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SEC Basketball Power Rankings: January 15

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We're finally into conference play and #SECBasketballFever has reached epidemic status.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

1. Kentucky Wildcats, 16-0 (3-0), RPI 2, LW: 1

So a funny thing happened. Kansas has jumped Kentucky for the number one overall spot in the RPI despite Kentucky beating the Jayhawks by 32 earlier this season. Obviously, this is one of the flaws with the RPI. However, I've said it time and time again, the NCAA selection committee only uses RPI. They do not use KenPom, BPI and others. Until they use those, I have to stick with RPI because that's what the decision makers use. What's funny is that not one of those three metric ratings agree on who is number one. RPI has Kansas number one, BPI has Kentucky, and KenPom has Virginia. So go figure.

2. Arkansas Razorbacks, 13-3 (2-1), RPI 13, LW: T-2

I've got to get two things out of the way. First, ARKANSAS IS NOT A BUBBLE TEAM. I know some of you guys may have some PTSD from being a bubble team the past two years, but the Hogs have to lose a lot of games to fall out of tournament discussion. Second, Tennessee did not kill Arkansas RPI. The Razorback's RPI today is literally the exact same number it was before they played the Volunteers. Should Arkansas have lost to Tennessee? Probably not. But, Tennessee is in the top 15% in the country in RPI. Aren't people who are in the top 15% of what they do, pretty good at what they do?

3. LSU Tigers, 13-3 (2-1), RPI 36, LW: T-2

Hog fans should feel good about their loss to Tennessee considering LSU lost at Missouri. You want to talk about a bad team, look up "Mizzou" in your college basketball dictionary. That breaks the tie with the Hogs dropping them to third.

4. Alabama Crimson Tide, 11-4 (2-1), RPI 41, LW: 6

They were so close to starting 3-0 in conference play, but dropped a road game at South Carolina. Tough loss, but South Carolina is one of those sneaky good teams in the SEC this year. They beat Iowa State in Brooklyn earlier this season.

5. Georgia Bulldogs, 10-5 (1-2), RPI 25, LW: 4

Don't let that 1-2 conference record fool you, the Bulldogs aren't pretenders. They had one of the toughest three game stretches to start leagues play (Ark, @LSU, @Vandy) and they came out only with a win at Vandy. They could still finish 4th or 5th in the league and make the NCAA Tournament.

6. Florida Gators, 9-6 (2-0), RPI 71, LW: 11

Tonight, they host Auburn so I expect them to start 3-0 in SEC play. However, they had one of the easiest schedules to start the conference season (@USC, MSU, AUB). After tonight, they have a five game stretch that will tell us all we need to know about the Gators (@UGA, LSU, @OM, @Bama, Ark).

7. Tennessee Volunteers, 10-5 (2-1), RPI 54, LW: 7

People want to talk bad about Tennessee, but they have TWO RPI 15 wins (Butler, Arkansas) and their worst loss is to Marquette at a neutral site. They are the definition of an NCAA bubble team right now.

8. Ole Miss Rebels, 10-6 (1-2), RPI 56, LW: 9

I have to apologize to the Rebels. I said last week in this space that they probably couldn't keep it within 30 of Kentucky and they almost won. I can only hope they can't repeat that type of performance in Bud Walton Arena Saturday.

9. South Carolina Gamecocks, 10-5 (1-2), RPI 84, LW: 5

I was buying all of the Gamecocks' stock after beating Iowa State. I'm still high on them, but I thought they could start better than 1-2 in SEC play. The win over Alabama was not only a top 50 RPI win, but it kept them from starting 0-3 on conference.

10. Texas A&M Aggies, 10-5 (1-2), RPI 57, LW: 8

Thank goodness for Mississippi State, their only conference win.

11. Vanderbilt Commodores, 11-5 (1-2), RPI 83, LW: 10

I was really impressed with their effort against Arkansas, but with the depth in the league, I have to rank them in the double digits.

12. Auburn Tigers, 9-6 (1-1), RPI 90, LW: 12

I don't see much change in the bottom three. Auburn has already lost to Vandy, so they won't jump them anytime soon.

13. Missouri Tigers, 7-9 (1-2), RPI 136, LW: 13

I made a cruel joke last week about them making the CBI that I have to apologize for. I shouldn't get their hopes up like that.

14. Mississippi State Bulldogs, 7-9 (0-3), RPI 227, LW: 14

Honestly, I don't think anyone in the SEC wants to play them because even if you win they kill your RPI.