Now that we're in late January and closing in fast on February, the meat of the conference schedule is here. There are a few key games in the midweek schedule that will help to sort things out—or keep them relatively muddy.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 26
Mississippi State at South Carolina, 7 p.m. ET, SEC Network
I don't think anyone thought South Carolina's 15-0 start meant that it was one of the best teams in the country, but its results in SEC play haven't been inspiring so far. Its home win over Vandy is easily the best, but it took overtime to down a shorthanded Ole Miss and its other two wins were over Auburn and Missouri. There isn't any shame in losing to a solid Tennessee team when Kevin Punter goes for 36, but losing to Alabama by 23 looks worse by the day.
Meanwhile, Mississippi State finally picked up an SEC win over the weekend, but it easily could have had a couple more with some better breaks. Don't count out the Bulldogs in this one.
Florida at Vanderbilt, 9 p.m. ET, ESPNU
This is the best matchup of the weekday games, with the Gators at No. 26 and Vandy No. 33 in the KenPom ratings. Don't expect many points, as both teams' defenses have far higher ratings than their offenses. These two are in the mid-to-late 100s in tempo as well, so quantity of possessions won't overcome that factor. First to 70 wins, assuming either can get even get there.
Georgia at LSU, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN
This one is No. 83 playing at No. 60, but Ben Simmons gets this one on the main ESPN channel over Florida-Vanderbilt. That's probably OK, as the frontcourt battle between Simmons and Yante Maten should make for some compelling television. With only one game separating these teams in the standings, there is plenty on the line.
Tennessee at Alabama, 9 p.m. ET, SEC Network
I have a harder time selling this game with both teams in the KenPom 80s, but there is at least a "clash of styles" bit to lean on. The Vols are No. 34 in offensive efficiency, while the Tide is No. 32 in defensive efficiency. That enough for you?
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 27
Auburn at Ole Miss, 7 p.m. ET, SEC Network
I haven't been able to find a point spread on this game after some brief searching—and if you can tell me what it is, you probably wear the title of "degenerate" proudly. Anyway, I'd bet that the Tigers would actually get the nod over the injury plagued Rebels at the moment. The game is in Oxford, so maybe that'll swing things the other way. Still, the arrow on Ole Miss isn't pointed in the right direction at the moment.
Texas A&M at Arkansas, 7 p.m. ET, ESPNU
ESPNU: the home of the hottest SWC hoops action. The Hogs have lost three straight, including an overtime heartbreaker against Georgia over the weekend. They'd love to snap out of it by taking down the conference leader, but I don't expect that to happen.
Missouri at Kentucky, 9 p.m. ET, SEC Network
After some struggles in finding an identity, the Wildcats are rounding into shape with a pair of blowout wins over Arkansas and Vanderbilt, respectively. If it's true and Big Blue's talent is congealing, this could turn into a snuff film early with it being in Rupp.