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3 Weeks to SEC Tournament: Who will be the #1-seed?


Believe it or not, three weeks from tonight, the SEC Tournament begins in Nashville, which means yours truly will be among the thousands — okay, probably hundreds — of fans in Bridgestone Arena to watch the four worst teams in the conference face off on opening night. While it’s almost certain that Missouri and LSU will be two of those teams, nothing else is really set in stone in the league right now, particularly at the top.

Here are the SEC standings with five-six games left (four teams play tonight):

#15 Florida 11-2 21-5
#13 Kentucky 11-2 21-5
#21 South Carolina 10-2 0.5 20-5
Arkansas 7-5 3.5 18-7
Alabama 7-5 3.5 14-10
Ole Miss 7-6 4 16-10
Georgia 6-7 5 15-11
Tennessee 6-7 5 14-12
Texas A&M 5-7 5.5 13-11
Vanderbilt 5-7 5.5 12-13
Auburn 5-8 6 16-10
Mississippi State 5-8 6 14-11
Missouri 2-10 8.5 7-17
LSU 1-12 10 9-16

And the bracket:

2017 SEC Basketball Tournament Bracket

Three teams are in contention for the #1 seed: Kentucky, Florida, and South Carolina. South Carolina plays Arkansas tonight, so they’re a half game back, but assuming they take care of the Razorbacks at home, they’ll be right in the thick of it with the Cats and the Gators. In fact, if South Carolina beats Arkansas tonight, the three-way tie for first can’t even be determined via the normal tiebreaker rules. Because each team currently has a 1-1 record vs. the others (Florida beat Kentucky, but lost to South Carolina, who lost to the Cats), SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey would literally have to draw one of their names out of a hat to determine who gets the 1-seed. Yes, in the end, that’s really what it comes down to.

Thankfully, the remaining schedule pretty much ensures that three-way tie won’t last long, with Florida and South Carolina facing off next Tuesday and the Gators coming to Rupp Arena the following Saturday. With all these moving parts in the air, let’s break down each team’s case for being the 1-seed, which would mean playing early Friday afternoon and partying on Broadway Friday night, the most ideal of scenarios.


calipari-yes KENTUCKY

Screen Shot 2017-02-15 at 9.42.08 AM

The Cats have arguably the easiest schedule left, the two most difficult games being at Georgia this weekend and vs. Florida next Saturday. According to KenPom’s Predictor, Kentucky should win out:

KenPom Predictor
at Georgia W 79-73
at Missouri W 84-67
vs. #15 Florida W 80-77
vs. Vanderbilt W 84-70
at Texas A&M W 78-70

That Florida game is still tricky, but I refuse to believe Kentucky’s as bad as they were when the Gators won by 22 in Gainesville. Plus, Florida just got news today that John Egbunu — who had 8 points and 7 rebounds vs. Kentucky — is out for the season with a torn ACL. Add in what will hopefully be a rowdy Rupp and the good ole fashioned revenge factor and Kentucky should be able to wrap up the #1-seed next Saturday.

Kentucky’s likelihood of getting the #1 seed: 60% 

Do yourself a favor and plan on arriving in Nashville Thursday night or early Friday morning for Friday’s noon central time tip.

417px-Florida_Gators_logo.svg FLORIDA

Screen Shot 2017-02-15 at 9.43.08 AM

As mentioned earlier, the Gators were dealt a huge loss last night when John Egbunu tore his ACL vs. Auburn. The redshirt junior center averaged 7.8 points and a team-best 6.6 rebounds for the Gators this season, and will be out 10-12 months to recover. One of his backups, freshman center Gorjaok Gak, is also out 10-14 days with a left foot sprain, making the Gators vulnerable on the inside. That’s not good when you look at the rest of their schedule, which includes three road trips, one to Rupp, and a date with #21 South Carolina next Tuesday. Florida’s been one of the hottest teams in country the past month, but given the injury news, I’d be surprised if they emerged from a tough three-week stretch unscathed.

