Alabama beat Mississippi State 66-63 on Wednesday while Tennessee blasted Georgia 70-41. That means the Crimson Tide and Volunteers remain alone in first and second, respectively, in the SEC standings and seem to be separating from the rest of the league -- at least as it pertains to national relevance and NCAA Tournament seeding.
Both Alabama and Tennessee are projected top-two seeds for the NCAA Tournament, according to CBS Sports Bracketology expert Jerry Palm. I would agree with that sentiment — evidence being that I have Alabama No. 2 and Tennessee No. 8 in Thursday morning's updated CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings. No other SEC school is in my top 20, however, nor better than a 6-seed in Palm's latest projected bracket, all of which suggests there's a sizable gap between Alabama/Tennessee and everybody else in the conference.
Does that mean the SEC is a two-team race? Not necessarily.
Texas A&M won at Auburn 79-63 late Wednesday -- which dropped the Tigers to 22nd in the Top 25 And 1 -- to improve to 6-1 in the league and remain tied in the loss column with Tennessee (7-1) and just one game back in the loss column of Alabama (8-0). So the Aggies could be a factor -- especially if they continue playing the way they've been playing during this nine-game stretch in which they're 8-1 and performing like a top-10 team, according to BartTorvik.com. That acknowledged, KenPom.com still projects Alabama and Tennessee to ultimately finish at least three games ahead of everybody else in the SEC.
As for additional movement in Thursday's Top 25 And 1, Xavier advanced three spots to No. 11 following Wednesday's 82-79 win at UConn, which caused Virginia, TCU and Baylor to drop one spot each, no fault of their own. UConn is down to No. 26 after losing for the sixth time in eight outings. That's obviously not good -- but the Huskies are still 7-5 in the first two quadrants with four Q1 wins and only one loss outside of Q1. In other words, UConn's body of work remains better than, or at least comparable to, any other team I could put at No. 26 -- among them candidates like Rutgers, New Mexico and Nevada.
Top 25 And 1 rankings
|Zach Edey finished with 24 points and 16 rebounds in Sunday's 58-55 win over Maryland. The Boilermakers' next game is Thursday at Michigan.||--||29-6|
|Noah Clowney finished with 13 points and eight rebounds in Wednesday's 66-63 win over Mississippi State. The Crimson Tide's next game is Saturday at Oklahoma.||--||31-5|
|Marcus Carr finished with 21 points and five assists in Tuesday's 89-75 win over Oklahoma State. The Longhorns' next game is Saturday at Tennessee.||--||28-8|
|UCLA missed 80% of the 3-pointers it attempted in Saturday's 58-52 loss at Arizona. The Bruins' next game is Thursday at USC.||--||31-5|
|Jaren Holmes finished with 23 points and seven assists in Tuesday's 80-76 win over Kansas State. The Cyclones' next game is Saturday at Missouri.||--||19-14|
|Kansas State allowed the Cyclones to shoot 57.1% from the field in Tuesday's 80-76 loss at Iowa State. The Wildcats' next game is Saturday against Florida.||--||25-9|
|Jarace Walker finished with 17 points and four rebounds in Wednesday's 82-71 win at UCF. The Cougars' next game is Saturday against Cincinnati.||--||33-3|
|Zakai Zeigler finished with 11 points and seven assists in Wednesday's 70-41 win over Georgia. The Vols' next game is Saturday against Texas.||--||25-10|
|Oumar Ballo finished with 16 points and eight rebounds in Saturday's 58-52 win over UCLA. The Wildcats' next game is Thursday at Washington State.||--||28-7|
|Kansas missed 14 of the 19 3-pointers it attempted in Monday's 75-69 loss at Baylor. The Jayhawks' next game is Saturday at Kentucky.||--||28-8|
|Colby Jones finished with 20 points and four assists in Wednesday's 82-79 win at UConn. The Musketeers' next game is Saturday at Creighton.||3||27-9|
|Armaan Franklin finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds in Saturday's 76-67 win at Wake Forest. The Cavaliers' next game is Saturday against Boston College.||1||25-8|
|Mike Miles Jr. finished with 23 points and three rebounds in Tuesday's 79-52 win over Oklahoma. The Horned Frogs' next game is Saturday at Mississippi State.||1||22-13|
|LJ Cryer finished with 22 points and three assists in Monday's 75-69 win over Kansas. The Bears' next game is Saturday against Arkansas.||1||23-11|
|Kam Jones finished with 22 points and three steals in Saturday's 74-53 win at Seton Hall. The Golden Eagles' next game is Saturday at DePaul.||--||29-7|
|Drew Timme finished with 38 points and five rebounds in Saturday's 99-90 win at Pacific. The Zags' next game is Saturday at Portland.||--||30-5|
|Bryce Hopkins finished with 16 points and seven rebounds in Wednesday's 79-58 win over Butler. The Friars' next game is Sunday at Villanova.||1||21-12|
|Johnell Davis finished with 20 points and six rebounds in Saturday's 67-59 win at UTEP. The Owls' next game is Thursday against Middle Tennessee.||1||33-3|
|Jarkel Joiner finished with 28 points and six rebounds in Tuesday's 85-82 win over Notre Dame. The Wolfpack's next game is Saturday at Wake Forest.||1||23-11|
|Isaiah Wong finished with 18 points and nine rebounds in Tuesday's 86-63 win at Florida State.The Hurricanes' next game is Saturday at Pitt.||1||27-7|
|Aidan Mahaney finished with 20 points and two rebounds in Saturday's 77-58 win over Santa Clara. The Gaels' next game is Saturday at BYU.||1||27-8|
|Auburn missed 13 of the 16 3-pointers it attempted in Wednesday's 79-63 loss to Texas A&M. The Tigers' next game is Saturday at West Virginia.||5||21-13|
|Marcus Shaver Jr. finished with 16 points and six rebounds in Tuesday's 63-53 over Fresno State. The Broncos' next game is Saturday against Colorado State.||1||24-10|
San Diego St.
|Adam Seiko finished with 25 points and three rebounds in Wednesday's 85-75 win over Utah State. The Aztecs' next game is Saturday against San Jose State.||1||29-6|
|DeAndre Williams finished with 26 points and eight rebounds in Sunday's 75-68 win at Cinncinnati. The Tigers' next game is Thursday against SMU.||1||26-9|
|UConn allowed Xavier to shoot 53.4% from the field in Wednesday's 82-79 loss to the Musketeers. The Huskies' next game is Tuesday at DePaul.||3||27-8|