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SEC Basketball Power Rankings through first three weeks of conference play

The SEC is full of high-level competition year in and year out. The 2023-2024 season is no different.

Some programs have gotten off to hot starts and maintained a level of success throughout the course of the season. Tennessee, Ole Miss, Kentucky, and South Carolina have each performed extremely well in both non-conference and conference play.

Other programs like Missouri, Vanderbilt, and Arkansas have struggled virtually the entire season up to this point. It has been rough sledding for each of them thus far this season.

Roll Tide Wire provides its latest SEC basketball power rankings through the first three weeks of conference play.

Vanderbilt Commodores (5-14, 0-6)

Denny Simmons / The Tennessean-USA TODAY NETWORK
Denny Simmons / The Tennessean-USA TODAY NETWORK

Nothing has come easy for Vanderbilt this season. The Commodores finished non-conference with a 5-8 record and have yet to win a game in conference play. Jerry Stackhouse’s squad has lost four of their six conference games by double-digits. The lone bright spot has been senior guard Ezra Manjon. The California native has averaged 12.5 points per game throughout conference play. Outside of Manjon, no one has stepped up to help the Commodores get back in the win column.

Missouri Tigers (8-12, 0-7)

Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports
Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

I doubt anyone viewed the Missouri Tigers as being one of the teams at the bottom of the SEC standings at this point in the season. The Tigers have struggled for the majority of the season to find their identity. This year’s team is much different from the team that we saw a season ago. Despite being a veteran-led squad, things have not been working out for the Tigers. Dennis Gates’ squad has no issue competing for two halves. However, they have been unable to finish out games. Missouri will need to figure things out soon before it is too late.

Arkansas Razorbacks (10-10, 1-6)

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

I think it is safe to say that virtually no one expected Arkansas to be in the predicament they are in. The Razorbacks had an overhaul in the transfer portal this offseason, but it has not made a difference so far. The lofty expectations have not been met and things have continue to spiral in the wrong direction in Fayetteville. Some of the players who were expected to play key roles have not. Those being Trevon Brazile and Davonte Davis. Houston transfer Tramon Mark has competed at a high level, but it has not been enough. Some other players will have to step up and assist Mark if they plan on having any chance at reaching the NCAA Tournament.

LSU Tigers (11-9, 3-4)

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

LSU has performed as many likely would have expected. Matt McMahon’s squad is two games over .500 through the first 20 games of the season. The Tigers are led by veteran guards Jordan Wright and Jalen Cook. The duo has combined to average 30.8 points per game. It has been enough to propel the Tigers to three conference wins. LSU has been competitive through the first seven conference games. I would expect that trend to continue dwon the stretch. They will be a tough team to beat for the majority of the teams remaining on their schedule.

Georgia Bulldogs (14-6, 4-3)

Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

Another program that brought in multiple key transfers during the offseason was Georgia. Mike White’s squad has exceeded most expecations. The Bulldogs are led by a trio of guards — Jabri Abdul-Rahim, RJ Melendez, and Noah Thomasson. They have combined to average 36.4 points per game. Georgia has three conference losses by single-digits. That trend is subject to change with the competitive nature of the Bulldogs being ever-present this season.

Texas A&M Aggies (12-8, 3-4)

Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports
Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

One of the most experienced teams in the SEC is Texas A&M. The Aggies were picked by multiple different experts to win the SEC. While that is still possible, things have not come as easy as most would have expected. The preseason favorite for SEC Player of the Year — Wade Taylor IV has done his part. Tyrece “Boots” Radford missed five games but has since provided a boost. The two combine to form of the most explosive backcourts in the country. Buzz Williams and the rest of the coaching staff will need to continue to create more opportunities for the two of them to score moving forward. Their play will help determine how far the Aggies go this season.

Mississippi State Bulldogs (14-6, 3-4)

Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Second-year head coach Chris Jans has helped lead his team in the right direction. While the Bulldogs’ wins have not come easy this season, they find themselves as a fringe, NCAA Tournament team. Mississippi State is led by freshman guard Josh Hubbard and graduate senior Tolu Smith. Each have helped lead this team to new heights this season. The Bulldogs are a couple of wins away from being in the thick of things in the SEC.

