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SEC Look Around the League 1/19/16

This week in SEC Hoops.

John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Florida: (Kenpom 27)

Since getting a big win over LSU, the Gators dropped a game on the road in College Station and then bounced back to win a close game at home against Ole Miss. They get two games at home, then on the road at Vandy, before they play a VERY good West Virginia team for the SEC/Big 12 showdown (which could end-up going decidedly in the favor of the Big 12.) I'm high on this Florida team, but if they take bad losses to WV and then against Lexington in Kentucky, things could get ugly for the Gators quickly. This would be a favorable scenario, of course, for an LSU squad that should (hopefully) be firing on all cylinders by the time they get their rematch at home at the end of February.

Vanderbilt: (Kenpom 28)

After a rough start in SEC play, Vandy has corrected course with big wins over Auburn and Alabama at home. They have shown flashes of high-production, but haven't been able to put together performances that match the expectations many had for them going into the season. Next they go to Tennessee and then Kentucky on what could be a make or break mini road-trip for the Commodores. While they still struggle to find a true identity, Damian Jones and Wade Baldwin IV keep doing just enough to put them over the top. They don't get LSU again, but they have two games against Kentucky, A&M, and Florida each, so it's going to be tough end of the season to say the least.

Kentucky: (KenPom 30)

Inconsistent play led to another bad loss for the Wildcats at Auburn, and they need to figure things out soon if they are going to max out the potential of the talent on that roster. Skal has been one of the biggest disappointments in all of college basketball (falling out of favor with Calipari), and now they're going to be force feeding him minutes to try and turn it out around (my take: he needs another year of college ball before he's ready for the league, due to playing so little at a high level before this year.) Next the Wildcats go to Arkansas, and then get Vanderbilt and Mizzou back to back before they head to Lawrence Field House for a blue-blood showdown with the Jayhawks. If Kentucky doesn't shape up before then, that could be a bad blowout on national TV for a Calipari squad in need of big wins in order to get manageable seed to make a run from.

South Carolina: (KenPom 41)

A whupping at the hands of Bama (in Tuscaloosa) could be a much needed shot in the arm for a Gamecock squad who had begun to get a little complacent and play to the level of their competition (a chronic illness plaguing much of the SEC.) They got things back on track against Mizzou, and get a string of mid-level opponents to close out the month, then they head to College Station to begin a tough ending stretch to conference play. Still a team to keep your eye on, but that February stretch is what really will make or break this season for Frank Martin's squad. Because of their defense and coaching, if these guys can get some signature wins and wrangle a high enough seed, they could be a factor come tournament time.

That's all for this week. If there are specific teams/players that people have particular interest in, feel free to comment below and I'll add them in the mix.