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SEC Basketball Power Rankings: 12/16

Check out the new team at the top of the SEC Basketball Power Rankings

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

1. Florida (7-2, RPI 29, LW: 2) Next game: Dec. 17 @ Memphis

The Gators are the first team in the SEC with a win over a top 25 RPI team. Their win over Kansas (RPI 5) was exactly what the conference needed to help cure its #SECBasketballFever.

2. Kentucky (8-3, RPI 46, LW: 1) Next game: Dec. 21 vs. Belmont

If they can get wins over Belmont and Louisville to finish the non-conference schedule, the Wildcats will be sitting pretty going into SEC play. They must win those games if they want to at least be a 3 or 4-seed in March.

3. Missouri (10-0, RPI 18, LW: 3) Next game: Dec. 21 vs. Illinois

I expect the Fighting Illini to win, but if Mizzou wins, they could jump Kentucky for the number two spot next week.

T-4. LSU (6-2, RPI 49, LW: 4) Next game: Dec. 18 @ Texas Tech

I couldn’t differentiate between the Tigers and the Hogs. LSU has one win over a top 50 team, and then none of their other wins are better than RPI 140 (Louisiana-Monroe). Their two losses are against RPI top 50 teams.

T-4. Arkansas (7-2, RPI 22, LW: 5) Next game: Dec. 19 vs. Tennesse-Martin

It’s not what the Razorbacks have done on the court, but what their opponents have done that helps the Hogs this week.  Arkansas’ wins against ULL (RPI 66), SMU (RPI 65) and Minnesota (RPI 62) have gradually gotten better as those teams have won.

6. Tennessee (6-3, RPI 89, LW: 6) Next game: Dec. 18 vs. NC State

If the Volunteers could have found a way to hold on to their halftime lead against Wichita State they would have been a part of the T-4 group.

7. Ole Miss (7-2, RPI 42, LW: 7) Next game: Dec. 18 vs. Louisiana-Monroe

Congrats to the Rebels on avoiding a three game/year losing streak to Middle Tennessee. Their bad loss at Kansas State (RPI 165) and lack of quality wins are what holds them down in the power rankings.

T-8. Vanderbilt (5-3, RPI 97, LW: 8) Next game: Dec. 17 vs. Austin Peay

Their three losses are to RPI top 70 teams by a combined 20 points. They seem so close, but yet so far away from being in the NIT.

T-8. Alabama (5-4), RPI 96, LW: 9) Next game: Dec. 17 vs. Wichita State

Another middle-of-the-pack SEC squad has a shot against the Shockers. I just wish that team was Arkansas.

10. Texas A&M (8-2, RPI 168, LW: 10) Next game: Dec. 21 vs. Oklahoma

Their schedule has "CBI" written all over it (at best).

11. Mississippi State (6-2, RPI 210, LW: 11) Next game: Dec. 17 vs. Florida A&M

They only beat Southeastern Louisiana by six at home last week.  Just to show the gap between the middle and the bottom of the conference, Arkansas beat the same team by 46.

12. South Carolina (2-3, RPI 78, LW: 12) Next game: Dec. 17 vs. Manhattan

It must have been finals week in Columbia last week, considering they haven’t played since Dec. 6. Thus, there is no change for the Gamecocks.  (Ed note: They've only played 5 games?!?!)

13. Georgia (4-4, RPI 315, LW: 13) Next game: Dec. 19 vs. Gardner-Webb

I like Georgia’s chances against Nebraska in the Gator Bowl.

14. Auburn (4-3, RPI 268, LW: 14) Next game: Dec. 19 vs. Clemson

Congrats to head coach Gus Malzahn on being named Home Depot Coach of the Year. It’s too bad he doesn’t coach basketball, too.

RPIs come from Joe Lunardi at ESPN.