Happy New Year everyone!
Here are the rankings for games up to and including Tuesday, 2 January 2018.
1: 15-0 Mississippi State (1)
Putting up the biggest winning margin in school history is one way to cement your place at the top of the power rankings. Mississippi State closed out non-con play in a game where if you picked Mississippi Valley State +75 you would still have lost. The 112-36 demolition was followed by a convincing win over previously one-loss Georgia.
2: 13-0 Tennessee (2)
It feels like Tennessee has played less than most over the Christmas period, but they stay at No. 2 here with a win over slumping Kentucky. Bigger tests are to come for this bunch.
3: 12-1 South Carolina (3)
The final team of the three heavy hitters in the conference thus far had a huge scare this week at the hands of No. 22 Texas A&M. The Lady Gamecocks can always turn to A’ja Wilson, however, and she scored the go-ahead bucked with 11 seconds left as part of her 25 points in the 61-59 win.
4: 13-1 Mizzou (4)
Missouri is another team that has barely played over the last two weeks and it took the Tigers a little while to warm up against Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Sophomore guard Jordan Chavis was the spark with 17 points, including five free throws in the final minute to secure a 62-56 win.
5: 11-4 Texas A&M (6)
Texas A&M moves up in the rankings despite only going 1-1 on the week. Their performance on the road against South Carolina was one that pushed the No. 4 Gamecocks to the absolute wire as Chennedy Carter proved once again she is an absolute star as she put up 36 points in the loss. With Carter firing, this Aggies team can beat anyone in the country.
6: 12-2 Georgia (5)
Georgia also went 1-1 on the week and lost to one of the best schools in the country. The Lady Bulldogs, however, weren’t all that competitive against Mississippi State as they failed to deal with A’ja Wilson’s size in the paint. The 26 point loss sees them drop to No. 6 in our power rankings.
7: 10-4 Ole Miss (7)
Ole Miss picked up a much needed with over Texas Southern to rebound from their miserable West Coast trip that saw losses to Oregon and Portland State. Their opening SEC defeat on the road against Arkansas by a point says more about the improvement of the Razorbacks than anything about the Rebels.
8: 10-4 Arkansas (11)
Beating Grambling 79-62 to round out non-con play was the expected result. Arkansas then picked up one of the better SEC wins of the week as they held their home court in a one-point thriller against Ole Miss. It was a game that the Razorbacks controlled for long stretches before squeaking out the win, and they will need to be more ruthless as the season moves on.
9: 10-3 Auburn (8)
Auburn drop a place through no fault of their own as the Razorbacks moved up. Auburn had the easiest final non-con game of any SEC team as they beat Xavier (LA.) by 26 points. They then beat a Florida team that is in disarray by 29 points to open SEC play. Watch out for this bunch.
10: 9-3 LSU (9)
LSU – like Auburn – actually won two games this week and still dropped a place in the rankings to tenth on the strength of Arkansas beating Ole Miss. The Tigers wins were both convincing, but they suffered from playing two teams in Sam Houston State and Vanderbilt that have combined for seven wins so far this season.
11: 10-4 Alabama (10)
In many ways the Crimson Tide can feel unlucky to drop a place in these rankings. The did as expected this week really, dominating a 2-11 Florida A&M team buy 36 points, then dropping a close one to Missouri. Even at No. 11 in our rankings, this is a team that could upset one of the big teams on their day.
12: 8-6 Florida (13)
The Gators jump up a spot in our rankings because of the continued struggles of Tennessee. Closing out non-con play with a dominating win over Delaware State was solid, but Florida really struggled on the road at Auburn, losing by 29 points in their SEC opener.
13: 8-7 Kentucky (12)
Kentucky’s fall from grace is the story of the second half of the non-conference season. It was two more losses this week for the Lady Wildcats, losing 62-57 to Middle Tennessee and then losing their conference opener to the Lady Vols. The only consolation here is it is unlikely that Kentucky can fall any further.
14: 4-11 Vanderbilt (14)
It feels like a case of one step forward being immediately followed by two steps back for Vanderbilt. Their fourth win over the season was one where the offense was firing in a 92-82 win over Lipscomb. Then SEC play tipped off and the Lady Commodores fell by 20 at LSU.