Kentucky, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt all start 0-1 with road losses, and what appears to be the only serious tournament contender from the West loses a chance to strengthen that argument at Florida. Could we see as few as three tournament teams for the second time in three years from the SEC?
It's Week 1, which means the order listed here is open to massive change by next Sunday. But here's our ballot to get things started - as always, your thoughts and comments are appreciated, here and throughout each week:
1. Georgia (12-2, 1-0) - If Kentucky was everybody's #1, and you beat Kentucky, you get the top spot for at least one week. Other than the surprise run through the 2008 SEC Tornado Tournament, that had to be the biggest win for Georgia Basketball in years.
2. Kentucky (12-3, 0-1) - No more questions about Enes Kanter, and no more direct comparison to last year's team that started 19-0 (4-0). While I'm sure UK fans would obviously love to have Kanter and be undefeated right now, there are fewer distractions now, and Cal has to figure out if he can win with a six man rotation.
3. Florida (12-3, 1-0) - Got nothing from Alex Tyus and still held off the Rebels. Though they do have a pair of three point losses to mid-majors, if they win in Knoxville on Tuesday they should start 5-0 in SEC play.
4. South Carolina (10-4, 1-0) - Head-to-head value will fade as we go, but this week they get to go a notch above the team they just beat. Sam Muldrow's triple-double included 16 points, 14 rebounds, and 10 blocks. Darrin Horn is the least recognizable coach in the SEC East, but the fans in Columbia have to be just as happy with the job he's doing as the rest of us our with our guys.
5. Vanderbilt (11-3, 0-1) - If they can get at least two of their perimeter guys going on the same night, they'll be very hard to beat. But John Jenkins' 27 points don't get it done when Brad Tinsley and Jeffery Taylor go 6 of 23. Only scored three points in overtime at Carolina.
6. Arkansas (11-3, 1-0) - If you could erase the 33 point loss to Texas from the record, you could make the case that this is a pretty decent basketball team. They need the Vols to get it together so yesterday's win matters come tournament time.
7. Tennessee (10-5, 0-1) - The Vols are not the 7th most talented team in the SEC, but we're just as capable of beating #1 on the road as we are of losing to #12 at home. At least we're not boring - it's something unexpected every night with this bunch.
8. Ole Miss (12-4, 0-1) - West teams with tournament hopes (which are really just Arkansas and Ole Miss at this point) have to beat East teams to earn quality wins. Missed an opportunity in Gainesville, but they play Georgia, Tennessee, and Kentucky in Oxford, plus at Vanderbilt all in the next six games. Their ultimate fate could be determined over the next three weeks.
9. Alabama (9-6, 1-0) - I know Mississippi State is in a bad way, and I know it was their first road win of the season, but that performance was still impressive for Anthony Grant and his boys.
10. Mississippi State (8-7, 0-1) - Got Dee Bost and Renardo Sidney back...Sidney went 1 for 8 with 5 turnovers, Bost went 5 for 16 and missed six free throws, and Ravern Johnson, the SEC's leading scorer, had 8. This team is a train wreck, and you have to wonder if Rick Stansbury will become collateral damage.
11. LSU (9-7, 1-0) - Only thing worse than being the team that almost blew a 26 point halftime lead...
12. Auburn (7-8, 0-1) - ...is being the team that only scored 6 points in the first half to get that far behind.