Halfway home, and half the league still in contention for the dance. It's doubtful that all six will get there, and if the league continues to beat itself up people will continue to say that the SEC is down. But good grief, have the games been competitive: we've already seen seven overtime contests involving SEC East teams, and on our ballot the separation from one to six is very thin.
1. Florida (18-5 - 7-2 - RPI 14)
Overtime wins over Tennessee, Georgia, Vanderbilt, and a two point win over Kentucky. That's how close it's been, but to their credit, they keep coming out on the right side. Life in the East will get no easier, but they've given themselves a chance to win every tiebreaker, which is probably what it'll come down to in determining seeding in Atlanta.
2. Alabama (15-7 - 7-1 - RPI 98)
This team is for real. Their defensive effort in wins over Kentucky and Tennessee demands that you take them seriously, and they're clearly the frontrunner for the conference title based on record and remaining schedule. The win in Knoxville made them an RPI Top 100 team...there's no way the selection committee could leave out the SEC Champion, right?
3. Kentucky (16-6 - 4-4 - RPI 12)
I'm tempted to put the Vols ahead of them - Kentucky's SEC wins are Auburn, LSU, South Carolina, and a split with Georgia - but I'd rather wait to see it with my own eyes Tuesday night.
4. Tennessee (15-8 - 5-3 - RPI 25)
Not a good week for the Vols in the RPI, playing Auburn and losing to Alabama. Not a good week ahead either, in Lexington and Gainesville.
5. Georgia (16-6 - 5-4 - RPI 37)
No such thing as a bad win, and last week this team proved it: beat Arkansas by one, beat Auburn in overtime. Getting the wins they need to get to March.
6. Vanderbilt (16-6 - 4-4 - RPI 19)
Next three are huge for this bunch: Alabama and Kentucky in Nashville, then Georgia in Athens. Played really well in the second half against South Carolina.
7. Ole Miss (15-8 - 3-5 - RPI 57)
Joins Alabama as the fastest risers of the week after beating Kentucky and pounding Arkansas in Fayetteville. They won't play their way in and can be wildly inconsistent, but their best basketball will put a scare in the rest of the league.
8. South Carolina (13-8 - 4-4 - RPI 104)
Beat LSU this week, but their four conference losses have all been ugly, and that still includes one against Auburn.
9. Arkansas (14-8 - 4-5 - RPI 103)
Wins: Tennessee, Alabama, Auburn, and at Vanderbilt by 11. Losses: LSU, South Carolina, Florida by 32, Georgia, Ole Miss at home. You figure them out.
10. Mississippi State (12-10 - 4-4 - RPI 144)
Who lasts longer in Starkville: Renardo Sidney or Rick Stansbury?
11. LSU (10-13 - 2-6 - RPI 214)
Still have the head-to-head over:
12. Auburn (8-15 - 1-8 - RPI 282)
Working hard to stay in the Top 300...