SEC rankings, Week 3: Gators, Rebels to clash

Standard
Marshall Henderson doing this thing against Tennessee.

Marshall Henderson doing this thing against Tennessee.

Florida continues to cruise, Mississippi manages to stay unbeaten, setting up Saturday’s showdown in Gainesville.

FLORIDA (16-2, 6-0. Last week: Defeated Georgia, Mississippi State. This week: Wednesday vs. South Carolina, Saturday at Mississippi): Gators rolling along, face biggest challenge thus far against Ole Miss.

MISSISSIPPI (17-2, 6-0. Last week: Defeated Tennessee, Auburn. This week: Wednesday vs. South Carolina, Saturday at Florida): Is any player more unlikable than Marshall Henderson?

MISSOURI (15-4, 4-2. Last week: Defeated South Carolina, Vanderbilt. This week: Wednesday at LSU, Saturday vs. Auburn): Tigers looked relaxed and focused for the first time in a month Saturday against Vandy.

ALABAMA (12-7, 4-2. Last week: Defeated Kentucky, lost to Tennessee. This week: Thursday vs. Arkansas, Saturday at Vanderbilt): Loss at Tennessee may come back to haunt Crimson Tide on Selection Sunday.

KENTUCKY (13-6, 4-2. Last week: Lost to Alabama, defeated Texas A&M. This week: Tuesday at Mississippi, Saturday at Texas A&M): Wildcats need to get on a run to make the NCAA Tournament.

SOUTH CAROLINA (12-7, 2-4. Last week: Lost to Missouri, defeated Arkansas. This week: Wednesday at Florida, Saturday vs. Georgia): Say what you will about Frank Martin, his teams always play hard.

ARKANSAS (12-7, 3-3. Last week: Defeated Mississippi State, lost to South Carolina. This week: Thursday at Alabama, Saturday vs. Tennessee): Razorbacks simply cannot win on the road.

TENNESSEE (10-8, 2-4. Last week: Lost to Mississippi, defeated Alabama. This week: Thursday vs. Vanderbilt, Saturday at Arkansas): Volunteers playing better.

TEXAS A&M (12-7, 2-4. Last week: Lost to LSU, Georgia. This week: Wednesday at Mississippi State, Saturday vs. Kentucky): Aggies have lost four straight.

VANDERBILT (8-11, 2-4. Last week: Defeated Auburn, lost to Missouri. This week: Tuesday at Tennessee, Saturday vs. Alabama): Commodores took a step back in rout at Mizzou.

AUBURN (8-11, 2-4. Last week: Lost to Vanderbilt, Mississippi. This week: Wednesday at Georgia, Saturday at Missouri): Tigers reeling after tough loss to Rebels.

GEORGIA (8-11, 2-4. Last week: Lost to Florida, defeated Texas A&M. This week: Wednesday vs. Auburn, Saturday at South Carolina): Bulldogs steadily improving.

MISSISSIPPI STATE (7-11, 2-4. Last week: Lost to Arkansas, Florida. This week: Wednesday vs. Texas A&M, Saturday at LSU): Schedule considerably easier this week for Bulldogs.

LSU (10-7, 1-5. Last week: Defeated Texas A&M, lost to Kentucky. This week: Wednesday vs. Missouri, Saturday at Mississippi State): Tigers gave Kentucky a run in Rupp.

Read my Week 2 rankings

Ready my Week 1 rankings

Read my 2012-13 SEC predictions

Big 12 rankings, Week 3: Race all but over

Standard
For the love of God, can we please hit a shot? Against Kansas, Bruce Weber's crew simply couldn't.

For the love of God, can we please hit a shot? Against Kansas, Bruce Weber’s crew simply couldn’t. The Wildcats have lost back-to-back games.

Another week, two more Kansas wins. Might as well ship the conference championship trophy to Lawrence.

KANSAS (18-1, 6-0. Last week: Defeated Kansas State, Oklahoma. This week: Monday at West Virginia, Saturday vs. Oklahoma State): Jayhawks essentially put the Big 12 title to bed with win against Kansas State and Iowa State’s meltdown at Texas Tech.

BAYLOR (14-5, 5-1. Last week: Defeated Oklahoma State, TCU. This week: Wednesday vs. Oklahoma, Saturday at Iowa State): Bears taking advantage of Charmin-soft schedule.

