What's wrong with keeping the divisions in the SEC??? a 4-way tie for 4th????? Why continue with the divisional schedule, when there are no divisions????
For nearly two decades, the SEC Tournament featured a divisional set-up. Next year, the league will expand by two teams. That leaves this year as the lone 12-team, non-divisional tourney set-up in SEC men’s basketball history. We say men’s basketball history, because the women have been using a 12-team, non-divisional format for a while. And if you’re wondering how the tourney bracket will work on the men’s side this March, it’ll line up just like the ladies’ bracket:
Teams 1, 2, 3, and 4 in the standings will get byes. The remaining teams will face either other in first round matchups as follows: 5 vs 12, 6 vs 11, 7 vs 10, and 8 vs 9.
Quickly, here are the current SEC standings with two weeks and four games to go:
1. Kentucky 12-0
2. Florida 9-3
3. Vanderbilt 8-4
4. Alabama 6-6
4. LSU 6-6
4. Miss. State 6-6
4. Tennessee 6-6
8. Arkansas 5-7
8. Ole Miss 5-7
10. Auburn 4-8
11. Georgia 3-9
12. S. Carolina 2-10
Below are the dates, times and matchups for the tourney if it began today. We’ll explain the tie-breaker procedures as we go:
FIRST ROUND – THURSDAY, MARCH 8TH
Game One: #8 Ole Miss vs #9 Arkansas at 1:00pm ET
Tie-breaker scenario: A two-team tie — UM and UA are both 5-7 in the SEC right now — is decided first by head-to-head results. Ole Miss defeated Arkansas earlier in their first matchup this year. So UM gets the #8 seed as of now. But if Arkansas wins the second meeting, then the two schools records will be compared against the league’s #1 seed, #2 seed, #3 seed, etc, until one team gains an advantage… and the higher seed.
Game Two: #5 LSU vs #12 South Carolina at 3:30pm ET
Tie-breaker scenario: In the case of a multi-team tie — like Alabama, LSU, Mississippi State and Tennessee currently — the teams will be seeded according to their overall winning percentage versus the other teams in the tie. Alabama is now 2-2 with MSU left to play. MSU is 3-1 with Alabama left to play. LSU is 2-2 with Tennessee remaining. Tennessee is 0-2 with LSU remaining. By virtue of overall winning percentage inside the group, MSU gets the #4 seed and Tennessee gets the #7 seed. Alabama and LSU would be decided by comparing their records against #1 Kentucky (both 0-1), then #2 Florida (both 0-1), then #3 Vanderbilt (both 0-1) and then #4 MSU (LSU is 1-1, Alabama is 0-1). So LSU would get the #5 seed and Alabama would grab the #6 slot.
Game Three: #7 Tennessee vs #10 Auburn at 7:30pm ET
Game Four: #6 Alabama vs #11 Georgia at 10:00pm ET
SECOND ROUND – FRIDAY, MARCH 9TH
Game Five: #8 Ole Miss vs #9 Arkansas winner vs #1 Kentucky at 1:00pm ET
Game Six: #5 LSU vs #12 South Carolina winner vs #4 Miss. State at 3:30pm ET
Game Seven: #7 Tennessee vs #10 Auburn winner vs #2 Florida at 7:30pm ET
Game Eight: #6 Alabama vs #11 Georgia winner vs #3 Vanderbilt at 10:00pm ET
From there the usual bracketology applies: #1 vs #4 and #2 vs #3 and so on.
If the season ended today, the most fortunate teams would be Florida, Tennessee and Auburn. Not only are they on the other side of the bracket from Kentucky, but they also avoid the late game. The winner of the Vanderbilt, Alabama, Georgia grouping will tip-off Friday night at 10:00pm ET (and that’s usually more like 10:30pm) and then have to turn around and play again the following day at 3:30pm ET.
As for the teams on UK’s side of the field, good luck.
Plenty can change in two weeks, but now you know where your favorite team stands heading into the stretch run.