Tennessee (13-5, 4-3 SEC) slipped one spot to from No. 21 to No. 22 in this week’s AP Top 25 Poll. The Volunteers fell short at Missouri 59-54, but closed out the week with a gutsy 70-63 win against at South Carolina. After last week’s split, the Vols will look to sweep the season series Tuesday night at home against Vanderbilt (7-12, 2-5 SEC). Tennessee also travels to Ames, Iowa, on Saturday to face Iowa State (11-7, 2-5 Big 12) in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. Iowa State is coming off a dominant home victory over No. 8 Texas Tech.
Good news for Volunteer fans: After losing at South Carolina and at home against Florida, Kentucky (14-5, 4-3 SEC) is unranked in the AP Top 25 for the first time since the second half of the 2013-14 season. Kentucky is facing a lot of issues, mainly inexperience and immaturity. The Wildcats are lacking a dominant go-to guy that they have had in years past. The upcoming schedule doesn’t do the Cats any favors, as they play Mississippi State at home before a battle at No. 7 West Virginia. Tennessee travels to Lexington on February 6 looking to sweep the season series.
Auburn (17-2, 5-1 SEC) fell two spots to No. 19 after a 76-71 loss on the road to an Alabama team without Collin Sexton. Bruce Pearl’s squad recovered with a 79-65 home win against Georgia.
Rounding out the SEC, Florida seems to be playing like the No. 8 ranked team they were in the preseason. The No. 20 Gators (14-5, 6-1 SEC) are ranked for the first time since week six of the season. Senior big man John Egbunu returned to practice this week for the first time in eleven months. Egbunu’s presence down low has certainly been missed. Florida gets two home games this week – South Carolina on Wednesday and Baylor on Saturday in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. Tennessee won’t get their crack at the Gators until February 21 when Florida travels to Thompson-Boling Arena.