Kevin (Chattanooga, TN)
How improved is the SEC this year? So far, Kentucky, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Mississippi all seem to be more solid than any of the SEC teams were last season.
Jay Bilas (2:36 PM)
It is much better than last year. When Kentucky is really good, it lifts the whole profile of the league. The SEC was pretty pedestrian by its high standards last year. This year, UK, UT, Vandy, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State are all NCAA quality teams. I'm a little surprised that LSU isn't more competitive this year, though. In time, Georgia and South Carolina will be back, too.
24) Vanderbilt 14-3 (23 Votes, 32nd Last Week) - Vanderbilt has rolled off eight straight wins since a two-game skid in early December, including two recent road wins over Alabama and South Carolina. A visit from Auburn is next on Saturday before the Commodores travel to Tennessee and Kentucky next week.
Where the voters had us:
Jay Bilas - 25th
Pat Forde - NR
Fran Fraschilla - 25th
Doug Gottlieb - NR
Andy Katz - 23rd
Joe Lunardi - 21st
Dana O'Neil - 23rd
Mark Schlabach - 24th
Dick Vitale - 18th
Jay Williams - NR
The Wildcats remain the league's biggest story as they move toward a No. 1 seed in the NCAAs, but Tennessee's surge despite all the legal issues is the most compelling current one. After that? There's room to roam.
SHOULD BE IN
Tennessee (14-2, 2-0, RPI: 21, SOS: 60) not only held its own while shorthanded, it backed up its upset of Kansas with a thumping of Auburn and an overtime victory over Ole Miss. Now that two of the suspended players have been reinstated, the Vols have more depth for this week's road swing to Alabama and Georgia.
IN THE MIX
Very quietly, Vanderbilt (13-3, 3-0, RPI: 22, SOS: 29) has won eight straight after a road sweep at Alabama and South Carolina. Beating Auburn at home on Saturday should be a priority, as the next two-game trip after that is at Tennessee and Kentucky. We'll find out everything we need to know there. Nonleague was a mixed bag, with losses to Western Kentucky and Illinois) and wins over Missouri and at Saint Mary's.
Looking at Vandy and Tennessee there and it's hard to say why Vols are in and 'Dores are out. Numbers look pretty close, with Vandy having played a much more difficult schedule to this point.
San Jose 6 Vanderbilt 11 Siena (MAAC)