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SEC Hoops Power Poll

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We're back this week with our weekly SEC Hoops Power Poll. This week, we had 10 different blogs covering SEC basketball contribute in the voting. Results are listed below.

We have a tie for first this week, as it appears the blogs are split on whether the Gators or the 'Cats deserve top billing in the SEC after 2.5 weeks of conference action, with Vandy a solid third for now. Bama is rising after a big week, but may have hit its ceiling for the time being with five teams from the league currently projected as NCAA tournament teams. Check below the jump to see where the Tide came in.

Floridalogo80x50_medium    Tie--#1...(15-4, 4-1 SEC)...projected NCAA #5 seed
Last week: Won ugly at Barbee's Playhouse but then pounded Arkansas at home.
This week: Road games at Georgia (tonight, ESPN) and Mississippi State will test their claim to the #1 spot.
Outlook: The Gators don't look like a truly elite team on the national level right now, but they have a very good resume and are ahead for now in the conference race. The preseason SEC favorites will battle for the SEC title and high NCAA seeding down the stretch.

Kentuckylogo80x50_medium    Tie--#1--tie...(15-4, 3-2 SEC)...projected NCAA #4 seed
Last week: Derailed in T-town but then won convincingly at South Carolina.
This week: Off this week, then Georgia at home this weekend.
Outlook: The 'Cats got a big wake-up call losing their first two SEC road games, but their road win at South Carolina may have indicated that Calipari now has the full attention of this young team, which could be scary for the rest of the league. They still have the highest ceiling of any SEC team, so it's simply a matter of how quickly they mature and learn to win consistently on the road as to whether or not they can pick up yet another SEC title and a high seed for the Dance.

Vanderbiltlogo80x50_medium   #3...(14-4, 2-2 SEC)...projected NCAA #6 seed
Last week: Two nice wins in Memorial Fortress to pad their resume, knocking off Ole Miss and #21 St. Mary's.
This week: They'll sample the West division with a road game at MSU (Thursday, ESPN2) and then a home game against Arkansas.
Outlook: The 'Dores' win over #21 St. Mary's was a quality win for their resume and for the much-maligned SEC. They still look like a lock for the tournament, but blowing two early leads on the road in SEC play really hurt their chances to win the SEC title.

Georgialogo80x50_medium    #4...(14-4, 3-2 SEC)...projected NCAA #9 seed
Last week: Got robbed at home against the Vols, but then easily dismantled Mississippi State.
This week: Huge week with Florida visiting Athens (tonight, ESPN) and then a trip to Rupp.
Outlook: The 'Dawgs are barking their way to their best season in season in a decade. They'll need a winning conference record to make the Dance, though, so every game is big.

Tennesseelogo80x50_medium    #5...(12-7, 2-2 SEC)...projected NCAA #9 seed
Last week:
Got a lucky break at the buzzer for a big win at UGA, then lost a competitive game at #8 UConn.
This week:
A foray into the West with LSU at home (tomorrow, SEC Network), then at Ole Miss.
Outlook:
The Vols have more quality wins than anyone in the conference, but they can't afford many more bad losses. Plenty of time to right the ship, especially once Pearl returns. There's no reason for them not to finish in the top 3-4 of the league when all is said and done.

Alabamascripta_medium    #6...(12-7, 4-1 SEC)
Last week: Bama fans couldn't have asked for better: slayed Kentucky at home, then beat Auburn in their new Playhouse.
This week: Off this week, then LSU at home on the weekend.
Outlook: The Tide had a huge week and are now tied for first in the SEC standings. Their abysmal non-conference losses will keep them out of the Dance, but as the hottest team in an embarrassingly weak West division, they could win a lot of SEC games.

Southcarolinalogo80x50_medium    #7...(12-6, 3-2 SEC)...projected NCAA bubble team
Last week: Lucky to pull off a home win in overtime against the Hogs, then got outclassed at home by Kentucky.
This week: Off this week, then a home game against lowly Auburn.
Outlook: The 'Cocks got off to a fast start in league play, and don't have a terrible non-conference resume, but as the weakest team in a very strong East division you'd have to bet against them making the Dance. NIT would be a nice prize for a very young team, though.

Arkansaslogo80x50_medium    #8...(12-6, 2-3 SEC)
Last week: Let a late lead slip away at South Carolina, then were uncompetitive in a road game at Florida.
This week: Home against Auburn (tonight, ESPNU), then a trip to Memorial Fortress.
Outlook: Last week's 0-for-2 performance against East teams probably sealed the West's fate as a no-bid division. A finish atop the West division and an NIT bid are not out of the question for one of the West's better teams, but everything else is.

Mississippistatelogo80x50_medium    Tie--#9...(10-8, 2-2 SEC)
Last week: Had the week off, then lost badly at Georgia.
This week: A pair of home games against the league's elite: first Vandy (Thursday, ESPN2), then Florida.
Outlook: The 'Dawgs' foray into the East didn't get off to a good start at Georgia. How well it goes this week will say a lot about their ability to compete for first in the West and possibly an NIT bid.

Olemisslogo80x50_medium    Tie--#9...(13-7, 1-4 SEC)
Last week: Showed improvement by playing competitive in Memorial Fortress then pounding LSU on the road.
This week: Off this week, then Tennessee at home on the weekend.
Outlook: The 'Rebs won plenty of non-conference games but then lost their first four league games. They have the best offense in the West, though, and 5 of their first 7 SEC games are against East opponents, so don't be surprised to see Colonel Reb shoot up the West standings down the stretch.

Lsulogo80x50_medium    #11...(10-9, 2-2 SEC)
Last week: Had the week off, then got embarrassed at home by Ole Miss.
This week: A pair of road games against teams in the top half of the power poll: at Tennessee (tomorrow, SEC Network), then at Alabama.
Outlook: The Tigers were downright bad in non-conference play, but a win at Auburn and a surprising home win over Arkansas to start league play gave them hope. There's probably not much of that hope left after seeing Ole Miss make waste of them on their home floor, though.

Auburnlogo80x50_medium    #12...(6-12, 0-5 SEC)
Last week: Couldn't take advantage of god-awful shooting by Florida and Alabama at home.
This week: Road trips to Arkansas (tonight, ESPNU) and South Carolina.
Outlook: Same outlook as last week: the Tigers are in danger of finishing as the worst team from a power conference in the history of college basketball. To their credit, though, they do play hard, so odds are they will be able to catch a team or two from the West at home on a bad day and avoid being the first 0-16 SEC team ever, but that's about the best they can hope for this year.

* * *

For the record, my votes in the poll:
1) Kentucky (still more impressive than Florida, even if they have an extra SEC loss)
2) Florida
3) Vanderbilt
4) Tennessee (they won at Georgia, and even on a bad call, that means something)
5) Georgia
6) Alabama (couldn't put us ahead of the five projected tournament teams)
7) South Carolina
8) Arkansas
9) MSU (like UT/UGA, they won at Ole Miss, and in otherwise close decision, I'll go with that)
10) Ole Miss
11) LSU
12) Auburn

So my votes were virtually identical to the results, with the exception of UT and UGA being flipped.