IOWA STATE (14-5, 4-2. Last week: Lost to Texas Tech, defeated Kansas State. This week: Wednesday at Oklahoma State, Saturday vs. Baylor): Cyclones bounced back, but losses like the one at Texas Tech determine league titles (see Missouri at Oklahoma State, vs. K-State circa 2012).

KANSAS STATE (15-4, 4-2. Last week: Loss to Kansas, Iowa State. This week: Wednesday vs. Texas, Saturday at Oklahoma): Wildcats wasted golden opportunity Tuesday against rival.

OKLAHOMA (13-5, 4-2. Last week: Defeated Texas, lost to Kansas. This week: Wednesday at Baylor, Saturday vs. Kansas State): Split this week a must for Sooners.

OKLAHOMA STATE (13-5, 3-3. Last week: Lost to Baylor, defeated West Virginia. This week: Wednesday vs. Iowa State, Saturday at Kansas): Cowboys talented but looking for signature win in Big 12.

WEST VIRGINIA (9-10, 2-4. Last week: Defeated TCU, lost to Oklahoma State. This week: Monday vs. Kansas, Saturday at Texas Tech): This is the upgrade from Missouri and Texas A&M?

TEXAS TECH (9-9, 2-5. Last week: Defeated Iowa State, lost to Texas. This week: Saturday vs. West Virginia): Red Raiders impacted league race with stunner against Iowa State.

TEXAS (9-10, 1-5. Last week: Lost to Oklahoma, defeated Texas Tech. This week: Wednesday at Kansas State, Saturday vs. TCU): Longhorns in spoiler mode, even when Myck Kabongo returns.

TCU (9-11, 0-7. Last week: Lost to West Virginia, Baylor. This week: Saturday at Texas): Arguably the worst team in a BCS conference.

Read my Week 2 rankings

Read my Week 1 rankings

Read my 2012-13 conference predictions

SEC rankings, Week 2: Florida pulling away

Standard
Billy Donovan and the red-hot Gators won a laugher against Missouri.

Billy Donovan and the red-hot Gators won a laugher against Missouri.

I’ll be stunned if anybody other Florida wins the SEC this year. The Gators have simply dominated conferences foes thus far.

FLORIDA (14-2, 4-0. Last week: Defeated Texas A&M, Missouri. This week: Wednesday at Georgia, Saturday at Mississippi State): Gators completely humiliated Missouri, clicking on all cylinders.

MISSISSIPPI (15-2, 4-0. Last week: Defeated Vanderbilt, Arkansas. This week: Thursday vs. Tennessee, Saturday at Auburn): Rebels should be 6-0 going into next week, which includes games against Kentucky and Florida.

KENTUCKY (12-5, 3-1. Last week: Defeated Tennessee, Auburn. This week: Tuesday at Alabama, Saturday vs. LSU): Wildcats steadily improving, face tough challenge against Crimson Tide.

MISSOURI (13-4, 2-2. Last week: Defeated Georgia, lost to Florida. This week: Tuesday vs. South Carolina, Saturday vs. Vanderbilt): Tigers have been soft and are now riddled with injuries, a dangerous combination.

ALABAMA (11-6, 3-1. Last week: Defeated Mississippi State, Texas A&M. This week: Tuesday vs. Kentucky, Saturday at Tennessee): Win Tuesday could go a long way toward NCAA bid.

TEXAS A&M (12-5, 2-2. Last week: Lost to Florida, Alabama. This week: Wednesday at LSU, Saturday vs. Georgia): Aggies let one slip away against Alabama.

ARKANSAS (11-6, 2-2. Last week: Defeated Auburn, lost to Mississippi. This week: Wednesday vs. Mississippi, Saturday at South Carolina): Razorbacks still can’t buy a road win.

AUBURN (8-9, 2-2. Last week: Lost to Arkansas, Kentucky. This week: Wednesday at Vanderbilt, Saturday vs. Mississippi): Tigers crashed back to Earth last week.

MISSISSIPPI STATE (7-9, 2-2. Last week: Lost to Alabama, Tennessee. This week: Wednesday at Arkansas, Saturday vs. Florida): Crimson Tide humbled Bulldogs at home.

