Ken Pomeroy published his preseason rankings earlier this week, and he only has two SEC teams in his Top 25. Kentucky ranks second, and Florida is ranked seventh. Not too bad at all. Only the ACC has multiple teams in the Top 10 along with the SEC; however, there's no conference depth after John Calipari and Billy Donovan's squads just like previous seasons. SEC basketball remains top-heavy.
The next SEC team isn't found on the list until Arkansas shows up ranked 44th. Georgia checks in at 48th, thus making only four SEC teams in the Top 50. For perspective, the Big 10 has eleven of its twelve teams in Top 50, and both the ACC and Big 12 have seven teams in the same range.
Here's the complete SEC preseason rankings:
It's difficult to project if the conference will improve in the next 2-4 years without comparing to other conferences that will also be fluctuating. If scrutinized through a vacuum, though, it's hard not to feel optimistic about SEC quality rising in the future. Auburn has its best basketball coach since Cliff Ellis roamed the sidelines. With the help of assistant Rick Stansbury, Texas A&M is starting to land some of Texas' top prep talent. Missouri's new staff is also bringing elite players to campus for visits. Mark Fox is one of the most underrated coaches in the country. Frank Martin may actually make South Carolina respectable again.
None of this is to say in a few years the SEC will rival the Big 10, ACC, or Big 12 necessarily. Conference strength is cyclical and ebbs and flows will usually happen anyway. What I think it does mean is the fundamentals appear to be improving. The league has better coaches, and a few teams seemed poised to exponentially improve their recruiting.
The signs appear positive for the SEC having more than two teams in the 2016 preseason Top 25 rankings.