All for Tennessee Women’s Basketball SEC Power Rankings for Jan. 31: Lady Vols Rise
The Tennessee Lady Vols flew up the women’s basketball SEC Power Rankings for Jan. 31, 2017 after their huge win over the No. 4 South Carolina Gamecocks.
As February draws to a close, the women’s basketball landscape in the Southeastern Conference took a dramatic shift after an amazing upset by the Tennessee Lady Vols. And it threw around everybody in the SEC Power Rankings for this week.
But the Lady Vols aren’t the only thing that caused that. They just made it clear that there is no longer a clear-cut Top Two. Now, the entire conference looks a lot more like it is on an even playing field, which bodes well for everybody trying to reach the NCAA Tournament.
Meanwhile, the bottom-two is no longer clear-cut either, as the worst team in the conference got an impressive win last week, and the second-worst team has found a bit of a run to move up.
As a result, we had to change everything in our SEC Power Rankings. Not one team is in the same spot they were in last week.
But the Lady Vols are primarily responsible for this despite all the upsets. Hey, that makes them very similar to the men’s Tennessee basketball team, which was responsible for throwing this week’s men’s SEC Power Rankings for a complete loop.
Who would have thought that both teams would do that the same week?
Well, we showed you how dramatically it changed the Vols’ standing among the men. Let’s take a look at what it did on the women’s side.
Here are the women’s basketball SEC Power Rankings for the week of Jan. 31, 2017.
Last week: Lost to South Carolina Gamecocks and Ole Miss Rebels
Last rank: 10th
Perhaps this is a bit of an overreaction. Last week alone, however, isn’t the reason we dropped the Georgia Bulldogs from No. 10 to No. 14 in our SEC Power Rankings.
It’s about what they’ve done over the past few weeks that moves them to No. 14. After losing to the South Carolina Gamecocks and the Ole Miss Rebels, the Dawgs are now on a five-game losing streak after starting off 10-6 and 2-1 in the SEC.
We could have let that go for the most part after the streak started with losses to South Carolina and Kentucky.
But while another loss to South Carolina is part of the streak, Florida and Ole Miss are also now part of it.
Two weeks ago, the Gators were next to last in the SEC. But their win over the Dawgs sparked something, and we found out this week that it wasn’t a fluke after Georgia lost to Ole Miss.
Now they are next to last in the conference when it comes to the standings, and in terms of how they are playing, we have them right at last place.
And it doesn’t figure to get any better. The Arkansas Razorbacks on the road are up next, but they are the easiest team the Dawgs will face in three weeks after that. They then have to face Tennessee, Kentucky again, Auburn, Mississippi State, and LSU.
Last week: Defeated Alabama Crimson Tide; Lost to Florida Gators
Last rank: 14th
Again, the reason putting the Georgia Bulldogs in last place in our SEC Power Rankings may be an overreaction is because Vanderbilt may not have done enough to move out of last place themselves.
This team is still playing .500 ball overall and is last place in the SEC at 1-8, they have already lost to the Dawgs, and they got blown out by the Florida Gators this past week.
However, they only lost to Georgia by two on the road when you look back at it, and that was weeks ago. This past week, they beat a team that is of a quality higher than or at least similar to two teams that have beat the Dawgs on this losing streak.
As a result, the Commodores did enough with a win to move up to next to last in our SEC power rankings.
Vanderbilt beat Alabama 87-80 to get that win before losing by 20 to the Gators. Still, their RPI is actually higher than Georgia’s as well, so maybe we are onto something here.
But don’t get your hopes up. Vanderbilt is not going anywhere.
Up next, they have Kentucky, Mississippi State, LSU, and South Carolina. So they’re about to fall even further, and they could easily fall to last place again in our SEC Power Rankings. That they won a game, at this point, is more of an indictment against the team they beat. That’s who we have next on our list.
Alabama Crimson Tide
Last week: Lost to Vanderbilt Commodores and Auburn Tigers
Last rank: 9th
When you lose to the worst team in the SEC, you deserve to drop significantly down the SEC Power Rankings. The Alabama Crimson Tide may be 15-7 overall, but they have the worst resume of anybody in the SEC.
After all, their RPI is ranked No. 120 despite their record due to their No. 132 ranked strength of schedule.
With that resume, they are lucky not to be at the bottom these SEC Power Rankings after losing to the worst team in the conference and having the lowest RPI in the conference.
But that loss was a close road loss, and we will maintain that, for right now at least, the Tide are playing better basketball than the Commodores.
So they get to be No. 12, near the bottom, of our rankings.
