SEC Power Poll: Crunch Time Edition

We're back once again with our weekly SEC Hoops Power Poll. This week, we had 9 different blogs covering SEC basketball contribute in the voting. Results are listed below.

With only two weeks and four games of regular season action remaining, we are definitely getting down to crunch time in the SEC. The SEC Championship race continues for now to be a two-way race between Florida and Alabama, as both teams are tied atop the league standings with identical 10-2 records. Vanderbilt is lurking just behind, but will need both the Gators and the Tide to slip up down the stretch to have a chance.

As far as NCAA Tournament contenders, Florida, Kentucky and Vanderbilt all remain locks, and are fighting to improve their seeding for the Dance. Georgia and Alabama remain bubble teams, each needing a few more wins to assure themselves a spot. Tennessee is the interesting case here. They have been close to a lock for a while, but their current 1-4 losing skid needs to be stopped to assure they don't slide all the way out.

One final note, today's piece is brought to you by Bud Light. We have bills to pay to help bring you all of our college basketball coverage, and so we're happy to have Bud Light as a sponsor. On that note, "here we go!"

Floridalogo80x50_medium    #1...(21-5, 10-2 SEC)...projected NCAA #3 seed
Last week: Week off, then took care of business at LSU.
This week: A tough week with Georgia at home (Thursday, ESPN2) then a trip to Kentucky.
Outlook: The Gators have gotten to #1 in the SEC and top 15 in the nation by winning all the close games they find themselves in. They better keep it up, because their last four games are all coming against potential tournament-caliber teams.

Vanderbiltlogo80x50_medium   #2...(20-6, 8-4 SEC)...projected NCAA #5 seed
Last week: The 'Dores took their "magic" on the road last week with a huge win at Georgia followed by a win at Auburn.
This week: They'll get Tennessee at Memorial Fortress (Tuesday, ESPN), followed by a trip to LSU.
Outlook: The 'Dores have erased all doubt now about their worth. Win out this week and they'll be alive in the SEC Championship race into the final week, especially if Bama or Florida drop one this week.

Alabamascripta_medium   #3...(18-8, 10-2 SEC)...projected NCAA #10 seed
Last week: Took care of LSU on the road and then Arkansas at home.
This week: Bama will wrap up SEC West play with Auburn at home (Wednesday, SEC Network), then Ole Miss on the road.
Outlook: The Tide have already clinched first in the West, but they've got serious work to do to win the SEC Championship or get an invite to the Dance.

Kentuckylogo80x50_medium    #4...(19-7, 7-5 SEC)...projected NCAA #5 seed
Last week: Took down both Mississippi State and South Carolina in Rupp.
This week: Road trip to Arkansas (Wednesday, SEC Network), then Florida at home.

Outlook: The 'Cats have dropped too many road games to win the league title or get a top-2 seed, but they are still the scariest SEC team when it comes tournament time.

Georgialogo80x50_medium    #5...(18-8, 7-5 SEC)...projected NCAA #10 seed
Last week: Couldn't finish off Vandy at home, but then took down Tennessee on the road.
This week: They'll play at Florida (Thursday, ESPN2) before getting South Carolina at home.
Outlook: The 'Dawgs are doing just enough to earn a bid to the Dance, but they'll need to go .500 or so to stay in tourney position. Still a bubble team, but on the right side for now.

Tennesseelogo80x50_medium    #6...(16-11, 6-6 SEC)...projected NCAA #8 seed
Last week:
Took down South Carolina at home but couldn't do the same with Georgia.
This week: The Vols must go to Memorial Fortress (Tuesday, ESPN) before getting Mississippi State at home.
Outlook: The Vols have lost 4 of their last 5, and have a very tough schedule to close out league play. They need to stay .500 in the league to feel safe about a spot in the Dance.

Olemisslogo80x50_medium    Tie...#7...(17-10, 5-7 SEC)
Last week: Crushed Auburn at home, but then fell to rival Mississippi State on the road.
This week: They go to South Carolina (Tuesday, ESPNU) then get Alabama at home.
Outlook: The Rebels' confidence and NIT hopes took a big hit after getting swept by MSU, but they have two great opportunities this week to get back on track and compete for an SEC Tournament bye and an NIT bid.

Arkansaslogo80x50_medium    Tie...#7...(16-10, 5-7 SEC)
Last week: Got an easy non-conference win over Florida A&M, then lost at Alabama
This week: Kentucky at home (Wednesday, SEC Network), then at Auburn.
Outlook: An NIT bid is looking less likely, but they're still in the hunt for the second SEC Tournament bye from the West, which could be big for a team that has the potential to get hot.

Mississippistatelogo80x50_medium   Tie...#7...(14-12, 6-6 SEC)
Last week: Competitive in loss at Rupp, then completed a sweep of rival Ole Miss at home.
This week: LSU at home (Wednesday, CSS), then at Tennessee.
Outlook: Just when everyone was ready to leave them for dead, they showed signs of life this week and now find themselves the current front-runners for an SEC Tournament bye at 2nd place in the West.

Southcarolinalogo80x50_medium    #10...(13-12, 4-8 SEC)
Last week: Fell short at Tennessee, then crushed at Kentucky.
This week: Ole Miss at home (Tuesday, ESPNU), then at Georgia.
Outlook: The schedule eases up somewhat, but 6th place in the East seems a near certainty, and an NIT bid seems far-fetched.

Lsulogo80x50_medium    #11...(10-17, 2-10 SEC)
Last week: Gave both of the SEC leaders--first Alabama, then Florida--a scare at home before fizzling at the end.
This week: Games at Mississippi State (Wednesday, CSS) and against Vanderbilt at home don't look too promising.
Outlook: The Tigers' losing streak is at 10 and counting.

Auburnlogo80x50_medium    #12...(9-17, 2-10 SEC)
Last week: Got smoked at Ole Miss but gave Vandy a scare at home.
This week: Will try to get revenge for the Toomers trees at Alabama (Wednesday, SEC Network) before facing Arkansas at home.
Outlook: Barbee and his boys haven't quit, and have improved as the year has gone on. Give them credit for that.

* * *

For the record, my votes in the poll:
1) Florida
2) Vanderbilt
3) Kentucky
4) Alabama
5) Tennessee
6) Georgia
7) Mississippi State
8) Ole Miss
9) Arkansas
10) South Carolina
11) Auburn
12) LSU

* * *

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