VANDERBILT (7-9, 1-3. Last week: Lost to Mississippi, defeated South Carolina. This week: Wednesday vs. Auburn, Saturday at Missouri): Inexperienced Commodores getting better.

TENNESSEE (9-7, 1-3. Last week: Lost to Kentucky, defeated Mississippi State. This week: Thursday at Mississippi, Saturday vs. Alabama): Volunteers appear to be in for long conference season.

SOUTH CAROLINA (11-6, 1-3. Last week: Defeated LSU, lost to Vanderbilt. This week: Tuesday at Missouri, Saturday vs. Arkansas): Frank Martin has had plenty of success against Mizzou.

GEORGIA (7-10, 1-3. Last week: Lost to Missouri, defeated LSU. This week: Wednesday vs. Florida, Saturday at Texas A&M): Bulldogs likely to be throttled twice this week.

LSU (9-6, 0-4. Last week: Lost to South Carolina, Georgia. This week: Wednesday vs. Texas A&M, Saturday at Kentucky): Losing at home to South Carolina … yikes.

My Week 1 rankings

My SEC predictions

Big 12 rankings, Week 2: Sunflower Showdown for a change?

Standard
Bruce Weber and the Wildcats can make a statement Tuesday.

Bruce Weber and the Wildcats can make a statement Tuesday.

Is there a worse bottom of a conference than the Big 12? Perhaps the SEC, but it’s possible the bottom two teams each finish 1-17. Think about that. The NCAA selection committee probably will come seeding time.

KANSAS (16-1, 4-0. Last week: Defeated Baylor, Texas. This week: Tuesday at Kansas, Saturday vs. Oklahoma): Jayhawks haven’t exactly been dominating but could put another Big 12 title to bed Tuesday.

KANSAS STATE (15-2, 4-0. Last week: Defeated TCU, Oklahoma. This week: Tuesday vs. Kansas, Saturday at Iowa State): Wildcats have to win Tuesday’s game to have any shot at a conference crown.

IOWA STATE (13-4, 3-1. Last week: Defeated West Virginia, TCU. This week: Wednesday at Texas Tech, Saturday vs. Kansas State): Cyclones have bounced back nicely from Fred Hoiberg’s brain cramp in Lawrence.

OKLAHOMA (12-4, 3-1. Last week: Defeated Texas Tech, lost to Kansas State. This week: Today vs. Texas, Saturday at Kansas): Didn’t take long for Lon Kruger to make the Sooners an NCAA-caliber team.

BAYLOR (12-5, 3-1. Last week: Lost to Kansas, defeated Hardin-Simmons. This week: Monday vs. Oklahoma State, Saturday at TCU): Bears out-toughed and out-coached at Kansas. Imagine that.

OKLAHOMA STATE (12-4, 2-2. Last week: Defeated Texas Tech. This week: Today at Baylor, Saturday at West Virginia): Cowboys need at least a split this week.

WEST VIRGINIA (8-9, 1-3. This week: Lost to Iowa State, Purdue. This week: Wednesday vs. TCU, Saturday at Oklahoma State): Mountaineers were embarrassed at Purdue.

TEXAS (8-9, 0-4. Last week: Lost to Kansas. This week: Today vs. Oklahoma, Saturday at Texas Tech): Longhorns absolutely wilted late against Jayhawks.

TEXAS TECH (8-8, 1-4. Last week: Lost to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State. This week: Wednesday vs. Iowa State, Saturday at Texas): Red Raiders grateful TCU joined league.

TCU (9-9, 0-5. Last week: Lost to Kansas State, Iowa State. This week: Wednesday at West Virginia, Saturday vs. Baylor): Quest for 0-18 still on track.

My Week 1 rankings

My preseason rankings

SEC rankings, Week 1: Ole Miss, A&M make statement

Standard
That's the 10th-ranked team in college basketball?

That’s the 10th-ranked team in college basketball?

Mississippi and Texas A&M off to surprisingly impressive starts, while Kentucky and Missouri disappoint:

1. FLORIDA (12-2, 2-0. Last week: Defeated Georgia, LSU. This week: Thursday at Texas A&M, Saturday vs. Missouri): Gators might run away with the SEC title.

2. MISSISSIPPI (13-2, 2-0. Last week: Defeated Tennessee, Missouri. This week: Tuesday at Vanderbilt, Saturday vs. Arkansas): Rebels were impressive in beatdowns of Volunteers and Tigers.

