COLUMBIA -- Based on the first weekend of Southeastern Conference play, are we in for one of those seasons?

Alabama crushes Mississippi State on the road, even if the Bulldogs are a dying breed.

South Carolina sinks Vanderbilt in overtime, despite losing to Furman in a non- conference game.

Georgia outplays Kentucky down the stretch in Athens, Ga., even though the Wildcats had been the league's most consistent team.

Tennessee falls to Arkansas, after looking strong against Memphis earlier in the week.

Both divisions, with the East obviously being the stronger of the two, are completely wide open. Part of that is, well, it's January. But there's a feeling it could be the same way in early March.

"I can't make a lot of sense of it right now," Vandy coach Kevin Stallings said Saturday after his team, thought of as one of the top teams in the division, lost to South Carolina, thought to be the worst.

If parity is in fact the season's theme, the real loser could be the league as a whole. With a relatively weak conference RPI, and a bunch of teams presumably hovering around .500 in league play, the SEC might not look too attractive to the selection committee in March. Especially given some teams' non-conference toe stumps.

Thumbs up

The wily Fox

It was a who-is-that hire at the time, but Mark Fox worked quickly to resurrect Georgia hoops. The Bulldogs, ranked this week in the AP poll (No. 24) for the first time since 2003, have won 10 consecutive games entering tonight's meeting with Vanderbilt.

Sam the Senior

A triple-double in the league is a rarity, and doing it with blocks is incredible. South Carolina's Sam Muldrow had 16 points, 14 rebounds and a school-record 10 blocks in the Gamecocks' upset of Vanderbilt in overtime. The team's only senior had four or five of his blocks after he picked up his fourth foul with five minutes to go in regulation.

Thumbs down

Rocky Top-pling

The Volunteers have to be the most inconsistent team in the country. It wasn't nearly the slide after the victory at Pitt, but how can you look that good against Memphis and then slip at Arkansas? Road vs. home? Maybe that's just the product of no Bruce Pearl on the sidelines?


Saying Tony Barbee has his work cut out for him is an incredible understatement. Auburn is essentially starting from scratch. The Tigers scored six points in the first half Saturday against LSU. They barely have enough bodies for a team. Going to be a long couple of months. At least there's a new arena? And a football title?

Stat of the week

6 points -- Bears mentioning again. Auburn scored six points in a half Saturday against LSU. Six. Incredible.

He said it

"It's as hard as you could possibly imagine." -- Tennessee's Bruce Pearl on watching, from afar, as the Vols lost by three at Arkansas. Pearl is serving an eight-game suspension, sent down by the SEC office.

Trav's take

-- Trying to figure out how Auburn beat Florida State in the non-conference season. And how Auburn's going to win a conference game.

-- Tennessee's inconsistency begins and ends with Scotty Hopson. When the kid's on, it wins. When he's not, it doesn't.

-- A.J. Ogilvy was addition by subtraction for Vanderbilt. So much more physical without him taking up space, playing soft inside. John Jenkins has developed into more than a shooter.

-- Liked Georgia before the season. Picked the Bulldogs second in the East. Not regretting it.