Florida Gators (14-6, 4-3)

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports
Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Florida has weathered the storm this season. The Gators lost their first two conference games to Kentucky and Ole Miss. Since then, Florida has won four of the last five games. Todd Golden’s squad is led by a trio of transfers in Walter Clayton Jr., Zyon Pullin, and Tyrese Samuel. The three combine to average 44 points per game and have shot 48.6% from the floor. If the Gators can continue to win the games that they are favored in, they should be in prime position to reach the NCAA Tournament.

Ole Miss Rebels (17-3, 4-3)

Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

One of the teams that has overwhelmingly exceeded expectations this season is the Ole Miss Rebels. Chris Beard’s squad has managed to win 17 of their first 20 games. The Rebels have struggled some in conference play. However, their strong showing in non-conference has them in a good position to reach the NCAA Tournament. Thus far, three guards have led the Rebels in scoring. Those three are upperclassmen Matthew Murrell, Allen Flanigan, and Jaylen Murray. They have combined to average almost 47 points per game for the Rebels this season. If the production continues, this team has a very high ceiling.

Auburn Tigers (16-4, 5-2)

Jake Crandall-USA TODAY NETWORK
Jake Crandall-USA TODAY NETWORK

Early on, everything was going right for Auburn. The Tigers won 16 of their first 18 games and seemed like one of the favorites to win the SEC. However, after a two-game skid, the Tigers find themselves in the bind. As things stand, Auburn is sitting at No. 5 in the SEC. Bruce Pearl’s squad has the pieces to be really special. They will need to figure things out quickly before things on the Plains. If they can manage the early conference woes, it seems like this team is headed in the right direction. Auburn is a veteran-led squad that has the experience to get back on the right track.

South Carolina Gamecocks (17-3, 5-2)

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

This year’s biggest surprise has been the South Carolina Gamecocks. Lamont Paris’ squad got off to a hot start in non-conference play and never slowed down. South Carolina finds themselves in a good spot throught the first seven games in conference play. The Gamecocks are led by seniors Meechie Johnson, Ta’Lon Cooper, and BJ Mack. If things continue to trend in the right direction, South Carolina has an increased opportunity to win the SEC.

Alabama Crimson Tide (14-6, 6-1)

(Photo by Brandon Sumrall/Getty Images)
(Photo by Brandon Sumrall/Getty Images)

The one team that has truly weathered the storm over the course of the season has been the Alabama Crimson Tide. Nate Oats’ squad struggled in non-conference play against multiple top-15-ranked teams. It has not been smooth sailing for the Crimson Tide. However, the season has quickly turned in Alabama’s favor. Alabama has one of the top backcours in the country this season and it has shown in conference play. Senior Mark Sears, graduate-senior Aaron Estrada, junior Latrell Wrightsell Jr., and sophomore Rylan Griffen have helped boost Alabama to multiple conference wins this far by scoring the basketball at an alarming rate. If the offensive success continues, this team could make some noise in March.

Kentucky Wildcats (15-4, 5-2)

Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports
Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

As always, the expectations in Lexington were almost insurmountable for John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats. Needless to say, it is fair to assume that some expectations have been met. Others probably not. The Wildcats got off to a hot start in non-conference and have carried some of the momentum into conference play. A core of freshmen and multiple veterans has put Kentucky near the top of the SEC at this point in the season. Conference losses to Texas A&M and South Carolina have not helped. The Wildcats have a prime opportunity this week to knock off two good teams in Florida and Tennessee.

Tennessee Volunteers (15-4, 5-1)

(Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images)
(Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images)

Veteran leadership and proven scorers have the Tennessee Volunteers atop the SEC basketball power rankings. Rick Barnes’ squad may have lost three games in non-conference. However, the Volunteers have been almost unstoppable in conference play. Outside of an early loss to Mississippi State, Tennessee has taken the SEC by storm. SEC Player of the Year candidate Dalton Knecht has helped carry this Volunteers squad to a different level than in years past. His ability to be a knockdown shooter makes him one of the best scorers in the entire country this season. His play will likely determine how far the Volunteers make it into March.

Story originally appeared on Roll Tide Wire