SEC Hoops Preseason Power Rankings

Friday, November 5, 2021

SEC Hoops Preseason Power Rankings

Auburn v Kentucky
Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Who’s ready for some SEC Basketball?

Well..... it’s been awhile. I know some of you that frequent this site may be wondering where has the preseason basketball coverage been and to be honest, life has kept me extremely busy lately. But it’s time for College Basketball season and it’s time for some hoops content!

Over the course of the offseason we see people make all of these projections whether it be brackets, players of the years, standings, etc. I haven’t made any public SEC predictions as to where I think each team will finish in the league this season.... until now.

While there have been a lot of changes in the SEC this offseason thanks to the transfer portal and NIL, the league has gotten stronger and this should be a highly competitive league this season. There’s no consensus favorite and you can make an argument for 6-7 teams that could potentially win the league this season. You can also make the argument that 8-9 teams from this league will hear their named called on Selection Sunday for the NCAA Tournament. Here is where I think things will end up this season and surely I will be wrong about a lot of this but here are my preseason power rankings.

#1 - Kentucky

9-16 - That is an unfathomable record for Kentucky Basketball ever but that was tWas last season a fluke? That’s one of the biggest questions going into the season for the Cats and John Calipari who had a very out of characteristic bad season last year. But Coach Cal went out into the transfer portal like every other coach and reloaded his roster to fill some of the gaps that were the downfall of last year’s team. He upgraded the 3-point shooting department bringing in Kellan Grady from Davidson and CJ Frederick from Iowa. They also went to the Georgia well and got Sahvir Wheeler to play PG for Big Blue. Add in former West Virginia forward Oscar Tshiebwe and freshmen TyTy Washington who Auburn really wanted and this seems like it will be a bounce back season for the Cats. If not, things will get really really interesting in Lexington on the coaching front.

#2 - Arkansas

2-3 years from now we could looking at the Razorbacks being one of Auburn’s biggest basketball rivals. Eric Musselman is building one heck of a program in Fayetteville and he and Bruce Pearl are battling for a lot of the same players on the recruiting trail. Musselman has always been a master at landing transfers and this year is no exception. Chris Lykes from Miami, all 5-7 of him, is the big name here. He was a preseason 1st Team All-ACC player but an ankle injury derailed his season and he elected to move on after the season. Au’Diese Toney from Pittsburgh is another former ACC player who joins Arkansas this season as well. Devo Davis, Jaylin Williams and JD Notae return for a team that was one win away from the Final Four last season.

#3 - Auburn

A lot of people have Auburn in the 4-6 range this preseason but I think the Tigers will exceed those expectations a bit. Jabari Smith is a star and Auburn fans better enjoy him this season on the Plains. I don’t think people have realized how good he is yet. This could be one of the best frontcourts in America with Smith along with UNC transfer Walker Kessler, a 7-1 center that can knock down the 3 ball. I’m really excited for this backcourt as well that BP made over in the offseason that has been well documented. Wendell Green intrigues the heck out of me but a lot of preseason buzz has gone to Zep Jasper as he was one of the most impressive players at the team’s Pro Day and at Tipoff at Toomer’s a few weeks ago. Don’t forget about KD Johnson as well as he should make a big impact both ways for Auburn. The biggest question will be how long Allen Flanigan is out due to his Achilles injury and how do the Tigers adjust when he returns.

#4 - Alabama

The defending SEC Champions lost Herb Jones, John Petty and Alex Reese but Nate Oats has done a tremendous job on the recruiting trail as well. J.D. Davison was the prized recruit in the state of Alabama this season and he’ll join a talented group of guards including Keon Ellis and Jaden Shackelford and Jahvon Quinerly who should have a big 2nd season for the Crimson Tide. Alabama has some young but very talented pieces in the frontcourt as well and both Auburn-Alabama games will be must-see games this season, more-so than before.

#5 - Tennessee

The Vols always keep the preseason hype and while I think they’ll be really good this season, I’ve knocked them down a notch based on previous season’s results. John Fulkerson is back for one more year, as is Santiago Vescovi. They also added Justin Powell in the portal and some extremely talented freshmen in Kennedy Chandler and Brandon Huntley-Hatfield.

#6 - Mississippi State

My gut is telling me that the Bulldogs are my sleeper team in the SEC this season. Iverson Molinar is one of the best players in the league and the Bulldogs went out and added Garrison Brooks from North Carolina, D.J. Jeffries from Memphis and Rocket Watts from Michigan State out of the transfer portal. Keep an eye on this team this season.

#7 - LSU

I knocked LSU down a notch due to losing Illinois transfer Adam Miller for the season due to a Torn ACL. Darius Days is back and this should be his team this season down on the Bayou. LSU added Xavier Pinson from Missouri and center Efton Reid was one of the top players in the 2021 class.

#8 - Florida

Well any thoughts of Mike White’s job security being an issue went away as the school gave him a contract extension earlier this offseason. It’s still unknown if Florida will get Keyontae Johnson back at any point. That would be a huge lift for the Gators but Colin Castleton returns for Florida who burst onto the scene early during SEC play last season. The Gators also added Myreon Jones from Penn State and CJ Felder from Boston College in the transfer portal.

#9 - Ole Miss

Here’s a team that I think could very well finish much higher than most people including me think. Kermit Davis is one of the better coaches out there and he was just given a contract extension at Ole Miss earlier this week. Devontae Shuler is gone but they brought in multiple transfers like most schools including Jaemyn Brakefield from Duke, Nysier Brooks from Miami and Tye Fagan from Georgia. Jarkel Joiner also returns and former Auburn commit (briefly during 2019) Daeshun Ruffin joins the roster this season as well.

#10 - Vanderbilt

I may have the Dores too high here but I think Scotty Pippen Jr. is going to have a monster year and carry this team to some wins in the league. It’s mindboggling how many guys are playing in the NBA right now that have been at Vandy the last 3-4 years. Jordan Wright is also back and the Dores added 7 footer Liam Robbins who played at Minnesota last season. It’s a big year for Jerry Stackhouse as his team looks to take a step forward in the SEC.

#11 - Missouri

Truthfully, I don’t know much about this Mizzou roster other than they lost a lot of pieces including both Dru and Mark Smith (Kansas State) and Xavier Pinson is now at LSU. With their top 4 scorers no longer in Columbia, they will rely much more on Kobe Brown and Javon Pickett, their top 2 leading scorers returning this year.

#12 - South Carolina

COVID ravaged everyone last season but fewer teams had to go through what South Carolina did last year as they played just 21 of their 27 scheduled games last season and had multiple stoppages during the season. They could never build any momentum and it was a tough year for the Gamecocks. Keyshawn Bryant and Jermaine Couisnard are back this season and they added former Murray State guard Chico Carter in the transfer portal.

#13 - Texas A&M

Another team that struggled mightily with COVID last season, playing just 18 games, Buzz Williams now enters his 3rd season at Texas A&M. The Aggies added Henry Coleman from Duke and Jalen Johnson from Mississippi State out of the transfer portal. Quenton Jackson is back after being 2nd on the team in scoring last season.

#14 - Georgia

So if you listened to the Orange and True Podcast this week, @SonOfCrow on Venmo asked me who was going to have more wins this season: Georgia Football or Georgia Basketball? I think it’s going to be football folks. Georgia has had an entire roster overhaul as nine players entered the transfer portal with 3 guys landing at other schools. This is a massive year for Tom Crean and it will be interesting to see what direction this program goes after this season.

Well there you have it, those are my thoughts as the season tips off on Tuesday. This should be an incredibly exciting College Basketball season!

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