3. TEXAS A&M (12-3, 2-0. Last week: Defeated Arkansas, Kentucky. This week: Thursday vs. Florida, Saturday at Alabama): Aggies own the most impressive start in SEC play.

4. MISSOURI (12-3, 1-1. Last week: Defeated Alabama, lost to Mississippi. This week: Wednesday vs. Georgia, Saturday at Florida): Tigers better hope Laurence Bowers isn’t out for extended period, looked awful Saturday at Ole Miss.

5. KENTUCKY (10-5, 1-1. Last week: Defeated Vanderbilt, lost to Texas A&M. This week: Tuesday at Tennessee, Saturday at Auburn): Wildcats looking nothing like an NCAA Tournament team.

6. ARKANSAS (10-5, 1-1. Last week: Lost to Texas A&M, defeated Vanderbilt. This week: Wednesday vs. Auburn, Saturday at Mississippi): Lackluster road loss, followed by an impressive win at home. Welcome to Mike Anderson basketball, Arkansas fans.

7. AUBURN (8-7, 2-0. Last week: Defeated LSU, South Carolina. This week: Wednesday at Arkansas, Saturday vs. Kentucky): Tigers made the most of a soft opening conference slate.

8. MISSISSIPPI STATE (7-7, 2-0. Last week: Defeated South Carolina, Georgia. This week: Wednesday vs. Alabama, Saturday at Tennessee): Bulldogs have a decent shot at starting 4-0.

9. ALABAMA (9-6, 1-1. Last week: Lost to Missouri, defeated Tennessee. This week: Wednesday at Mississippi State, Saturday vs. Texas A&M): Tide gave Tigers fits before fading midway through second half.

10. TENNESSEE (8-6, 0-2. Last week: Lost to Mississippi, Alabama. This week: Tuesday at Kentucky, Saturday vs. Mississippi State): Twenty-point home loss to open SEC play sign of trouble for Vols.

11. LSU (9-4, 0-2. Last week: Lost to Auburn, Florida. This week: Wednesday vs. South Carolina, Saturday at Georgia): Relatively easy week gives Tigers chance to get back to .500.

12. SOUTH CAROLINA (10-5, 0-2. Last week: Lost to Mississippi State, Auburn. This week: Wednesday at LSU, Saturday vs. Vanderbilt): Gamecocks should pick up first conference win this week.

13. VANDERBILT (6-8, 0-2. Last week: Lost to Kentucky, Arkansas. This week: Tuesday vs. Mississippi, Saturday at South Carolina): Commodores blew an opportunity for a big win against Wildcats.

14. GEORGIA (6-9, 0-2. Last week: Lost to Florida, Mississippi State. This week: Wednesday at Missouri, Saturday vs. LSU): Going to be a long season in Athens.

Read my 2012-13 SEC predictions

Big 12 rankings, Week 1: It’s called a foul, ever hear of that, Fred?

Standard
Why didn't I foul? Great question.

Why didn’t I foul? Great question.

Memo to Fred Hoiberg: FOUL!

1. KANSAS (14-1, 2-0. Last week: Defeated Iowa State, Texas Tech. This week: Monday vs. Baylor, Saturday at Texas): Better to lucky than good. Jayhawks didn’t play well in either of their games last week.

2. KANSAS STATE (13-2, 2-0. Last week: Defeated West Virginia. This week: Wednesday at TCU; Saturday vs. Oklahoma): Wildcats should be 4-0 going into a Jan. 22 home game against Kansas.

3. BAYLOR (11-4, 3-0. Last week: Defeated Texas Tech, TCU. This week: Monday at Kansas, Saturday vs. Hardin-Simmons): Bears have made the most of a cream-puff Big 12 schedule with wins against the Red Raiders, Horned Frogs and Myck Kabongo-less Texas.

4. OKLAHOMA (11-3, 2-0. Last week: Defeated Oklahoma State. This week: Wednesday vs. Texas Tech, Saturday at Kansas State): Saturday’s game a chance for Sooners to improve NCAA Tournament resume.

5. IOWA STATE (11-4, 1-1. Last week: Lost to Kansas, defeated Texas. This week: Wednesday vs. West Virginia, Saturday at TCU): Fred Hoiberg’s brain cramp at the end of regulation in Lawrence may be the worst coaching decision in college basketball this season.