KenPom Predictor
at Mississippi State W 79-68
vs. #21 South Carolina W 71-61
at #13 Kentucky L 80-77
vs. Arkansas W 84-69
at Vanderbilt W 74-67

Florida’s likelihood of getting the #1 seed: 30% 

Something tells me we’ll see them in the SEC Championship that Sunday.

martin SOUTH CAROLINA (1/2 game back)

Screen Shot 2017-02-15 at 9.45.01 AM

Even with the injury to Egbunu, I can’t see South Carolina knocking off Florida in Gainesville. Those trips to Vandy and Ole Miss are pretty tricky too. Frank Martin’s team has been impressive, but if they’re tied with Kentucky in the standings at the end of the regular season, Kentucky will have the tiebreaker thanks to last month’s win in Rupp.

KenPom Predictor
vs. Arkansas W 74-65
at Vanderbilt W 65-64
at #15 Florida L 71-61
vs. Tennessee W 70-63
vs. Mississippi State W 73-61
at Ole Miss W 70-67

South Carolina’s likelihood of getting the #1 seed: 10%

It’ll most likely be a late Thursday night start for Frank Martin’s squad, and a rematch with Florida in the semis.


It may not seem like it with the three-way tie at first, but with five games left, the 1-seed in the SEC Tournament really is Kentucky’s to lose. (Confidence level: Booking a free dinner reservation on Open Table for Friday night.)

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

12 Comments for 3 Weeks to SEC Tournament: Who will be the #1-seed?

  1. catsarerunnin
    7:35 pm February 15, 2017 Permalink

    Chances of me getting toasted at Honky Tonk Central:100%

  2. Yandros
    8:38 pm February 15, 2017 Permalink

    I thought surely after what happened last year that we would move the SEC Tourney back a day so the championship game was on Saturday.

    • drmac_15
      1:05 pm February 16, 2017 Permalink

      Agreed Yandros!!! We have been bitten a couple of times in the last few years by the seeding committee who have already done their work by the end of the day Saturday. Sunday has had no impact on us the last few years.

      Our yearly roll over puts us at a huge disadvantage as we tend to play better later in the season because there is so much adjustment for our young teams.

      SEC should recognize this with its Powerhouse Program and move it up a day and end it on Saturday.

      70% of the state take that week off as a vacation week anyway!!! Lol

  3. TorpedoVegas
    8:39 pm February 15, 2017 Permalink

    Down goes South Carolina. That didn’t take very long.

  4. Rixter
    8:59 pm February 15, 2017 Permalink

    Actually, in a 3 way tie for first where the 3 teams were all 1 – 1 against the others, they then move down to the tied team’s records against the 4th place team, then the 5th place team…. and so on.
    Only if they remain tied after going thru the last place team, would it come down to a commissioner’s draw

  5. jaws2
    11:00 pm February 15, 2017 Permalink

    Well, looks like we’ll be going to Nashville early Friday morning!

  6. BUCats
    11:18 pm February 15, 2017 Permalink

    Mrs TT – you should consider revising your percentages; they add up to 125%. Otherwise agree with you. UK just needs to win out and grab the number 1 seed, which I think they will do.

  7. UKFaninNY
    11:21 pm February 15, 2017 Permalink

    65 +40+20=


  8. BUCats
    11:25 pm February 15, 2017 Permalink

    KenPom says we have a 29.4% chance of winning out.

    To find the probability of two independent events that occur in sequence, find the probability of each event occurring separately, and then multiply the probabilities. This multiplication rule is defined symbolically below. Note that multiplication is represented by AND.

    I’m an analytics professional and these things bother me. Let me know when KSR needs a freelance analytics writer 🙂

  9. Collie
    1:09 am February 16, 2017 Permalink


  10. Biglaw Dawgin'
    11:20 am February 16, 2017 Permalink

    Since South Carolina lost to Arkansas last night, it really comes down to who wins the game between Florida and Kentucky.