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SEC Basketball Power Rankings: Kentucky back? Arkansas back?

SEC Basketball Power Rankings: Kentucky back? Arkansas back?

The three tiers of SEC basketball. It’s taken about a third of the conference slate, but they’re coming into focus.

The games Saturday, Jan. 21 provided the clearest picture yet. It was the first weekend where just about everything expected went as expected. That is to say, the teams most thought would be the better ones in the league beat the ones most thought would be the lesser ones in the league.

But the SEC is more complex than that, the simple haves and have-nots. At this point of the season, it’s more like the elites, the bubbles and the no-chance group.

Let’s take a look at who fits where after three full weeks.

Jan 11, 2023; Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide guard Jaden Bradley (0) drives against Arkansas Razorbacks guard Ricky Council IV (1) during the first half at Bud Walton Arena. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

The Crimson Tide are 7-0 and every win has been by double-digits. National championship hopes are legitimate.

Dec 21, 2022; Knoxville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Volunteers guard Zakai Zeigler (5) passes the ball against the Austin Peay Governors at Thompson-Boling Arena. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee bounced back from losing to Kentucky at home two weeks ago with double-digit-margin victories over Mississippi State and LSU. Not exactly the top of the SEC heap, but the sort of games great teams win regardless.

Jan 4, 2023; Athens, Georgia, USA; Auburn Tigers head coach Bruce Pearl reacts during the game against the Georgia Bulldogs during the first half at Stegeman Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Auburn is the most curious team in the top half of the SEC. Bruce Pearl’s team is 6-1 so far but zero games against Alabama, Tennessee or Kentucky. Are they up there with the top teams or is this placing more to do with the mediocre schedule?

Mar 13, 2022; Tampa, FL, USA; Texas A&M Aggies guard Wade Taylor IV (4) drives to the basket against the Tennessee Volunteers in the second half at Amelie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

A&M is a bit like Auburn in that the Aggies’ schedule to this point hasn’t been high-quality. They finally fell Saturday against Kentucky, but at 5-1, they’re still two ahead of everyone in the loss column.

Kentucky forward Oscar Tshiebwe (34) flexes after scoring over Kansas during the…

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