SEC Power Rankings: Gators continue to roll
JAN 21, 2013 11:50a ET
Here’s an updated look at the SEC Power Rankings:
1. Florida (14-2, 4-0)
Coach Billy Donovan picked up career win No. 400 in 17 seasons at Florida with an 83-52 blowout at home of then-No. 17 Missouri, pushing his overall record to 435-180. Only two other coaches – Kentucky’s Adolph Rupp and LSU’s Dale Brown -- have won 400 games at an SEC school. The Gators held Mizzou standout point guard Phil Pressey to two points and 10 turnovers in a 31-point home win. Couple that with a 21-point win at Texas A&M two days earlier, and the Gators have won four league games by an average margin of 26.8 points per game. Since 2010, Florida is 15-1 in Thursday-Saturday league games.
2. Ole Miss (15-2, 4-0)
The Rebels haven’t started 4-0 in league play since the 1936-37 season. Even a long power outage during the first half of Saturday’s home win over Arkansas couldn’t deter Ole Miss, which has beaten the Razorbacks in 22 of their last 30 meetings. Off their emotional home win over Missouri a week ago Saturday, the Rebels figured to come out somewhat flat Tuesday at Vanderbilt. And they did. If not for a 3-pointer at the buzzer by Marshall Henderson to force overtime, Ole Miss would have been upset by the Commodores. It was the Rebels’ first win at Vandy since 2001.
3. Missouri (13-4, 2-2)
The Tigers are 1-2 without senior forward Laurence Bowers, who’s sidelined indefinitely with a knee injury. Missouri wasn’t competitive in back-to-back Saturday road losses to teams ranked ahead of them in the SEC Power Rankings, getting blown out at Missouri and Florida. Pressey may be pressing a bit to take up the slack for the injured Bowers. He hit only 1 of 7 shots against Florida. Five Tigers scored in double figures in a 17-point mid-week win at Georgia, but one of them wasn’t Pressey, who had five points, well below his current average of 12.2 points per game.
4. Kentucky (12-5, 3-1)
Sophomore Kyle Wiltjer wasn’t one of the ballyhooed freshmen to turn pro after last year’s national championship. But while playing in all 40 games as a reserve, he flashed glimpses of keen offensive capabilities. While a new class of freshmen titillates the Wildcats’ faithful, the 6-10 Wiltjer came off the bench to score 17 points in each win last week over visiting Tennessee and at Auburn. His presence seemed to stabilize the youthful Wildcats. Even so, youth will still be served at UK. Freshman forward Nerlens Noel had 10 points, nine rebounds and seven blocks against Auburn. Freshman point guard Ryan Harrow has scored in double figures in eight straight games.
5. Alabama (11-6, 3-1)
Three league wins in a row, including a one-pointer at home over Texas A&M and a 32-point win at Mississippi State last week, have the Crimson Tide feeling good about themselves. Getting lone senior Andrew Steele back after missing seven games with a sports hernia is key. With Steele out, the Tide went 2-5. Since his return, they are 9-1. Leading scorer, junior guard Trevor Releford, did not play at Mississippi State with an ankle sprain, but came off the bench in his return to score a game-high 15 against Texas A&M.
6. Arkansas (11-6, 2-2)
After playing evenly at Ole Miss early in the first half Saturday, Arkansas didn’t react well to a 25-minute power outage that stopped play. The Razorbacks were outscored 10-5 when play resumed. “It was a bizarre game,” Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said. “I have never been a part of something like that.” The Hogs won an important home game in double-overtime against visiting Auburn on Wednesday. Junior Marshawn Powell had his third double-double with 28 points and 11 rebounds.
7. Texas A&M (12-5, 2-2)
The Aggies burst onto the SEC scene with wins over traditional powers Arkansas at home and Kentucky on the road. But they returned to earth after being blown out at home by Florida and losing a one-point decision at Alabama. The Aggies held Alabama to only 15 points in the first half, but watched the Tide go on a 19-5 run after intermission. The Aggies were totally outclassed by Florida in a 19-point loss. Coming off scoring 40 points in the win at Kentucky, Elston Turner managed only four points on 1-of-10 shooting, well below his 17.1 points per game average.