And while their schedule strength is set to improve soon, their wins may not. Their next two games are on the road against the Texas A&M Aggies and LSU Tigers, both of which are likely losses. Meanwhile, they have the Tennessee Lady Vols at home very soon too.
So this team is nowhere near any NCAA Tournament picture yet, and if they are going to play their way onto one, they have to win some very unlikely games.
Ole Miss Rebels
Last week: Los to Kentucky Wildcats; Defeated Georgia Bulldogs
Last rank: 12th
Before their last game, we were ready to crown the Ole Miss Rebels the worst team in the SEC. After all, they had lost to the Alabama Crimson Tide, who lost to the Vanderbilt Commodores, and they were on a four-game losing streak in the conference.
But a few things changed all this.
For starters, that losing streak included three games against some of the top teams in the conference: the Mississippi State Bulldogs, Kentucky Wildcats, and South Carolina Gamecocks.
So Alabama was the only loss.
Also, they actually scored a win to move back up the rankings. Sure, it was only over the Georgia Bulldogs, but adding it to their win over the Tennessee Lady Vols two and a half weeks ago, they have the right to not be the worst team in the conference.
Still, the Rebels are right there in the bottom tier of the SEC Power Rankings with these other teams that we have named. Despite their 14-8 record, they also have an RPI outside of the Top 100 due to their No. 107 ranked strength of schedule.
Their 3-6 conference record may only get worse from here as well. After all, their next game is on the road against a red-hot and newly galvanized Florida Gators team, then they face the LSU Tigers, Mississippi State Bulldogs, and Auburn Tigers.
So these Rebels could be done fast, just like the other teams in the bottom tier here.
Last week: Lost to Missouri Tigers and LSU Tigers
Last rank: 11th
The Arkansas Razorbacks did nothing to move up this week in our SEC Power Rankings. But their two losses to the Missouri Tigers and LSU Tigers were not enough to move down significantly, and the other four teams on this list had done enough to be below this team.
The Alabama Crimson Tide and Georgia Bulldogs in particular had done enough to drop below them, so we had no choice but to move this team up a spot.
By the way, their last loss was a close one against LSU, and it was on the road. There’s no shame in that.
So the Hogs, despite their 13-8 record overall, 2-6 conference record, and No. 108 RPI ranking due to their No. 93 ranked strength of schedule, deserved to slightly move up this week.
And now, we’ll find out if they deserved that spot. This week, it’s pretty clear what they should do each game, as they host the Georgia Bulldogs first and then face the South Carolina Gamecocks.
If they beat Georgia and lose to South Carolina, which we expect, the play of other teams will dictate where they are next week. If they lose both, they’ll fall no matter what, unlike last week. And if they win both, they’ll rise no matter what.
Last week: Lost to Tennessee Volunteers; Defeated Vanderbilt Commodores
Last rank: 13th
All of a sudden, Amanda Butler’s Florida Gators have found a rhythm. We held off of moving them out of their second to worst spot in our SEC Power Rankings last week because the win over the Georgia Bulldogs just wasn’t enough.
The Gators could have just gotten red-hot at home.
And while this week they didn’t do anything special by losing to the Tennessee Lady Vols and beating the Vanderbilt Commodores, the way they looked is why they moved up. They kept the game with Tennessee inside single-digits, and they then blew out Vanderbilt.
Combining that with the collapse of other teams in the conference, and by default they had to move up significantly in our SEC Power Rankings.
They are still in the bottom tier, which has a lot of teams in the conference this year, but they are the top team of that bottom tier. And with the No. 63 ranked RPI, the Gators are the team in the bottom tier with the best chance at making the NCAA Tournament.
Now, we find out just how legit this run is. This week, they face the Texas A&M Aggies on the road first. Losing that game will do nothing to hurt them.
But after that, they face the Ole Miss Rebels and Arkansas Razorbacks at home. If they don’t want to fall back to the bottom, they need to win both games. Then they face the Alabama Crimson Tide on the road.
If they win all three, they’ll officially be in a tier above this bottom tier. But they have a lot of work to do to get there.
Last week: Lost to Missouri Tigers; Defeated Alabama Crimson Tide
Last rank: 5th
The first team outside of the bottom tier of the SEC, the Auburn Tigers didn’t do enough to fall three spots in the SEC Power Rankings. But by losing to the Missouri Tigers by 15 points and then beating a reeling Alabama Crimson Tide team, they definitely warranted dropping somewhat.
However, the impressive play of other teams is while they dropped three spots.
