Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics
We are a month into conference play in college basketball season, and Tennessee and Alabama seem to be the top two teams in the SEC.
The two teams currently hold a 13-1 combined conference record, with Tennessee having the loss against Kentucky in Knoxville. Overall, Alabama is 17-2 and the Vols are 16-3.
In the most previously released AP Top 25 Poll, Alabama and Tennessee earned Top five spots, with the Tide coming in at No. 2 and the Vols at No. 4. If Tennessee and Alabama continue to win up until February 15, there is a real chance Thompson-Boling Arena will see the top-ranked Tide take on the second-ranked Vols. But, the Vols have tough matchups coming up against No. 10 Texas (Jan 28) and No. 15 Auburn (Feb 4). Luckily for UT, both are at home. As for Alabama, the Tide will play Auburn on the road on February 11, right before Tennessee and Alabama face off on February 15.
Tennessee and Alabama are the only two SEC teams in the Top 10, and Auburn joins the two in cracking the Top 15 at No. 15. Auburn has the same record as Tennessee at 16-3 (6-1 SEC), but road losses to unranked teams Georgia and USC (who Tennessee beat), have dropped the Tigers in the rankings a bit. We will see if Auburn can be as dominant as the 2022 Tigers were down the stretch, as Bruce Pearl’s group faces Tennessee, Texas A&M twice and Alabama in the next three weeks.
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There are no other SEC teams on the poll outside of UT, Alabama and Auburn. Other teams who received votes for the poll were Arkansas (9), a resurgent Missouri team (8) and Kentucky (3).
A banged up Arkansas team has yet to live up to the preseason hype, posting a 3-5 record so far in conference play (14-6 overall). Missouri started the season as a surprisingly good team, losing just one non-conference game (Kansas) and beginning conference play with a blowout win over Kentucky. However, the Tigers have since come back down to earth, struggling in conference play with a 4-4 record. Kentucky fans were hitting the panic button after a blowout loss to Alabama and home loss to South Carolina in back-to-back games, but the Wildcats got back on track with their win over Tennessee in Knoxville.
Counting the Tennessee win, John Calipari’s team has won four games in a row.
Tennessee will look to get their seventh SEC win of the season against Georgia Wednesday night at 7 p.m. ET in Thompson-Boling Arena.