8. Auburn (8-9, 2-2)
After starting league play 2-0 for the first time since 2001 with wins over lowly LSU and South Carolina, the Tigers stepped up in class with a trip to Arkansas followed by a visit by Kentucky in front of a sell-out crowd. Auburn will lament the double-overtime loss at Arkansas, especially with senior guard Frankie Sullivan scoring 23 of 26 points after halftime to go with a career-high nine rebounds. Until junior forward Allen Payne hit a 3-pointer to force the first overtime with five seconds remaining, Auburn had gone more than six minutes without scoring. In the loss to Kentucky, Auburn went 0-for-15 on 3-point shots to miss every trey attempt in a game for just the third time in program history.
9. Tennessee (9-7, 1-3)
The Vols avoided opening league play 0-4 for the first time since 1993-94. They got off the schneid with a 15-point home win Saturday over Mississippi State behind 18 points and 11 rebounds from sophomore forward Jarnell Stokes, whose play had been slowed somewhat with the loss for the season of fellow forward Jeronne Maymon to injury. UT outscored the Bulldogs 42-16 in the paint. The 17,854 that came to Thompson-Boling Arena helped UT remain eighth in the nation in home attendance. Earlier in the week, UT put up a gallant effort in a 10-point loss at Kentucky. Junior guard Jordan McRae continued his hot hand with 23 points.
10. Mississippi State (7-9, 2-2)
Ole Miss wasn’t the only gym experiencing a power outage Wednesday night. State’s Humphrey Coliseum experienced the same before the game against Alabama. Thing is, the Bulldogs remained in the dark in the blowout loss to Alabama, which used a 27-3 run over two halves to win going away. It was the worst home loss to Alabama and second-worst home loss ever. Mississippi State was outclassed at Tennessee in a game of head coaches – Rick Ray at State and Cuonzo Martin at UT – that were once former assistants at Purdue under Boilermakers coach Matt Painter.
11. Vanderbilt (7-9, 1-3)
After nearly beating visiting Kentucky in the first week of SEC play and losing to Ole Miss at home in overtime last week, the youthful Commodores apparently feel comfortable at home, albeit without a breakthrough win there yet. In a win Saturday at South Carolina, they finally hit seven key free throws down the stretch and won without depending upon sophomore Kedren Johnson, the team’s top scorer who was held to only three points. In the loss to Ole Miss, Vandy hit a Memorial Gym record 17 3-pointers, but could only make 10-of-23 free throws, a bugaboo bothering Vandy all season.
12. South Carolina (11-6, 1-3)
Senior forward Lakeem Jackson and freshman forward Michael Carrera each posted double-doubles in an overtime win at LSU to give first-year Gamecocks coach Frank Martin his first SEC victory. Carrera scored 21 of his career-high 23 points after halftime. But South Carolina couldn’t build on the win, falling at home Saturday to Vanderbilt. Jackson grabbed his 500th rebound as a Gamecock in the loss.
13. Georgia (7-10, 1-3)
Sophomore guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has led the Bulldogs in scoring in 14 of 17 games, including a team-high 22 points to go with six steals in a 67-58 win Saturday over LSU for the team’s first league win. The Bulldogs swarmed to force 21 turnovers. Georgia was outclassed Saturday at Missouri, which outscored the Bulldogs 32-12 in the paint. Youthful Georgia has used 11 different starting lineups in 17 games this season.
14. LSU (9-6, 0-4)
The Tigers are the only SEC team yet to win a league game under first-year head coach Johnny Jones, the former North Texas and Memphis head coach. Sophomore forward Johnny Bryant III notched his fourth double-double of the season in the loss at Georgia. Sophomore guard Anthony Hickey has scored in double figures in seven straight games. In the overtime loss to South Carolina, an errant 16-foot jumper by O’Bryant could have won the game for the Tigers in regulation.