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SEC Hoops Update: New Year’s Edition

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Conference play beckons — let’s catch up on activity around the league.

Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Are you interested in learning more about the non-conference performance of SEC Hoops? Do you typically ignore the sport until New Year’s Day and need information ahead of the conference slate? Are you bored in a lost week at work and desperately looking for something to pass the time?

Whatever brought you here, we’re here to help.

Note: The latest Coaches Poll was used to rank teams 1-25, with teams also receiving votes ranked 26-41

Tier One: Ranked or Receiving Votes

#7 Auburn Tigers (12-0)

Notable Wins: NC State, Richmond, Davidson, New Mexico

Notable Losses: que?

Tweet-length review: Their opening six weeks wasn’t exactly a murderer’s row, but they stayed clean in a world where seemingly everyone has a bad loss to their name.

#14 Kentucky Wildcats (9-3)

Notable Wins: #8 Louisville, #16 Michigan State, Georgia Tech

Notable Losses: #5 Ohio State, Evansville, Utah

Tweet-length review: Kentucky has two immensely impressive wins over top-tier opposition, but their inexplicable loss to Evansville (and only slightly-less-surprising loss to Utah) makes the SEC feel wiiiiiide open.

#36 Arkansas Razorbacks (11-1)

Notable Wins: @ Indiana, @ Georgia Tech

Notable Losses: @ Western Kentucky

Tweet-length review: Arkansas is very tough to beat at home, as is tradition, but their performances away from Bud Walton Arena have hogville buzzing about Eric Musselman’s first year on campus.

#39 Florida Gators (8-4)

Notable Wins: #28 Xavier, Miami, Providence

Notable Losses: @ #10 Butler, #20 Florida State, @ UConn, #27 Utah State

Tweet-length review: The Gators really challenged themselves in 2019, lining up seven different tilts against KenPom “A” or “B” opposition. Unlike the four loss teams further down the page, they won their fair share of impressive games to get here.

Tier Two: Solid, with varying degrees of bad losses

LSU Tigers (8-4)

Notable Wins: Rhode Island, #41 Liberty

Notable Losses: @ #40 VCU, #27 Utah State, ETSU, USC

Tweet-length review: Those two wins are better than they look on paper… but they don’t look that great on paper. Luckily for Will Wade, LSU fans won’t turn their attention to basketball for another week.

Tennessee Volunteers (8-4)

Notable Wins: #26 Washington, VCU

Notable Losses: Wisconsin, #11 Memphis, #20 Florida State, @ Cincinnati

Tweet-length review: Three weeks ago, the Vols were cruising at 7-1 with only a narrow defeat to Florida State in the loss column. It has not been a great three weeks.

Missouri Tigers (8-4)

Notable Wins: Illinois, @ Temple

Notable Losses: Charleston Southern, #10 Butler, #28 Xavier, Oklahoma

Tweet-length review: That dud against Charleston Southern ruins an otherwise perfectly acceptable string of results approaching SEC play. To their credit, they’ve run off four straight since then and have looked formidable.

Mississippi State (9-3)

Notable Wins: Kansas State

Notable Losses: #9 Villanova, Louisiana Tech, New Mexico State

Tweet-length review: As we work our way towards the back half of the SEC, that “notable wins” section is going to continue to dwindle. It’s worth noting that both Louisiana Tech and New Mexico State look primed to make noise in their respective conferences.

Alabama Crimson Tide (7-5)

Notable Wins: Belmont, Richmond, Furman

Notable Losses: Penn, Rhode Island, #37 North Carolina, Iowa State, #21 Penn State

Tweet-length review: This was the deepest non-conference slate in the SEC. It may not match Kentucky’s on the top end, but this sucker was chock full of dangerous opponents.

Tier Three: I’m Either Unsure... Or It Ain’t Great

Georgia Bulldogs (9-3)

Notable Wins: Georgia Tech, SMU

Notable Losses: #18 Dayton, #16 Michigan State, Arizona State

Tweet-length review: It was a feast-or-famine approach for Georgia this year, as they had ten opponents outside the KenPom Top 80… and two in the Top 10. A daunting Memphis/Kentucky/Auburn stretch will teach us more.

Mississippi Rebels (9-3)

Notable Wins: #21 Penn State

Notable Losses: #11 Memphis, Oklahoma State, #10 Butler

Tweet-length review: This was basically the anti-Alabama approach, as Ole Miss queued up four teams with a pulse and eight with a KenPom ranking of 225 or higher. That win over Penn State is legitimate, and has some wondering if this squad can push towards the top half.

South Carolina Gamecocks (8-5)

Notable Wins: @ #19 Virginia, @ Clemson

Notable Losses: Boston, Stetson, #38 Houston, #23 Wichita State, #27 UNI

Tweet-length review: This is the most confounding series of results we’ll see this year, and it peaked with a “win at Virginia, lose at Stetson” week that was pure SEC. This is a wildly unpredictable team with no ceiling… and no floor.

Texas A&M Aggies (6-5)

Notable Wins: Oregon State

Notable Losses: Fairfield, Temple, Texas, Harvard, #1 Gonzaga

Tweet-length review: Our win over Oregon State gives us the nod in the ever-important battle for 13th best team in the SEC. The home paycheck wins have been shaky, but we held our nerve and won ‘em all.

Vanderbilt Commodores (8-4)

Notable Wins: Davidson

Notable Losses: Tulsa, #41 Liberty, Loyola-Chicago, Richmond

Tweet-length review: Their recent win over Davidson is solid but caps an otherwise uninteresting stretch in the warmup to conference play. Our early trip to Memorial Gym could well determine who avoids the basement in the SEC.

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We open SEC play with a daunting trip to Arkansas this Saturday, which is a place we’ve never fared well... even in our good years.

BTHO Arkansas