Our weekly look at SEC basketball:
* I guess the best way to look at this Florida basketball team is to call it “Team Weird.” From one game to the next, you don’t know what you’re getting. One day, you may think this is a team that can make a deep run in the tournament, a few days later you wonder if it will get into the tournament. I know this, you won’t see a lot of people picking Florida to go far in their brackets if UF makes the field, because they know that game they showed Tuesday is in there waiting to come out. At the same time, this same team held Baylor to 60 points and Baylor scored 96 points a few nights later in Norman, Okla. Basketball is similar to football in that every game is its own game, but the way this team is up and down has been exasperating to the fans. The trouble is, I don’t know if it’s going to change over these last nine conference games. It’s looking less likely John Egbunu is coming back at all, so they is what they is. Of course, let’s remember that nobody had Florida making a deep run last year. So there is that.
* When the Gators lost to Loyola-Chicago on Dec. 6, we figured/hoped that it would be their worst loss of the year. Not so fast my friend. That team is having a heck of a year and RPI-wise Florida has three worse losses — to Georgia (55th), South Carolina (62) and Ole Miss (85). Loyola-Chicago is now 52nd in the RPI.
* You know what Auburn is? Auburn is what we thought Florida would be in November after the tournament in Portland. Auburn scores a bunch of points, has multiple 3-point shooters, makes clutch shots and finds a way to play its best when other teams are making runs. The Tigers have a two-game lead on the field in the SEC and I don’t think there’s anyway to avoid the reality that Greg Sankey will be presenting Bruce Pearl with the trophy in St. Louis. I think I threw up in my mouth a little bit.
* Sometimes it feels like there are teams trying not to get into the Big Dance. South Carolina followed up its big win in Gainesville with a pair of losses at home, including Wednesday night against Mississippi State. Alabama got an impressive win over Oklahoma and then lost to Missouri at home. Arkansas won three in a row before losing to Texas A&M. It’s all about winning on the road with the new Quadrat System and there are six SEC teams with one or fewer road wins this season.
* Ranking the best non-conference SEC wins based on the latest RPI:
- Tennessee, over Purdue (8th).
- Alabama, over Rhode Island (9).
- Alabama, over Oklahoma (10).
- Arkansas, over Oklahoma (10).
- Florida, over Cincinnati (15).
- Vanderbilt, over TCU (21).
- Auburn, over Middle Tenn. (24).
- LSU, over Michigan (32).
- Texas A&M, over West Virginia (33).
- Kentucky, over West Virginia (33).