The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Men’s Basketball SEC Power Rankings: ‘Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives’

Vanderbilt sits put at 14th place, while Tennessee jumps two spots to No. 1 in The Hustler’s SEC Power Rankings.
Vince Lin
JaQualon Roberts dunks it, as photographed on Dec. 2, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Vince Lin)

With being only a few weeks into this spring semester, many things have been out of the ordinary: Vanderbilt’s official Instagram is posting AI squirrels, Nashville is getting inches of snow and more. However, something that has remained consistent is the desire to start each day with the breakfast food of your choosing. Whether you enjoy sweet or savory, we have curated a list of breakfast recommendations that remind us of each SEC men’s basketball team and how they have performed these past few weeks.

1. Tennessee 14-4 (4-1)

Breakfast food Comparison: Omelet

Whether you like them plain or crumbling due to too many add-ins, omelets have been a staple breakfast food in the US for decades. Full of protein and sometimes vegetables, omelets rarely disappoint. Each bite has the potential for a surprising array of ingredients, whether it is cheese, broccoli, mushrooms or your preferred vegetables. Much like omelets, Tennessee rarely disappoints and surprises fans with different offensive plays and an array of ball-handling skills that leave the team’s opponents chasing after them each game. Despite a narrow loss to Mississippi State early in conference play, coach Rick Barnes’s squad has found its rhythm in the SEC. Tennessee had two double-digit wins last week, defeating Florida with an impressive 39 points from Dalton Knecht, who also contributed 25 in a win against a tough Alabama Crimson Tide team.

2. Auburn: 16-2 (5-0)

Breakfast food Comparison: French Toast

Something sweet is always a great way to start your morning, and French toast never disappoints. Like this season, Auburn has yet to let its fans down. Bruce Pearl’s Auburn Tigers have been dominant in SEC play, going 5-0 to begin the season, and will most likely continue going strong for the foreseeable future. They most recently defeated a very prominent Ole Miss squad by 23 points, and the Tigers don’t look like they’re slowing down anytime soon. Just like french toast can have add-ons such as syrup or strawberries to make it irresistible, Jaylin Williams and Johni Broome add something special to the team that makes it impossible to stop watching. Expecting to see huge things from Auburn’s bigs, as they have been significant contributors on both sides of the ball, helping Auburn push for an SEC title.

3. Kentucky 14-4 (4-2)

Breakfast food Comparison: Waffles

Waffles are always a top choice when considering what to get for breakfast, but what makes them unique and not boring is what toppings you decide to put on them. Despite a shocking loss to South Carolina, John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats are once again a powerhouse in the SEC; however, much like waffles, they owe their popularity and success to Robert Dillingham meeting his pre-season expectations and Antonio Reeves averaging almost 20 points per contest. Without those two, the team would be rather plain. The Wildcats sit at 4-2 in the conference behind consistent contributions from their guards. Look for Kentucky to get hot in the SEC.

4. Alabama 12-6 (4-1)

Breakfast food Comparison: Grapes

Grapes are always a quick and easy choice when you’re a part of the morning rush. Usually, grapes are often a top choice when it comes to grabbing something on the go; however, there is always the chance you end up with a few mushy, gross and disappointing grapes. Similar to the dissatisfaction people are left with when they choose the wrong cluster, Alabama fans felt the same disappointment when they started the season strong but had a shockingly bad loss on Saturday to Tennessee. The Crimson Tide is fourth in our rankings and fourth in the SEC. Veteran guard Mark Sears has been the driving force for Nate Oats’s fast-paced, athletic offense. However, the many gaps on the defensive end may lead to more losses like the one against Tennessee.

5. Mississippi State 13-5 (2-3)

Breakfast food Comparison: Acai Bowls

Açaí bowls are healthy, tasty and sometimes look too good to eat. Yet sometimes it takes some moving around the fruit on top, and a few bites before you can get a good combination of all the ingredients; the Bulldogs’ performance thus far resembles that aspect of an açaí bowl. The Bulldogs have not had a great start to their season with a 2-3 record, but they are starting to get in a groove. Just like when eating an acai bowl when you must overlook the first few unsatisfying bites to see the bowl’s full potential, fans must disregard the first few losses the Bulldogs endured and realize their incredible potential based on games such as Tennesse — an upset no one saw coming. Forward Tolu Smith is once again the driving force of Chris Jans’s squad; he dropped 25 points and 11 rebounds in Saturday’s win over the Vanderbilt Commodores. The Bulldogs are averaging 75 points per game but shooting just over 30% from three, a mark they will need to improve upon as the season progresses.

6. Ole Miss 15-3 (2-3)

Breakfast food Comparison: Yogurt

Like yogurt, one has to see the potential for Ole Miss and take note of its revamped roster to appreciate the team and see its turnaround from last year. They have been one of the more notable stories from the SEC thus far, and they hope to continue that narrative. Behind Chris Beard and his revamped roster, the Rebels are 15-3 overall and 2-3 to open SEC competition.

7. UGA 13-5 (3-2)

Breakfast food Comparison: Bagels

Opinions on this breakfast food vary from state to state, just like our opinion on Georgia, which varies from game to game. In states like New York or New Jersey, the fresh salt water and meticulous dough kneading create a great bagel, just like Georgia’s great wins against Arkansas, Missouri and South Carolina. However, bagels are a risk in a landlocked state such as Tennessee. They can often leave people unsatisfied, just like how Georgia left fans unsatisfied with their close losses against Tennessee and Kentucky. Mike White’s Bulldogs are building upon their successes from last year as they continue to push to try and become a powerhouse in the conference. However, with only two players averaging double figures in points, it remains to be seen if the Bulldogs can overcome the bluebloods in the conference and take that next step.

