The SEC men’s basketball action in the first week brought some unexpected surprises. Take Vanderbilt basketball, for example. They suffered an unexpected loss in their season opener against Presbyterian.
However, the top part of the SEC played out as anticipated. Tennessee claimed a significant early victory against Wisconsin. Alabama exceeded the 100-point mark twice. Meanwhile, Arkansas dominated, and Texas A&M coach Buzz Williams demonstrated that winning on the road is achievable.
We know the Vols are poised to be a top defensive team in the nation. But shooting 50% from the field against Wisconsin on the road? That’s remarkable. Only three visiting teams since 2018-19 have scored 80 points or more in a regulation game at the Kohl Center.
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2. Texas A&M
If it wasn’t for Tennessee, the Aggies would have had the most impressive win of the first week, defeating Ohio State in Columbus. Williams has the talent and roster continuity to achieve significant success with this group.
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It might take some time before we can truly gauge the Razorbacks’ potential. For now, watching Khalif Battle excel against teams like Alcorn State and Gardner-Webb will have to suffice.
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The Crimson Tide feasted on weaker opponents throughout the week, putting up two 100-point performances. Nate Oats’ team might just be the most entertaining team to watch in the SEC.
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Coach Cal and the Wildcats coasted to routine wins against lesser opponents. But an upcoming matchup against Kansas will prove to be a more challenging test.
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6. Mississippi State
If the Bulldogs can improve on offense and maintain last season’s defensive prowess, they could be one of the top teams in the conference. Chris Jans’ team displayed strong offensive prowess against Arizona State, connecting on 10 3-pointers in a victory.
Last week: 7
It’s evident that Auburn is no longer playing slow-paced basketball as they did last season. This change is a positive development. However, they need to address their defensive lapses to avoid conceding high points, as in their loss to Baylor.
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The Gators put up a good fight in their close neutral site loss to Virginia. Keep an eye on 7-foot-1 Marshall transfer Micah Handlogten, who shows potential as a future All-SEC candidate.
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A 55-point offensive output in a loss to Memphis was unexpected for a team that boasted one of the best offenses in college basketball last season. Replacing the outgoing scoring production from last season was always going to be a challenging task.
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10. South Carolina
Vanderbilt transfer Myles Stute led the Gamecocks to a solid win over Virginia Tech. Lamont Paris’ team is showing early signs of promise. It remains to be seen if they can maintain this momentum and avoid repeating last season’s shortcomings.
Last week: 13
11. Ole Miss
The Rebels didn’t dazzle in their first two games under Chris Beard, but they managed to avoid embarrassment against weaker opponents. This sets them apart from a few of their conference peers who are currently at the bottom of the rankings.
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Credit is due to Georgia for challenging themselves against two power conference opponents at the start of the season. Their split against Oregon and Wake Forest is a respectable beginning for Mike White’s rebuilding Bulldogs.
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Vanderbilt suffered a humiliating loss at home to Presbyterian, a team that lost 18 consecutive games to close out last season. This defeat, coupled with the coach’s remarks about running up the score, has raised concerns.
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LSU hasn’t had a promising start under Matt McMahon. Before thinking about competing in the SEC, they need to re-establish themselves as the best team in their state. A discouraging loss at home to Nicholls won’t help their cause.
Last week: 14
Laura Davis covers the world of basketball with precision. Her articles explore NBA and college basketball, offering game analysis, player profiles, and highlights. Laura’s passion for hoops is evident in her comprehensive basketball coverage.