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