The SEC non conference scheduling has been fantastic this season. Six teams have RPI's in the Top 50 compared to only two teams at the end of last season. Let's get into the power rankings.
1) Kentucky (9-1 RPI: 10) - The Wildcats are a 5-point home loss to UCLA away from having a perfect record at this point in the season. We will know a lot more by Christmas, as Kentucky plays North Carolina and Louisville to round out their non-conference schedule.
2) Florida (7-3 RPI: 4) - Florida has played a tough tough tough out of conference schedule, and despite their talent, has yet to notch a top 50 RPI win. They have yet to play a game in Gainesville due to a renovation of the O-Dome that will be complete later this month. I might have considered putting the Gators higher, but they let a game slip away against Florida State this weekend that they really should have won.
3) South Carolina (8-0 RPI: 14) - I want to put South Carolina's schedule down and say that's the reason they're undefeated, but wins against Michigan and Syracuse can't be discounted.
4) Arkansas (8-1 RPI: 33) - Arkansas is second in the SEC in scoring behind Kentucky. Arkansas has not been playing big name teams, but has been playing teams that continue to win to help assemble a terrific resume for March. There are still 3 games to go before Florida comes to town, but I'm excited for conference play to start to see if Arkansas can challenge for one of the top spots in the SEC.
5) Auburn (6-1 RPI: 20) - It starts to get a little uglier here. Auburn's best win is against Texas Tech who simply hasn't played anybody. The Tigers have a lot of games left to play before the conference slate starts including road trips to Boston College, Oklahoma, and Connecticut that could really define the direction for Pearl's 2016-17 squad.
6) Georgia (5-3 RPI: 57) - Georgia has played the 2nd toughest schedule in the SEC this season, and have three quality losses putting them up this high. Yante Maten and JJ Frazier need one other player to step up to make the Bulldogs an NCAA tournament team.
7) Texas A&M (7-2 RPI:65) - A&M was up by 17 at halftime against South Carolina State. The final score shows a win, but the Aggies lost the 2nd half by ten points. The senior laden squad that challenged Kentucky last season is gone, but the Aggies still have enough talent to make some noise this season.
8) Ole Miss (6-3 RPI:30) - This is Andy Kennedy's 11th season in Oxford. He's failed to get 20 wins only twice. I'm sure the Rebels can do it again this season. The Rebels really have no bad losses yet.
9) Tennessee (4-4 RPI: 116) - Tennessee is young. Did you see how well they played against North Carolina yesterday? They were up 15 at one point. I'm not saying Tennessee is good enough to do that all the time, but they played well yesterday. A 13-point loss to Chattanooga is all that is keeping the Volunteers from leapfrogging a few teams.
10) Mississippi St. (6-2 RPI: 168) - They've been blown out in losses to Central Florida and Lehigh on their way to having the softest schedule in the SEC.
11) Vanderbilt (5-5 RPI:88) - Who is Vanderbilt now that Kevin Stallings has moved on after 17 seasons? I don't know, but Vanderbilt has 5 losses in the top 100 in the RPI, and no other SEC team can say that.
12) LSU (5-2 RPI: 116) - LSU's win over Houston made Arkansas’ game against Houston not quite as big going into it as Arkansas was hoping. The Tigers haven't played a game in almost two weeks. Do they still remember how to play basketball?
13) Alabama (4-4 RPI:133) - It takes a lot of guts to go on the road and play at Oregon. No team has scored more than 77 points in an Alabama game this season. While Kentucky and Arkansas will vie for the most points scored championship belt this season, Alabama has almost certainly secured the lowest.
14) Missouri (5-4 RPI: 210) - Arizona scored 13 3-pointers in the game as they pulled away from Mizzou late into the game on Saturday. Kim Anderson has a long slog to make Missouri relevant again.