Terri Williams-Flourney still has to be happy about the position her team is in. They may be No. 8 in our SEC Power Rankings, but they are tied with three other teams for No. 5 in the standings due to their 5-3 record.
Meanwhile, the Tigers are No. 23 overall in the RPI with their 15-7 record due to their No. 15 ranked strength of schedule. So they are still squarely in the NCAA Tournament at this point.
Now comes a huge chance to beef up there resume because this week, the Tigers host the Mississippi State Bulldogs and then travel to College Station to face the Texas A&M Aggies.
Then they face the South Carolina Gamecocks on the road. Expect their schedule strength to shoot up even more, and if they win one or two games, they could move into the Top 15 of the RPI.
Last week: Lost to Texas A&M Aggies; Defeated Arkansas Razorbacks
Last rank: 8th
The LSU Tigers were one of the teams who did just barely enough to jump the Auburn Tigers, but it was close. Nikki Fargas’s team lost a game last week and only beat the Arkansas Razorbacks, so they shouldn’t get too much credit.
But beating Arkansas is still more impressive than beating the Alabama Crimson Tide, which was the Tigers’ only win last week, and while it may not have been as tough of a game, LSU looked a heck of a lot better in its loss to the Texas A&M Aggies on the road.
Taking that into account, you could really flip either team, especially with LSU one game behind Auburn. But they have a slightly better resume at this point from last week.
And their No. 8 ranked strength of schedule is better than the one Auburn has at No. 15.
So for right now, we have LSU at No. 7 in our SEC Power Rankings. But they have a chance to move up soon. This week, they travel to Knoxville to take on the Tennessee Lady Vols.
If they can get past that game, they’ll all of a sudden be in great shape. After all, following that are the Alabama Crimson Tide Ole Miss Rebels, and Vanderbilt Commodores.
So just by beating Tennessee, they would have a great chance to shoot up the rankings and get to 19 wins and play with house money.
Texas A&M Aggies
Last week: Defeated LSU Tigers; Lost to Mississippi State Bulldogs
Last rank: 4th
Dropping the Texas A&M Aggies this week has nothing to do with what they did and everything to do with what teams ahead of them did.
This team scored a thrilling victory over the LSU Tigers to start last week, and they looked in prime position to move into the top tier of the SEC.
Losing to the Mississippi State Bulldogs after that should have done nothing to hurt them.
But two other teams have been so red hot, that just by losing, we had to drop them in our SEC Power Rankings. And to be fair, the way the Aggies played did warrant the dropping to a degree.
They only beat LSU by two points, and it was a home game. Then they lost by 10 to the Bulldogs, and the week before they lost to the Missouri Tigers. So they’ve lost two of three.
Their No. 21 RPI ranking is solid, and they should still be in good shape, but they probably want to be in better shape for a high seed in the tournament.
Well, they have a chance to take advantage of an easy slate coming up in order to beef up their wins. Their next three games are all at home, and the Auburn Tigers are the only team among the three not in the bottom tier of the conference.
The Florida Gators and Alabama Crimson Tide are the other two. So if they stay consistent, the chaos around them could move them up.
Last week: Defeated Ole Miss Rebels; Lost to Missouri Tigers
Last rank: 3rd
You could make a case for the Kentucky Wildcats dropping below the Texas A&M Aggies since they had a less impressive win and a worse loss last week.
But they’ve been ahead of the Aggies for a while, and the team Kentucky lost to had beaten Texas A&M the week before. Also, they had a five-game winning streak before losing that game.
So right now, the two schools could be interchangeable in our SEC Power Rankings. But with 15 wins and three conference losses for both teams, the Wildcats have played the No. 4 ranked strength of schedule while the Aggies have played the No. 24 strength of schedule.
That minor tiebreaker warrants Kentucky being No. 5 in the SEC Power Rankings for now. However, there is still a long way to go.
If you want to talk about a night and day scenario, the Wildcats face the South Carolina Gamecocks first this week, and then they face the Vanderbilt Commodores. So assuming they do what they should this week, their change depends on what other teams do.
But they completely control if they are a sure rise by winning both games or a sure fall by losing both games.
Let’s now go to the red-hot team that just beat the Wildcats and the Aggies, since we were comparing the two.
Last week: Defeated Auburn Tigers and Kentucky Wildcats
Last rank: 6th
Nobody saw this coming two weeks ago, but the Missouri Tigers are far and away the hottest team in the SEC. And as a result, they have shot up numerous spots in our SEC Power Rankings.
