The SEC season begins Sunday for 12 teams, with the remaining two playing Monday. The 16-game slate will determine if and how many teams advance to the NCAA tournament.
Checking in as the non-conference season concludes (RPI from the NCAA):
Notable win: Georgia Tech
Notable loss: Georgetown
The skinny: As usual, the Crimson Tide loaded up on soft opponents to get some wins before the meat of the schedule. It’s a better team than last year’s, but not challenging it early may come back to haunt.
Notable win: Texas Tech
Notable loss: Missouri State
The skinny: Razorbacks took it much easier this year and have the wins to boost them into the SEC. We’ll see if it pays off.
Notable win: Indiana
Notable loss: Tulane
The skinny: Coach Flo’s bunch continues to impress, its pressure defense giving teams fits. The Tigers are never going to be an easy out.
Notable win: Chattanooga
Notable loss: Northwestern
The skinny: Eleanna Christinaki quit rather than serve a one-half suspension. Without her, Florida went from sleeper to ordinary.
Notable win: Cincinnati
Notable loss: Samford
The skinny: It was expected, after losing the inherited players. The Bulldogs have some talent with more on the way but this year they’re going to struggle.
NO. 17 KENTUCKY (9-4)
Notable win: Miami
Notable loss: Colorado
The skinny: The mass defection hasn’t hurt because the Wildcats still have Makayla Epps. They haven’t lost to anybody who isn’t somebody.
Notable win: NC State
Notable loss: Kansas State
The skinny: The Tigers aren’t afraid to play anybody. As long as they can go close to .500 in the league, they’ll be dancing in March.
NO. 5 MISSISSIPPI STATE (14-0)
Notable win: Texas
Notable loss: --
The skinny: Who else is keeping an eye on Jan. 23, when the Bulldogs come to South Carolina?
Notable win: Creighton
Notable loss: IUPUI
The skinny: That was a head-scratching loss, but Mizzou will win a few this year. They’re playing with limited numbers, though.
OLE MISS (11-2)
Notable win: Oregon
Notable loss: UNLV
The skinny: Big-time win over the Ducks but the Rebels need to do a lot more work to get onto the bubble. Former Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Chrishae Rowe is finally eligible.
NO. 6 SOUTH CAROLINA (10-1)
Notable win: Louisville
Notable loss: Duke
The skinny: Gamecocks are talented as ever and have the best frontcourt in the country. But will their SEC streak end due to defense?
Notable win: Stanford
Notable loss: Penn State
The skinny: The struggles of last year have carried over, but a win over Stanford helped ease the stench of the worst home loss in school history (Baylor). Never count the Lady Vols out, although they’re frightfully thin.
TEXAS A&M (10-3)
Notable win: Syracuse
Notable loss: SMU
The skinny: They’re learning as they go but hammering last year’s national runner-up proved Gary Blair’s women aren’t close to abdicating their position atop the standings.
Notable win: Duke
Notable loss: Indiana
The skinny: Strong first impression for Stephanie White and the top recruits Melanie Balcomb signed. The Commodores beat Duke, who beat South Carolina and Kentucky.
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