SEC Basketball: Power rankings heading into the SEC season

A power ranking across the Southeastern Conference heading into the SEC schedule

The SEC season gets underway in just a few days
The SEC season gets underway in just a few days / Marc Weiszer/Athens Banner-Herald / USA
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SEC Basketball Power Rankings:
No. 9 Florida Gators

The 10-3 Florida Gators have been a strange team so far in the 2023-2024 season. Despite being the third-best scoring team in the SEC and the league's most prolific rebounding squad, Florida has lost three times, including once to a not-so-great Wake Forest team in a game in which they were outscored (duh) and outrebounded.

Still, Florida has some impressive wins over Michigan and Pittsburgh. Their SEC schedule is difficult as they play both Kentucky and Alabama twice and have road contests against home-heavy teams like Tennessee, Texas A&M, South Carolina, and Ole Miss.

Todd Golden has hit the transfer portal hard, and Iona transfer Walter Clayton, Jr., former Seton Hall Pirate Tyrese Samuel, and UC-Riverside defection Zyon Pullin have rewarded him by all being in the top-20 in the conference in scoring. Samuel, freshman Alex Condon, and Marshall transfer Micah Handlogten are one of the best-rebounding frontcourts in the league, and Condon is already one of the best paint defenders in the country.

The overall team defense, especially on the perimeter, has been a major issue for Florida. The Gators are giving up the third-worst scoring numbers and third-worst 3-point shooting numbers in the SEC. They are among the league leaders in steals but are in the bottom half in turnovers forced, meaning they gamble a lot in passing lanes.

Along with a league-worst free throw efficiency, the other issue for UF is turnovers. They are one of just three SEC teams that have a negative turnover margin, and three Gators average at least two per game (Clayton, Jr. gives the ball away three times a night).

Florida's fate is murky, but Gator fans hope they can go dancing again after two seasons watching from home in March.