SEC men’s basketball update

Auburn guard K.T. Harrell, who sat out last season after transferring from Virginia, leads the SEC in scoring (19.4). (AP Photo/David Tulis)

Auburn guard K.T. Harrell, who sat out last season after transferring from Virginia, leads the SEC in scoring (19.4). (AP Photo/David Tulis)

ALABAMA

Record: 6-7

RealTimeRPI: 119

Best win: Texas Tech, 76-64

Worst loss: South Florida 66-64

Bottom line: It’s Anthony Grant’s fifth season with the Tide and they have one one quick NCAA tourney trip (2012) to show for it. He’s under contract there through 2019.

ARKANSAS

Record: 11-2

RealTimeRPI: 83

Best win: SMU, 89-78

Worst loss: None

Bottom line: High-scoring Razorbacks take a six-game winning streak into their opener at Texas A&M, but both losses came on neutral court and this will be first “true” road game.

AUBURN

Record: 8-3

RealTimeRPI: 161

Best win: Clemson, 68-64

Worst loss: Northwestern State, 111-92

Bottom line: K.T. Harrell (SEC-best 19.4) and Chris Denson (19.0) are strong 1-2 punch. Tigers get tough opening stretch – at Ole Miss, Missouri, at Tennessee, Florida.

FLORIDA

Record: 11-2

RealTimeRPI: 16

Best win: Kansas 67-61

Worst loss: None

Bottom line: Gators’ losses have been at Wisconsin (No. 1 RPI) by 6 and at UConn (41) by 1. Two of their final seven league games will be against Kentucky.

GEORGIA

Record: 6-6

RealTimeRPI: 257

Best win: None

Worst loss: Temple, 83-81

Bottom line: Bulldogs, who clearly seem to be the league’s worst team, do not have a victory against a team with a winning record.

KENTUCKY

Record: 10-3

RealTimeRPI: 19

Best win: Louisville 73-66

Worst loss: None

Bottom line: Young Wildcats are still finding themselves, but they hit the boards hard – 44.1 rebounds per game, ranking No. 7 nationally. Freshman Julius Randle (10.6) leads league.

LSU

Record: 9-3

RealTimeRPI: 53

Best win: Butler, 70-68

Worst loss: Rhode Island, 74-70

Bottom line: Only lost by 7 to Memphis on a neutral court. Works hard around the rim but needs to protect the ball better.

MISSISSIPPI STATE

Record: 10-3

RealTimeRPI: 183

Best win: South Florida, 71-66

Worst loss: TCU, 71-61

Bottom line: Bulldogs have match last year’s win total, but South Florida was only victory against a team above .500. Roster still thin.

MISSOURI

Record: 12-1

RealTimeRPI: 29

Best win: UCLA, 80-71

Worst loss: None

Bottom line: Only loss was by a point against Illinois on a neutral site. Six of first 10 SEC games will be on the road, including Florida and Ole Miss after Feb. 1 home date with Kentucky.

OLE MISS

Record: 9-4

RealTimeRPI: 79

Best win: Penn State, 79-76

Worst loss: Mercer, 79-76

Bottom line: Rebels are the only league team with a negative rebounding margin (minus-3.1), so they may live or die on their 3-point shooting (SEC-best 8.2 per game).

SOUTH CAROLINA

Record: 7-6

RealTimeRPI: 95

Best win: St. Mary’s 78-71

Worst Loss: S.C.-Upstate, 74-68

Bottom line: League’s worst-shooting team (43.4) might be better shooting all 3-pointers (36.5, No. 3 in league), Four of first six SEC games are on road.

TENNESSEE

Record: 9-4

RealTimeRPI: 54

Best win: Xavier, 64-49

Worst loss: UTEP, 78-70

Bottom line: Vols hit the boards hard (plus-8.5) and protect the ball well (plus-3.8 turnover margin). Penciled them in as an NCAA tourney team.

TEXAS A&M

Record: 9-4

RealTimeRPI: 177

Best win: Sam Houston 79-62

Worst loss: North Texas, 61-41

Bottom line: The Aggies prefer a slower pace – they’re second in the league in scoring defense (60.6) and last in scoring (69.6). Not a great-shooting team.

VANDERBILT

Record: 8-4

RealTimeRPI: 94

Best win: Georgia Tech, 76-63

Worst loss: Providence, 67-60

Bottom line: Commodores are last in the league in free throw shooting (63.0) and turnover margin (minus-3.1), which could prove costly in close games.

Compiled by John L. Pitts