SEC Basketball Power Rankings: Week 12

Tennessee remains dominant in the SEC, but Kentucky is on the rise

After a brutal weekend for the SEC in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge, the teams are back at it in conference play.

So far this week, the rich have gotten richer and the poor seem to have gotten poorer, with the higher-ranked SEC teams raining fire and fury down upon the lower-ranked teams. That being said, there have been a couple of upsets and close calls, so the SEC continues to be filled with must-watch matchups.

Here's how the league stacks up going into Week 13:

1] Tennessee (19-1, 7-0): If you’re No. 1 in the AP Top 25, you’ll probably stay No. 1 in the SEC Power Rankings. The Volunteers narrowly escaped Nashville against Vanderbilt last Wednesday, but came out swinging against West Virginia over the weekend. Grant Williams continues to be an offensive powerhouse, scoring 43 points and going 23-23 from the free-throw line against the Commodores. The Volunteers remain head and shoulders above the SEC going into Week 13. Last week: 1

2] Kentucky (17-3, 6-1): Kentucky is back doing what it does best: play solid basketball. The Wildcats destroyed Mississippi State last week, then defeated then-No. 9 Kansas in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. Few teams in the NCAA are on a better run and at the rate UK is going, it looks like it will remain solid until March. Last week: 3

3] LSU (16-3, 6-0): Struggling against Missouri caused the Tigers to drop a slot. That being said, LSU has a comparatively easy schedule this week, facing Texas A&M and Arkansas, so it is poised to remain high up in the rankings after Week 13. Last week: 2

4] South Carolina (10-10, 5-2): Two consecutive losses for the Gamecocks hurt, but not enough to warrant a drop. Sure, one of the losses was to No. 1 Tennessee, but losing by 22 points at home was just embarrassing. The other loss being to below-.500 Oklahoma State hardly helped their case. South Carolina looks to bounce back against Georgia on Saturday, but Kentucky looms in the near future on Tuesday. Last week: 4

5] Alabama (13-7, 4-3): Alabama made one thing clear during its Tuesday night win over No. 22 Mississippi State: nobody wants to play the Crimson Tide at Coleman Coliseum. Aside from a buzzer-beater three loss to Texas A&M, Alabama has won seven straight against AP Top 25 teams, including Kentucky and Ole Miss in January. Alabama looks to continue its success at rival Auburn this weekend. Last week: 8

6] Ole Miss (14-5, 4-2): Getting blown out by Alabama and Iowa State dropped Ole Miss a spot. Losing by a combined 35 points, the Rebels are struggling. Ole Miss travels to Florida on Wednesday, then hosts rival Mississippi State on Saturday. It may be make-or-break time for the Ole Miss. Last week: 5

7] Mississippi State (15-5, 3-4): A blow-out loss to Kentucky was followed by a big win against Auburn, but then another loss on the road to Alabama has Mississippi State remaining stagnant in the power rankings. The Bulldogs have had incredible non-conference success, but the lack of success against league opponents is confusing to say the least. The matchup on the road against Ole Miss has some potential to get the team back on track, but it certainly won't be easy. Last week: 7

8] Auburn (13-6, 2-4): What happened, Auburn? The Tigers have lost three straight games, against Kentucky, South Carolina and Mississippi State. The Tigers will host a struggling Missouri on Wednesday, then welcome the Crimson Tide on Saturday. There's the potential for a good week unless Auburn can’t overcome its streak of losses. Last week: 6

9] Arkansas (12-8, 3-4): Arkansas nearly pulled off an upset over No. 14 Texas Tech, but fell just short, losing 67-64. If the Razorbacks want to keep their tournament hopes alive they'll need to start collecting wins in a hurry. The one against Georgia on Tuesday was a good start, but Arkansas travels to Baton Rouge to face LSU on Saturday, so look for the Razorbacks to keep staying “meh” this week. Last week: 11

10] Florida (11-8, 3-3): The Gators lost a close one to TCU, but now face their toughest stretch of the season. Florida hosts Ole Miss and Kentucky this week, then travels to Auburn and Tennessee. This is a great opportunity for Florida to make a statement … or to seal its fate for the rest of the season. Last week: 9

11] Georgia (10-10, 1-6): The Bulldogs were inspired during their win over Texas in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. Even more impressive was their scoring of 98 points. However, the subsequent loss to Arkansas on Tuesday did not help the Bulldogs and their case in the SEC. Georgia hosts South Carolina on Saturday and needs to bounce back. Last week: 12

12] Missouri (10-8, 1-5): With two minutes remaining in the game, the Tigers led LSU by 14 points. What happened next was one of the biggest collapses in the SEC this season. LSU took Missouri to overtime, when it pulled out a 86-80 victory. Mizzou visits Auburn on Wednesday, then hosts Vanderbilt on Saturday. Fans shouldn’t expect much from the Tigers moving forward into Week 13. Last week: 10

13] Texas A&M (8-10, 1-5): The Aggies defeated a very good Kansas State team on Saturday, but now have a tough week against LSU and Tennessee. If Texas A&M can pull it together this could be the start of a late-season rally. But if the Aggies continue to play like they have this season, expect A&M to remain near the bottom of the league. Last week: 13

14] Vanderbilt (9-11, 0-7): Vanderbilt came oh-so-close to pulling off the impossible, taking No. 1 Tennessee to overtime, but ultimately lost. The Commodores also got destroyed by Oklahoma on Saturday. Losing to Kentucky on Tuesday, Vanderbilt heads to Missouri on Saturday. This is the best chance the Commodores have had at a win in a while, so look for a good game against a struggling Mizzou this weekend. Last week: 14

Visit BamaCentral every Wednesday throughout the season for updated power rankings.