We're back for another week of SEC Power Polling, where this week it's one step forward and two steps back for half the teams in the league, and vice versa for the other half. Not a single team save Arkansas finished the week 2-0 in conference play, which is a fairly improbable degree of parity. Parsing which of the split decisions was best, worst and shades of in-between is the task for the week, one which I have failed at with an utter fierceness, as you'll see below.
1. Florida: Showed at Rupp this weekend that they're not infallible. That doesn't mean they're still not the class of the league.
2. Vanderbilt: A blowout win over LSU was kind of expected, but a home loss to Tennessee wasn't. At this point which of the 8-6 teams ranked 3 and 4 (and both of whom they've beaten in the past 2 weeks) can I put in front of them? Neither.
3. Kentucky: Still wildly inconsistent, too inconsistent for me to believe they'll win more than 1 game during March Madness. An overtime loss at Arkansas was bad, but was easily balanced out by a solid home win against Florida in which the Cats pulled away in the second half.
4. Georgia: Lost on the road at Florida in a game they probably should have expected to lose then shellacked South Carolina in a game they should have expected to win. Say this for Mark Fox's Hoop Hounds: they're the only team in the league who consistently lose to the teams that are clearly better than them and consistently beat the teams that are clearly worse.
5. Tennessee: Another SEC team that simply could not stand prosperity, following a nice win over Vandy with a tough, close loss to Mississippi State.
6. Alabama: Not the best week of work by Tony Grant's boys, who barely escaped at home against Auburn then lost to Ole Miss on the road. And if ever there was a bad week to have a bad week, this was it. The Tide will need to play better against Florida and Georgia in the final week of regular season play if they want to go to the Big Dance.
7. Arkansas: The Razorbacks completed a week of living dangerously by beating Kentucky and Auburn by a total of 3 points. With remaining contests against Ole Miss and Mississippi State Coach Pelfrey's squad could conceivably get to 20 wins.
8. Mississippi State: Lost to LSU then beat Tennessee. I'm really not sure how to process that.
9. Ole Miss: A bad loss to South Carolina and a good win against Alabama. Up is down, hot is cold and cats are lying down with dogs and watching the Discovery Channel while a koala makes crepes in the kitchen. It's all a great surrealist mess from about #5 to #9.
10. South Carolina: The Gamecocks won their first game since February 2nd this week. They then went on the road to Athens and lost by 16 behind yet another abyssmal shooting effort from the guards in garnet and black. Right now there's just not a whole lot that this team seems to do well.
11. LSU: Won their first game since January 12th. That makes the Tigers 1-11 in their last 12.
12. Auburn: The Tigers won exactly as many games this week as they did last, which is to say none. On March 5th they'll travel to Baton Rouge to play LSU in a game to decide SEC anti-supremacy. It should be like watching to blind octogenarians try to kill each other with tweezers and toothpicks, and will be shown on jumbotrons in Tripoli by Libyan ruling party officials in an attempt to disperse protesters. Auburn/LSU 2011: like rubber bullets and tear gas for the college basketball fan's soul.
Your input is appreciated in the comments as always. Until later . . .