8. South Carolina 16-3 (4-2)

Breakfast food Comparison: Pancakes

Pancakes are always a good breakfast choice, yet sometimes they just don’t curb that sweet craving people have in the morning. Whether it be because they are too soft or too burnt, pancakes are not the most reliable item. The Gamecocks have also held this same sort of unreliability. So far, they’ve had an up-and-down year, most recently with an impressive home win over Kentucky, and find themselves sitting with a record of 4-2. Pancakes have the potential to have a few great ones in the batch and a few not-so-great ones. The Gamecocks suffered a tough defeat at home to Georgia, but bounced back on the road in Fayetteville in a game in which they shot 50% from beyond the arc. They followed that performance with a blowout win over Kentucky. The Gamecocks have depth, with ten players seeing more than 10 minutes of action per game, which will only benefit them as the season progresses. Lamont Paris’ squad will look to build momentum in the SEC and push to stay in the postseason picture when spring comes around.

9. Texas A&M 12-7 (3-3)

Breakfast food Comparison: Lucky Charms

Lucky Charms cereal is a simple classic that was beloved by many growing up, but if we’re being honest, all kids simply look for the marshmallow charms in their bowl rather than the actual bland cereal. Wade Taylor IV is the marshmallow to A&M’s bland and, for the most part, nothing-special team. Taylor is the spark plug for this squad, averaging almost 20 points per game and leading in points, assists and steals. After a few consistent years of being competitive and following a trip to the NCAA tournament, Buzz Williams’s Aggies team has struggled out of the gate. They are 3-3 to open conference play after suffering defeats to Arkansas, Auburn and LSU. The team has a lot of work to do, especially from the three-point line, if they wish to return to the big dance.

10. Florida 12-6 (2-3)

Breakfast food Comparison: Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a simple staple breakfast food that doesn’t have anything going on for it. Sure, it tastes fine, just fine, not good, but when you’re eating it, you can’t help but look down and lose your appetite. When watching the Gators on offense, they look fine; they have good ball-handling skills and shooting percentages, but that’s about it; nothing stands out as great or horrible. However, when the Gators are on defense, fans can’t help but look down onto the court, lose interest and question how many mistakes on defense a team can make before Golden realizes something needs to change. Florida is 2-3 in SEC play and suffered blowout losses to Ole Miss and Tennessee.

11. LSU 11-7 (3-2)

Breakfast food Comparison: Toast

Toast is always an option when there is nothing in your kitchen for breakfast, and for the time being, it tastes good. But, if you get a look at some of the other items your friends are eating, you often realize that toast is only good when it is compared to nothing special. LSU has opened the season 3-2 in the SEC, but they have yet to play any great team, such as Kentucky, Alabama or Tennessee. So, while the Tigers may look good for now, they will look lackluster once they are put up against these dominating teams. Former Vanderbilt Commodore Jordan Wright leads the Tigers in nearly every significant statistic, but the Tigers do not have enough depth to overcome many of the SEC powerhouses.

12. Arkansas 10-8 (1-4)

Breakfast food Comparison: Scrambled eggs

Scrambled eggs are usually a consistent breakfast food they cannot be overeaten Like scrambled eggs, Arkansas has had downfalls after cementing itself as a yearly SEC contender. Eric Musselman’s Razorbacks have had a more than disappointing season thus far. A team that had such high expectations heading into the year finds themselves sitting at just 1-4 to start conference play. Although given ample opportunity, this team cannot seem to get out of their rut.

13. Missouri 8-11 (0-6)

Breakfast food Comparison: Scones

Whenever I get a good look at a scone, I think it looks great — I grab it, take a bite and realize it’s missing everything it would need to be good. There’s no flavor or texture; there are no good attributes to this breakfast food. Yet, every time I see it, I want to be able to like it. Similarly, every time I see Mizzou play, I want them so badly to make a triumphant return and play like they did last year, yet every game I watch, I am severely disappointed. After an exciting season and a run to the NCAA tournament last year, Missouri’s struggles have been a disappointment and a bit of a surprise to many SEC fans. The Tigers sit at 0-6 in conference play. They will look to get their first SEC win next week with games against A&M, South Carolina and Arkansas, and they will hopefully surprise us all and return with the same energy they had last year.

14. Vanderbilt 5-13 (0-5)

Breakfast food Comparison: Tuna salad

Tuna salad not only looks bad but tastes bad as well. Some exceptions exist such as when tuna salad is on a bagel or a piece of toast. Nevertheless, tuna salad is consistently disappointing just like the Vanderbilt Commodores. With expectations skyrocketing after last season’s late surge, Jerry Stackhouse’s Vanderbilt team has been putrid this year. There have been some exceptions, like the excellent play from freshman Jason Rivera-Torres. Generally though, the games lack much excitement and skill.

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About the Contributors
Jillian Oresky
Jillian Oresky, Staff Writer
Jillian Oresky (‘27) is from Long Island, New York, and studies cognitive studies in Peabody college. When not writing for the Hustler, you can find her going on runs in Centennial Park. You can reach her at [email protected].
Ari Shamberg
Ari Shamberg, Staff Writer
Ari Shamberg (‘27) is from Deerfield, Ill., and studies human and organizational development with a minor in Spanish. When not writing for The Hustler, he loves watching Chicago sports (Go White Sox!) and trying out new restaurants. He can be reached at [email protected].
Vince Lin
Vince Lin, Deputy Videography Editor
Vince Lin (‘27) is from Zanesville, Ohio, and is majoring in computer science. Vince also serves as a graphics and photography staffer. Outside of school, you can find him at the gym, rowing, lifting weights, playing games with friends or sleeping. You can reach him at [email protected].
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Randy Dandy
6 months ago

Such a nice article just to be tuna salad