This past week, Missouri scored two victories over teams we had ranked ahead of them. The week before, they had another victory over a team we had ranked ahead of them.
In fact, the Tigers are on a five-game winning streak.
They have gone from 11-7 and 1-3 in the SEC to 16-7 and 6-3 in the SEC and tied for No. 3 in the standings when it comes to record.
At this point, they are No. 33 in the RPI, so they still have some work to do before cementing themselves in the NCAA Tournament.
Improving on that No. 31 ranked strength of schedule could help that, and they have an immediate chance to beef up their resume this week.
Now we find out how hot the Tigers are as they will face the Mississippi State Bulldogs and Tennessee Lad Vols on the road this week. So they could immediately move to the top of these SEC Power Rankings this week.
They still aren’t in the top tier of the SEC yet, but they are just a couple of wins away from that. Speaking of that top tier…
South Carolina Gamecocks
Last week: Defeated Georgia Bulldogs; Lost to Tennessee Volunteers
Last rank: 1st
This is probably controversial to some, but the South Carolina Gamecocks have hit reality. After looking like an invincible SEC team with only one fluke loss, they fell to the Tennessee Lady Vols this past week.
And they didn’t just lose the game.
They lost it at home after coming back from 11 down to tie it up.
Tennessee really controlled that game from start to finish, and A’ja Wilson looked like a mere mortal. South Carolina is still 18-2 overall and first place in the SEC with their 8-1 record, but based on how they’re playing right now, we had to move them to No. 3 in our SEC Power Rankings.
After all, just the week before losing to Tennessee they barely held on to put away the Mississippi State Bulldogs at home.
So this team, like Kentucky just did on the men’s side, showed that perhaps they are not as strong as we all may have thought.
Well, speaking of Kentucky, they have a road trip against the Wildcats this week, suggesting that this won’t get any easier.
And they still have that date against the No. 1 ranked UConn Huskies on the road very soon.
So with their No. 3 RPI ranking and No. 6 ranked strength of schedule, all they have to think about is winning. But the wins could be difficult, and their No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament could be in jeopardy if they don’t refocus.
Last week: Defeated Florida Gators and South Carolina Gamecocks
Last rank: 7th
Just like that, Holly Warlick’s team has come out to remind the world that it is still Tennessee. And after their three-game winning streak, we had to move the Lady Vols to No. 2 in our SEC Power Rankings.
Sure, Tennessee is tied for fifth place in the SEC standings. And sure, three of their SEC wins are against the Vanderbilt Commodores twice and the Florida Gators.
But that win over the Kentucky Wildcats counts, and with their most recent win coming on the road against the South Carolina Gamecocks to get a three-game winning streak going, they have earned the right to shoot up five spots.
We saw with that win that the Lady Vols still have the talent to compete with anybody in the nation at any time, and the only thing they are missing is the depth.
They are No. 3 among SEC teams in the RPI with their 14-7 record and No. 2 strength of schedule nationally. And their 5-3 SEC record is still solid, even if it signifies that they are the most inconsistent team in the SEC.
But for right now, even with those bad losses to the Auburn Tigers and Ole Miss Rebels on the road, the Lady Vols are clearly playing as well as anybody in the conference.
And having just beaten South Carolina, they have earned the right to at least be ahead of them in our SEC Power Rankings. So that’s where we put them.
Mississippi State Bulldogs
Last week: Defeated Texas A&M Aggies 71-61
Last rank: 2nd
The Mississippi State Bulldogs are finally sitting atop the SEC Power Rankings. It may be controversial when you consider that they lost to the South Carolina Gamecocks just a week ago.
But that was a three-point loss on the road to a team that just lost at home to the Tennessee Lady Vols, a team the Bulldogs beat in Thompson-Boling Arena fairly easily.
As a result, at 21-1, they belong in this No. 1 spot.
Throwing out South Carolina, only the Arkansas Razorbacks have come within single-digits of the Bulldogs in SEC play. And they lost at home by eight points.
So Mississippi State is clearly the top team in the SEC, and their schedule strength questions are being alleviated.
At 21-1 and 7-1 overall, they are only one spot behind the Gamecocks in the RPI.
But their schedule strength will continue to rise with the Auburn Tigers and Missouri Tigers this week. If they win both games, the No. 1 seed looks closer and closer because after that, they get the Vanderbilt Commodores, Ole Miss Rebels, and Georgia Bulldogs.
Like South Carolina, Mississippi State is at the point where they only think about winning, not exterior factors for their resume.
And that is why they have actually earned this No. 1 spot, sitting atop the SEC Power Rankings.
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