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© Denny Medley | USATSI[/caption]
The College Basketball season is another week old, and the SEC consistently provides the sport with several talented players and teams. Here are the major storylines in the conference from the previous week of college basketball.
1. Kentucky's No Good, Very Bad Week
Despite going 1-1 last week, no team looked as bad as the Wildcats. To put things simply, Kentucky had their most embarrassing offensive showcase of the season at Missouri, and they simply shouldn't have beaten the worst team in the conference at home.
Yes, a win is a win as a win is a win. However, anyone with any level of basketball knowledge knows that the Wildcats didn't show up to play their SEC games this week. With the talent gap as big as it is between UK and Vandy/Missouri both of these games should've been relative easy victories.
To make matters worse, the SEC Tournament is just one month away. We all thought that Kentucky had things figured out after their huge win at West Virginia, but then this disastrous week happened.
At this point of the season, I'm not sure how much better this team can get in just a month. It's obvious that these young Wildcats will play at the level of whoever they are facing on that day which is the sign of a very young team.
So hold on to your butts UK fans. The rest of the season will be filled with close games and thrilling endings.
2. Tennessee's Amazing, Very Good Week
On the flip side, no team in the SEC had a week as good as the Volunteers did. First, they defeated LSU by 23 points on Wednesday. Then they absolutely demolished Ole Miss on Saturday by 33 points.
These huge victories have pushed Tennessee into second place in the SEC, and they are basically guaranteed a spot in the NCAA Tournament if they don't completely collapse in February.
Even better news for the Volunteers is that their remaining schedule isn't all that difficult. They only have two ranked opponents left to play, and they are certainly better than all the other teams on their schedule.
The Wildcats better come ready to play in Rupp Arena on Tuesday. If they don't then Tennessee will not only beat Kentucky, but things could get embarrassing.
3. Alabama Gets a Huge Win at Florida
Like UK, the Crimson Tide experienced a tough loss at the hands of Missouri this week. However, they got a huge resume-building win at Florida on Saturday night.
This big win comes just two games after Alabama's hug victory against Trae Young and Oklahoma. Despite some bad early season losses, the Crimson Tide now has played their into the NCAA Tournament as they are 15-8 on the year and fourth place in conference play.
I happen to be a huge Trae Young believer, but I think Collin Sexton is the best all-around freshman guard in the nation this season. If Alabama keeps getting big victories like this one, it will be hard for anyone to say otherwise.
4. Texas A&M Prepares for a Huge Week
The Aggies had a terrible start to conference play, but they have almost salvaged their season. Texas A&M currently stands at 15-8 on the season, but they are just 4-6 in conference play.
They are squarely on the bubble and are in need of some big wins. This week will present two great chances to do so as the Aggies will face both Auburn and Kentucky.
Two wins will mean they will be in the tournament and back near the top of the conference, one victory will keep them on the bubble, and two losses will most likely mean they will miss the tournament.
For this season, the stakes have never been higher for Texas A&M. If they don't show up ready to play this week then they will be heading exactly to where College Gameday said they would end up:
5. Separation Finally Occurs
The SEC has been anything but predicable this season, but as February finally arrived, several teams played their way out of NCAA Tournament consideration for the time being.
LSU, Georgia, South Carolina, Ole Miss, and Vanderbilt all have at least 9 losses on the season and at least 6 losses in conference play. It seems highly unlikely that any of these teams will make the tournament at this point unless one was to catch fire out of nowhere.
That being said, that leaves 9 teams left in the SEC that may or may not make the tournament. Auburn, Tennessee, and Kentucky should all be safely in the big dance come selection Sunday, and if nothing too disastrous happens Florida and Alabama will be in as well.
That leaves Miss. State, Texas A&M, Arkansas, and Missouri who are all in the middle of the conference rankings. Personally, I predict that at least two of those teams will make the tournament. At the moment it looks like Texas A&M and Arkansas have the best chance to do so.
It seems highly likely that at least 7 teams will make big dance which would be an all-time record for the conference.