COLUMBIA -- There is already a candidate for the league's best game of the year.
If you missed it, Florida and Georgia played an absolute thriller in Athens last week. The Gators somehow escaped Stegeman Coliseum with a 104-91 victory, despite trailing by three with 4 seconds left in overtime.
But Erving Walker hit a 30-foot 3-pointer and Florida rallied in the second overtime.
Georgia is in every one of its SEC games, but, at 3-4, it's not winning enough of them. It has been the victim of parity so far in this wacky conference season.
Florida, on the other hand, has managed to stay as steady as anyone. With experienced leadership in players such as Walker and Chandler Parsons, the Gators have something very few teams in the league do.
That said, Florida followed that thrilling Georgia win with a loss at Mississippi State.
Entering February, there's still no figuring anyone in the conference.
The Barbee shop
Auburn has virtually no major-conference talent -- and yet the Tigers did manage to get their first SEC win. On the road, no less. Coach Tony Barbee joked this week that he would never have been hired if he had known he would lose his top two players and top two recruits to injuries and academics. And yet the Tigers had just beaten the Gamecocks. Ouch.
Return of Rotnei
We noted the shooting slump of Arkansas guard Rotnei Clarke last week. The Michael Buble doppelganger responded. (We're taking credit.) He's the SEC player of the week this week after scoring 16 against Auburn and a season-high 36 in an upset at Vanderbilt. As we said, the Hogs ride Clarke's shot. They did last week.
That's two straight woeful showings for the Gamecocks. Looking flat against Kentucky in front of a full house made little sense. Being dominated at home by Auburn made even less. Such is a maddening young team. There is no excuse, though, for that level of inconsistency by so many. Surprisingly, Sam Muldrow continues to be the only steady player.
No one expected Ole Miss to do anything particularly special this season, but a 1-5 start in the league coming into Tuesday's game against Kentucky? Yuck. Point guard Chris Warren is a terrific player on a very average team.
By the numbers
3: Number of Kentucky players in the top seven in terms of the league's 3-point shooting percentage. Doron Lamb, Darius Miller and Brandon Knight have combined to hit 117 of Kentucky's 157 3-pointers.
--His numbers might be a little low for the honor (11 points and eight rebounds a game), but Muldrow deserves serious first-team All-SEC consideration. He's averaging nearly a double-double -- and 5.5 blocks -- a game in SEC play.
--Look out for Tennessee. As this space suggested, the Vols won both games last week (easily) and should beat Auburn and Alabama this week. That's presumably a cool four-game win streak headed into Rupp on Feb. 8 -- Bruce Pearl's first game back on the bench.
--Rip on the SEC all you want; Kentucky and Florida could easily wind up in the Final Four. Deep and versatile, they're built for March.