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. 8 South Carolina Gamecocks

What is there to say about the Gamecocks? At 12-1, South Carolina basketball has already surpassed their win total from last season as Lamont Paris is starting five transfer portal players (four who came to the program this offseason).

The Gamecocks play good team defense and shoot the 3-ball well. That combination has helped them to impressive wins away from home against Virginia Tech and Grand Canyon. However, they struggle to score when their perimeter shots aren't falling as only guard Meechie Johnson and forward BJ Mack have scored at least ten points from non-outside shots in a single game.

The Gamecocks have played well, but in order to continue having success as SEC play begins, their true bigs must play more (and better). Though BJ Mack is the heaviest player on the roster, he is not a viable post defender in most matchups. The four players who can guard down low (Stephen Clark, Josh Gray, Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk, and Collin Murray-Boyles) combine to play less than 50 minutes of the 200 minutes (5 players x 40 minutes) each game.

Point guard Ta'Lon Cooper is near the top of the conference leaderboards is assists and assist-turnover ratio, and he is one of three high-volume Gamecocks (along with Meechie Johnson and Myles Stute) to shoot over 35% from deep this season.

USC has not made the NCAA Tournament since the Final Four run after the 2016-2017 season, but they have put themselves in the conversation this season.