Every SEC team has played four games with two exceptions. The Florida Gators have played five times (4-1) and the Georgia Bulldogs three (2-1).
Those who follow the league were virtually unanimous in the belief that Arkansas was going to win the West and Tennessee would dominate the East. Well at this point, surprise, surprise the Mississippi State Bulldogs (4-0) leads the West and those $#%$^&! Gators are atop the East.
Here's one man's opinion how the SEC ranks one through twelve.
1. Tennessee ----- The Vols are half game back of the Gators in the East after falling to Kentucky Tuesday night. Still you gotta feel the Vols are the most talented, experienced team in the league. The Smith family (Tyler, Ramar, JaJuan) combines for 36.3 points a night and team with Chris Lofton (13.8) to give the Vols as many weapons as anyone. The only long term question about this team is will it be physical enough in the paint?
2. Vanderbilt ----- The addition of Aussie A.J. Oglivie has made the Commodores far more dangerous in combination with Shan Foster. Yes, they've dropped a pair of league games, but they're a tough out.
3. Miss State ----- they have a tremendous tandem in power guard Jamont Gordon and power forward Charles Rhodes. Add in shot blocking phenom Jarvis Varnado and you have a real contender.
4. Ole Miss ----- The Rebels are a notch below the Bulldogs despite a superior RPI and overall record. Three of their top four scorers are from the state of Florida including freshman guard Chris Warren.
5. Florida ----- You can't be in the top half of the SEC with only nine players, eight of whom are freshmen and sophomores, can you? Billy Donovan has never been SEC Coach of the Year, but if this team wins 10+ in the league he should win it this year.
6. Arkansas ----- Year one has been tougher than expected for John Pelphrey, but the Hogs have too much talent not to claim a spot in the top half of the Western standings.
7. Kentucky ----- They are not a great team and won't be for a while, but they have enough talent and experience to beat anyone as evidenced by Tuesday's win over the boys from Rocky Top. Patrick Patterson simply cannot do it all alone in the paint, but he's really something special.
8. Auburn ----- Jeff Lebo has been plagued by bad luck with injuries to Dollard and Barber, but he has his team playing hard. When they shoot it well, they can be a dangerous team. Just ask Ole Miss and LSU if you don't believe me.
9. Georgia ----- Just like Lebo, Georgia coach Dennis Felton has had trouble keeping his roster secure with the most notable departure being power forward Takais Brown. Sundiata Gaines and Billy Humphrey make for a very capable tandem.
10. South Carolina ----- The Gamecocks would be a complete disaster if not for transfers Devan Downey and Zam Fredrick. Still, they will struggle in Dave Odom's final season with an inadequate inside game.
11. Alabama ----- There's no question Mark Gottfried is on the hot seat and Alabama is the most disappointing team in the league. They have the league's best big man in Richard Hendrix (19/10), a tremendous wing player in Alonzo Gee and some pretty good other "parts" to go with them. There is no way on earth this team should be 0-and-4.
12. LSU ----- Two years ago John Brady had the Tigers in the Final Four. Now he's viewed as the SEC coach most likely to get axed. The Bayou Bengals have dropped all of their league games and at times look completely disinterested.
No one is a "lock" for the NCAA Tournament right now, but Tennessee and Vandy are awfully close. Florida is probably closer than the Mississippi schools despite my current rankings. Right now the guess is the SEC gets five bids this time around.
It doesn't appear any of the Gators are going to be making the All-SEC team this year, but Nick Calathes is a lock for the All-Freshman team. Calathes is averaging 16 points a game with 4.9 rebounds and 5.9 assists a night. His all around skills make him one of the toughest guys in the league to deal with.
Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Larry Vettel
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