6. OKLAHOMA STATE (11-4, 1-2. Last week: Defeated TCU, lost to Oklahoma. This week: Saturday vs. Texas Tech): Cowboys have been underwhelming, to say the least, so far.

7. WEST VIRGINIA (8-7, 1-2. Last week: Defeated Texas, lost to Kansas State. This week: Wednesday at Iowa State, Saturday at Purdue): Narrow losses at home have prevented the Mountaineers from starting 3-0.

8. TEXAS TECH (8-6, 1-2. Last week: Lost to Baylor, Kansas. This week: Wednesday at Oklahoma, Saturday at Oklahoma State): Arguably the most boring team to watch in college basketball.

9. TEXAS (8-8, 0-3. Last week: Lost to West Virginia, Iowa State. This week: Saturday vs. Kansas): Season has been a disaster for the Longhorns.

TCU (9-7, 0-3. Last week: Lost to Oklahoma State, Baylor. This week: Wednesday vs. Kansas State; Saturday vs. Iowa State): About as close to a bye as you can get.

Read my 2012-13 Big 12 predictions

SEC predictions: The big three

Standard
As Phil Pressey goes, so go the Tigers.

As Phil Pressey goes, so go the Tigers.

Though certainly not a loaded league, the Southeastern Conference has a few top-10 quality teams in Florida and Missouri and a supremely talented Kentucky squad, all of whom should feast on the likes of Mississippi State and Auburn:

1. FLORIDA (24-6, 14-4): With the best coach and the most experienced roster, Gators are the team to beat. They get the nod over Missouri because they’ll finish 1-1 against Kentucky.

2. MISSOURI (25-6, 14-4): With Michael Dixon, this would be the team to beat. Tigers have plenty of talent, but 3-point shooting struggles and the lack of a legitimate backup at point guard (plus a road game against Kentucky) will be the difference.

3. KENTUCKY (22-9, 13-5): Enough talent to win the conference but will endure growing pains and a few surprising losses early in league play.

4. MISSISSIPPI (23-8, 12-6): A veteran group that should be in the NCAA Tournament, but the Rebels didn’t play anybody in the nonconference and lost at Middle Tennessee State and Indiana State.

5. ALABAMA (20-11, 12-6): Solid coach, solid point guard in Trevor Releford, the younger brother of kansas’ 37-year-old shooting guard. Opening win at Missouri would be huge.

6. ARKANSAS (20-11, 11-7): If Mike Anderson figures out a way to win on the road (the Hogs are 0-3 this year), Arkansas is a sleeper to win the SEC.

7. TENNESSEE (18-12, 10-8): Cuonzo Martin has done a nice job of digging the Volunteers out of Bruce Pearl’s ruble, but Tennessee isn’t quite there yet.

8. TEXAS A&M (17-14, 7-11): The Aggies aren’t as bad as they were during a wildly disappointing 2011-12, but they did lose to Southern. At home.

9. LSU (16-13, 7-11): Wins against the likes of McNeese State and Houston Baptist helped the Tigers to a 9-2 nonconference. They also lost by 20 to Boise State.

10. GEORGIA (12-19, 6-12): The Bulldogs appeared to be on the upswing a few years ago but have slid considerably. They have won four straight after a 2-7 start.

11. VANDERBILT (12-18, 6-12): Kevin Stallings lost a ton of talent, and it’s shown during the Commodores’ 6-6 start that includes a 17-point loss to Marist.

12. AUBURN (11-20, 5-13): The Tigers have a win against a surprisingly mediocre Florida State team and little else.

13. SOUTH CAROLINA (15-16, 5-13): All the screaming and acting a fool won’t be enough in Frank Martin’s first season. It’s called a sorry-ass team, ever hear of that, Stan?

14. MISSISSIPPI STATE (9-21, 4-14): Not much to say about a team that lost at home to Alabama A&M.

ALL-CONFERENCE: Phil Pressey, point guard, Missouri; Archie Goodwin, guard, Kentucky; Kenny Boynton, guard, Florida; Murphy Holloway, forward, Mississippi; B.J. Young, guard, Arkansas.

COACHES OF THE YEAR: Billy Donovan, Florida; Frank Haith, Missouri.