Likely the most contentious conference in the nation, teams in the SEC took some serious turns at ranking maneuvers over the past week.
The enigmatic Arkansas Razorbacks, which started their SEC campaign with two wins (Auburn and Alabama) followed by two losses (South Carolina and Georgia), yesterday won their third straight, whipping the tar out of the Florida Gators, 80-61, while moving into first place tie with Mississippi State in the West division.
That may have come as a surprise to some, but the Gators are rebuilding, having lost their starting five after capturing two straight NCAA championships. That level of excellence is difficult to maintain, even for coach Billy Donovan.
Meanwhile, the Razorbacks have been knocking on the door for the past couple of seasons. They made an unanticipated run to the SEC championship game last season, only to lose to the Gators by 21 and end up in the NIT tourney.
Sonny Weems led the scoring with 17 and Gary Ervin added 15 points with six assists. Arkansas improved to 16-5 and 5-2 in the conference.
The only ranked team in the SEC West, Mississippi, lost at home to South Carolina, 80-77, while the Mississippi St. Bulldogs fell 76-71 at SEC East leader Tennessee (19-2, 6-1), clearly the class of the conference.
Kentucky made more noise with their third consecutive conference win and first on the road, knocking down Georgia, 63-58 to get to 4-2. Both Vanderbilt and Mississippi are 3-4 in SEC play after beginning the season undefeated, with 15-0 and 13-0 records, respectively.
The SEC may not be the best conference in the country, but it certainly is one of the more unpredictable and exciting.