New Kentucky Wildcats staff, identical outcomes. John Calipari and Co. survived two late scares towards Ole Miss and, extra lately, Tuesday night time towards LSU, who had been difficult the ‘Cats for the highest spot within the SEC. Quite, UK pulled forward because of decisive play from Immanuel Quickley, Tyrese Maxey and, surprisingly, Nate Sestina, who knocked down 3-of-Four from behind the arc within the second half. The victory places Kentucky within the driver’s seat within the SEC, however how do these groups really rank? It is not so simple as trying on the standings.
5. LSU Tigers
LSU has misplaced 4 out of their final 5 video games, and whereas they nonetheless sit at third within the SEC standings, they’re clearly on the downswing. Will Wade should flip issues round to keep away from one other stain on his rapidly-degrading popularity. The Tigers want extra constant assist for Skyler Mays.
4. Florida Gators
The suddenly-hot Florida Gators have rebounded properly from their Jan. three-game shedding streak. A lot of that may be credited to Kerry Blackshear and Andrew Nembhard. The Tigers’ outcomes embody robust losses by the hands of No. 1 Baylor and then-surging LSU earlier within the season. Decisive wins over Arkansas, Georgia, Vanderbilt (twice) and Texas A&M have Florida again within the NCAA Event dialog.
3. South Carolina Gamecocks
There was no hotter staff within the SEC than the South Carolina Gamecocks, led by AJ Lawson and Jermaine Couisnard. USC has gained eight of their final ten video games, together with wins over Kentucky, LSU and Texas Tech. Earlier within the yr, they beat Virginia. Case and level, these Gamecocks are an NCAA Event nightmare. In an unpredictable yr for faculty basketball, Frank Martin’s squad may very well be gearing up for an additional deep run.
2. Auburn Tigers
Auburn’s consistency of their SEC schedule following a lightweight non-conference is spectacular, as such an adjustment wasn’t anticipated to be simple for Bruce Pearl’s bunch. In some ways, the Tigers characterize the previous mildew of school basketball, led by upperclassmen (exterior of Isaac Okoro) who’ve been there earlier than. Their 22-Three report is barely exaggerated resulting from their cupcake non-conference schedule, however they’ve confirmed succesful when examined towards Kentucky, South Carolina and LSU.
1. Kentucky Wildcats
Might it’s anybody else? Calipari’s staff has confirmed themselves after which some after a tough non-conference slate. Maxey is without doubt one of the most intriguing freshmen within the nation, and Quickley is an electrical scorer in crunch-time. Add probably the greatest defensive guards within the nation in Ashton Hagans, plus a dependable large in Nick Richards and you’ve got a Closing 4 contender. Wins over LSU, Texas Tech, Louisville and Michigan State solely boosts their resume.