The Daily Gamecock

SEC Power Rankings: Week 1

Surprise, surprise: Georgia finds itself atop first SEC poll of season



1. Georgia
Out of nowhere, the faithful in Athens have found something to take their minds off a 6-7 football season and a bowl loss to noted national power Central Florida: hoops. In what is fast developing into a strange SEC season full of twists and turns, UGA has emerged from the pack, at least for now, with a 77-70 home win over Kentucky on Saturday. The No. 24 Bulldogs (12-2, 1-0) have the league's best player in Trey Thompkins and its most exciting in Travis Leslie. — James Kratch

Uk_logo2. Kentucky
Despite losing much of its firepower to the 2010 NBA Draft, No. 13 Kentucky (12-3, 0-1) appears to be in position to make a strong defense of its SEC title. With Auburn, LSU and Alabama next on their slate, the Wildcats will likely come to Columbia riding a three-game winning streak. — Ryan Velasquez


Florida-Logo3. Florida
The Gators posted a record of 11-3 in non-conference play, and forward Erving Walker reached the 1,000-point benchmark in their first SEC game, a victory against Ole Miss. Florida (12-3, 1-0) rides a four-game winning streak into Tennessee on Tuesday before hosting USC on Saturday. — Paulina Berkovich


ARK_logo4. Arkansas
Following a 68-65 upset of Tennessee, the Razorbacks (11-3, 1-0) have earned national attention. With two losses coming in overtime, Arkansas has only lost once in regulation, at the hands of No. 12 Texas. In a weak SEC West, the Razorbacks look poised to remain atop the standings. — Isabelle Khurshudyan


VU_logo5. Vanderbilt
The Commodores stumbled down the stretch in their SEC opener, blowing a 14-point lead in Columbia as USC seemed to out-tough them. Chances are that won't happen much for the rest of the year, because coach Kevin Stallings is among the best in the nation at what he does. If John Jenkins can keep scoring points like he did against the Gamecocks (27), Vandy (11-3, 0-1) will be back dancing in March. — JK


USC_logo6. South Carolina
Widely predicted to finish last in the SEC East, Carolina (10-4, 1-0) showed with last weekend's win over Vanderbilt that it's in no way ready to lay down. If senior forward Sam Muldrow continues to play as he did Saturday, the Gamecocks could find themselves in the hunt for the division title. — RV




UT_logo7. Tennessee
With assistant Tony Jones filling in for coach Bruce Pearl, who is suspended for Tennessee's first eight conference games, the Volunteers lost a tight game to Arkansas on Saturday. UT (10-5, 0-1) looks for its first conference win when it battles Florida at home on Tuesday. — PB



MISS_logo8. Ole Miss
Despite only having four losses, it's hard to overlook the weak nonconference schedule of Ole Miss. With losses to Dayton, Miami and Colorado State, as well as a conference loss to Florida, the Rebels (12-4, 0-1) will have to make a run in conference play to prove a contender. — IK


BAMA_logo9. Alabama
The Crimson Tide did little more than beat up on cupcakes in its non-conference season, but things are looking up after a win at Mississippi State this past weekend. Second-year coach Anthony Grant showed an ability to get his team up to play all of last season. If he can continue to do so, 'Bama (9-6, 1-0) might be able to entertain thoughts of winning the lackluster Western Division. — JK



LSU_logo10. LSU
Just two years removed from a SEC title, LSU (9-7, 1-0) looks to be in for another difficult season as it enters the week as losers of four of its last six. Upcoming matchups with Arkansas and Kentucky will likely make the Tigers' prospects even dimmer. — RV



MSU_logo11. Mississippi State

The defending Western Division champions are barely over .500 this season, and they have lost three straight, most recently a blowout loss to Alabama on Saturday. The return of junior point guard Dee Bost should give MSU (8-7. 0-1) a boost when it hosts rival Ole Miss on Thursday. — PB


AU_logo12. Auburn
After only scoring six points in the first-half in their last outing against LSU, the Tigers (7-8, 0-1) have many wondering how many conference games they'll win with seven losses coming in a weak nonconference schedule. Despite this, if Auburn could solve their offensive woes, the SEC West is wide open for the taking. — IK