating teams -- Mississippi State and Vanderbilt -- they had to beat. Take care of business on Wednesday (at Auburn) and Saturday (vs. Missouri) and Tennessee might be a lock for the NCAAs.
Junior forward Jarnell Stokes and Kentucky freshman forward Julius Randle are in a dead heat for the SEC rebounding crown (10.4 boards per game). Prior to its 38-point blowout of Vanderbilt on Saturday, Tennessee retired the No. 14 jersey of Vols great Dale Ellis.
4 -- ARKANSAS (20-9, 9-7)
Hello, Razorbacks, welcome to the good side of the NCAA tourney bubble. That territory comes with earning a second signature win over Kentucky, along with winning seven of eight games (including five in a row).
Senior forward Coty Clarke was named SEC Player of the Week after scoring a career-high 23 points in Saturday's win over Georgia; and against Kentucky, he scored seven of the Hogs' final 11 points in overtime.
5 -- GEORGIA (16-12, 10-6)
Sitting alone in third place, standings-wise, it would be quite an achievement for the 10-6 Bulldogs to gain that seed in the SEC tourney. That would mean a double-bye into Friday's quarterfinal round.
In sweeping Missouri, Georgia racked up 10 conference wins for the first time since 2003, while also clinching its seventh winning campaign in league play since 1990.
6 -- MISSOURI (20-9, 8-8)
Hear that hissing? That's the air seeping from Missouri's NCAA tourney balloon. Winning only twice in eight SEC road games, the Tigers (four straight road defeats) now need a deep SEC tourney run to reach the NCAAs.
Junior guard Jabari Brown (20.1) has a slim lead over Auburn senior guard Chris Denson (19.9) for the league scoring title. Brown also tops the league in 3-point shooting (43 percent).
7 -- LSU (17-11, 8-8)
Needing a signature win at Florida, the Tigers were outclassed and never contended. Prior to that defeat, though, LSU's scoring defense -- which ranks last in SEC play (72.1 points per game) -- enjoyed its best defensive effort of the season, holding Texas A&M to just 49 points.
Junior forward Johnny O'Bryant III has scored in double figures in 13 of 16 SEC games.
8 -- TEXAS A&M (17-12, 8-8)
Sophomore point guard Alex Caruso, who leads the SEC in assists (4.8), became the 15th Aggie to record 250 career assists and just the eighth to do it in two seasons. Texas A&M has the lowest home attendance (5,361) in the league, despite going 16-2 at Reed Arena this season.
9 -- OLE MISS (17-12, 8-8)
Junior guard Jarvis Summers won the C. Spire Howell Trophy as the state of Mississippi's top college basketball player. The award, named after former Mississippi State star Bailey Howell, is presented by the Mississippi State Hall of Fame.
Summers has raised his scoring average from 9.1 ppg last season to 17.2 this year (ranking eighth in the SEC). Summers edged teammate Marshall Henderson and Southern Miss's Neil Watson for the award.
10 -- VANDERBILT (15-13, 7-9)
Over the weekend, Commodores coach Kevin Stallings came to the defense of embattled Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin, a fellow Purdue alum and longtime friend. Then, Vanderbilt went out and lost by 38 points, in the Vols' most lopsided victory in the series.
11 -- ALABAMA (12-17, 6-10)
Hale had a game-high 27 points and nine rebounds, both season highs, in the loss to Ole Miss. On Saturday, Alabama knocked off heated rival Auburn -- improving to 46-8 all time at home against the Tigers.
12 -- AUBURN (13-14, 5-11)
It was a 35-point swing between Auburn's 16-point January win over Alabama and the 19-point road defeat on Saturday. The Tigers shot 27 percent in the loss. In the win over South Carolina, the Tigers and Gamecocks combined for 60 free throws.
Despite having the SECâs highest-scoring backcourt in Denson (19.9) and junior KT Harrell (18.5), the Tigers are the worst 3-point shooting (30.3) team in the league.
13 -- SOUTH CAROLINA (11-18, 4-12)
The Gamecocks won't be playing in any postseason tournaments -- barring a surprising run through the SEC tourney -- but they sure played like champions in Saturday's upset of Kentucky.
Fans stormed the court, especially to exalt senior guard Brenton Williams, who had a game-high 24 points. It was South Carolina's first win over the Wildcats in four years (knocking off then-No. 1 Kentucky).
14 -- MISSISSIPPI STATE (13-16, 3-13)
Leading scorer Craig Sword did not play for the Bulldogs in Saturday's loss at Missouri, due to a death in the family. They have lost 11 in a row and have the league's worst field-goal defense (45.4).
With Tennessee's victory over Mississippi State, the teams' head-to-head series now sits at 27-all.