SEC Basketball Power Rankings: November 21

Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

It's early in the season, but why not go ahead and see how the conference stacks up so far?

This is how I feel the teams have played so far this season. I included the RPI simply because Arkansas is in to top 20 and Arkansas fans deserve to have something to celebrate with the way football has gone. The problem with RPI is that it needs a much larger sample size than three or four games, so these numbers will be fluid throughout the season.

Feel free to read the rankings in reverse if you're here for some quality SEC Basketball Fever and want to see which school is suffering a fever of the highest temperature.

1. Kentucky (4-1, RPI 168) Next game, Nov. 25 vs. Cleveland State

If their freshman can hang with #2 Michigan State three games into their college careers, they are going to run through the SEC like Darren McFadden.

2. Florida (3-1, RPI 116) Next game, Nov. 21 vs. Middle Tennessee State

Even though they lost by six at #20 Wisconsin, the Gators have handled their business accordingly. Road wins are going to be tough to come by for anyone this season and Florida is no exception. I think they play the toughest three game stretch of anyone in the conference this year when they play #18 UConn, #2 Kansas and #11 Memphis in December. Coach Billy Donovan spaced the games out to where they will have a week to prepare for Kansas and six days to prepare for Memphis.

3. LSU (2-1, RPI 55) Next game, Nov. 22 vs. Southeastern Louisiana

The Bayou Bengals really impressed me in their first game of the season at UMass. Even though they lost by two, preseason First Team All-SEC selection Johnny O’Bryant III picked up his fourth foul with 13 minutes left in the second half. LSU was on the wrong end of some home cooked officiating (not that I feel sorry for them), but were still able to stay in the game.

4. Arkansas (3-0, RPI 17) Next game, Nov. 25 vs. California

Coach Mike Anderson and the Razorbacks are counting their trip to Maui as their non-conference "road" games this season. Arkansas is guaranteed three games in Maui and they need to get on the winners side of the bracket if they want to keep their RPI this high. The Hogs could climb the power rankings if they have a good showing in Maui.

5. Missouri (3-0, RPI 36) Next game, Nov. 23 vs. Gardner Webb

The Tigers of Columbia have handled business so far on the back of preseason Second Team All-SEC selection Jabari Brown who leads the team averaging 19.7ppg and shooting 44% from behind the arc.

6. Alabama (3-1, RPI 32) Next game, Nov. 27 vs. #6 Duke

The Crimson Tide lost their first game of the season in Dallas to Oklahoma. They responded well with a win over a rebuilding Texas Tech team under first year coach Tubby Smith. They clearly made their non-conference schedule with the NCAA selection committee in mind (Editor's Note: What a novel idea! We should try that! Someone tell the people in Fayetteville this is possible.). They play six major conference teams plus #14 Wichita State. We will know exactly how good Alabama is by the time conference play comes around.

7. Tennessee (2-1, RPI 73) Next game, Nov. 22 vs. Tennessee State

This is more of a punishment to the Volunteers than where I think they will actually finish this season. They are 189th in both points per game and field goal percentage. They only beat South Carolina-Upstate by nine at home. This team has one preseason First Team All-SEC selection in Jordan McRae, and two Second Team All-SEC selections in Jeronne Maymon and Jarnell Stokes. They will move back up the power rankings. But, with those players and the addition of Memphis Tiger transfer Antonio Barton, I expect more out of this team than what they have showed me to this point.

8. Vanderbilt (2-1, RPI 75) Next game, Nov. 22 vs. Providence

The Commodores are 21st in the country in field goal percentage, which helped them almost pull an upset on the road over Butler. The Bulldogs ultimately prevailed in overtime 85-77, but Vandy will have more chances to get quality non-conference wins. They still have Providence, Texas, Georgia Tech, and Saint Louis University left on their schedule.

9. South Carolina (1-2, RPI 25) Next game, Nov. 24 vs. Florida International

I have to commend Coach Martin for testing his team and putting major non-conference games on their schedule early in the season.  They almost pulled a major upset on the road in Waco, TX against Baylor losing 66-64. They also travel to Stillwater, OK later this year to take on the Cowboys and have a neutral site game with the Saint Mary’s Gaels.

10. Texas A&M (4-0, RPI 221) Next game, Nov. 24 vs. Sam Houston State

Prairie View A&M gave the Aggies all they could handle Tuesday night. Texas A&M will have a few more wins this year, but that’s because they are playing several Little Rock Church League teams.

11. Ole Miss (2-0, RPI 154) Next game, Nov. 22 vs. Mississippi Valley State

While the Rebels were able to survive their first game without Marshall Henderson, they almost lost on the road to Coastal Carolina in his first game back. Without troll-god Henderson, they needed overtime to beat Division II USC-Aiken in an exhibition game.

12. Georgia (1-1, RPI 292) Next game, Nov. 21 vs. Davidson

The Bulldogs are a team people know the least about this year. After losing 2013 SEC Player of the Year Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, it has been all Charles Mann (15.5 ppg 3 apg) for the Bulldogs and he really shined with 24 points in their loss to Georgia Tech in Athens.

13. Mississippi State (3-0, RPI 246) Next game, Nov. 23 at Utah State

Congratulations to the Bulldogs as they are on top to the SWAC standings with a 2-0 record vs. that conference. Wait, they’re still in the SEC? Sorry, conference realignment still has me confused at times. They still have another SWAC team (Jackson State) on their schedule on Nov. 27.

14. Auburn (2-1, RPI 329) Next game, Nov. 23 vs. Murray State

An epic loss at home to a Southland Conference school in Northwestern State, a game in which Auburn led at halftime by nine points but gave up.....wait for it......72 second half points (!) to lose the game, putting the Tigers at the bottom was the easiest decision on the list.

*RPIs are from Joe Lunardi at ESPN.com. You can see them all here.

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