The SEC race is over and four teams appear to be battling for two or three NCAA Tournament bids, though second-ranked Alabama isn’t one of them. Such is life in the conference:
1. FLORIDA (21-3, 11-1. Last week: Defeated Kentucky, Auburn. This week: Tuesday at Missouri, Saturday vs. Arkansas): Big week for the Gators with arguably their toughest game of the year at Mizzou and a revenge matchup against Arkansas.
2. ALABAMA (17-8, 9-3. Last week: Defeated Georgia, South Carolina. This week: Wednesday vs. Mississippi State, Saturday at LSU): That the Crimson Tide isn’t among Jerry Palm’s “last four teams out” in this latest NCAA bracket should tell you plenty about their schedule.
3T. MISSOURI (18-7, 7-5. Last week: Defeated Mississippi State, lost to Arkansas. This week: Tuesday vs. Florida, Saturday at Kentucky): Yes, the Tigers were the victims of an awful SEC hazing initiation incident in Fayetteville, but they’ve got to find a way to finish.
3T. OLE MISS (19-6, 8-4. Last week: Lost to Texas A&M, defeated Georgia. This week: Wednesday at South Carolina, Saturday vs. Auburn): Speaking of garbage officiating, Georgia probably has a bigger beef than Missouri.
5. ARKANSAS (16-9, 7-5. Last week: Defeated Auburn, Missouri. This week: Thursday vs. Georgia, Saturday at Florida): It still counts as a “W,” even if it’s in ridiculous “circumstances.”
6. KENTUCKY (17-8, 8-4. Last week: Lost to Florida, Tennessee. This week: Wednesday vs. Vanderbilt, Saturday vs. Missouri): Wildcats are in trouble without Nerlens Noel.
7. TENNESSEE (14-10, 6-6. Last week: Defeated Vanderbilt, Kentucky. This week: Tuesday vs. LSU, Saturday at Texas A&M): Might be the hottest team in the SEC right now.
8. GEORGIA (12-13, 6-6. Last week: Lost to Alabama, Mississippi. This week: Thursday at Arkansas, Saturday vs. South Carolina): Bouncing back from Saturday’s loss to the Rebels will be difficult.
9. LSU (15-8, 6-6. Last week: Defeated South Carolina, Mississippi State. This week: Tuesday at Tennessee, Saturday vs. Alabama): Tigers have won five of six.
10. TEXAS A&M (15-10, 5-7. Last week: Defeated Mississippi, lost to Vanderbilt. This week: Wednesday at Auburn, Saturday vs. Tennessee): Like a lot of SEC teams, Aggies struggle on the road.
11. VANDERBILT (10-14, 4-8. Last week: Lost to Tennessee, defeated Texas A&M. This week: Wednesday at Kentucky, Saturday at Mississippi State): Commodores have topped 70 points twice in SEC play.
12. AUBURN (9-16, 3-9. Last week: Lost to Arkansas, Florida. This week: Wednesday vs. Texas A&M, Saturday at Ole Miss): Tigers have lost nine of 10 since 2-0 SEC start.
13. SOUTH CAROLINA (12-13, 2-10. Last week: Lost to LSU, Alabama. This week: Wednesday vs. Ole Miss, Saturday at Georgia): Gamecocks have lost six straight games.
14. MISSISSIPPI STATE (7-17, 2-10. Last week: Lost to Missouri, LSU. This week: Wednesday at Alabama, Saturday vs. Vanderbilt): Bulldogs have lost 10 consecutive games.