Once Kentucky lost to LSU last week, their path to the SEC regular season title really became far more difficult. Beating Tennessee certainly was a must but the schedule setup for LSU to have the easiest path to the title. With their loss to Florida on Wednesday suddenly things have really been thrown into chaos and Tennessee probably has the inside track, up 1 game on both LSU and Kentucky. Here are the current standings and remaining schedule:
Tennessee 12-1 (at LSU, at Ole Miss, Kentucky, Miss State, at Auburn)
LSU 11-2 (Tennessee, Texas A&M, at Alabama, at Florida, Vanderbilt)
Kentucky 11-2 (Auburn, Arkansas, at Tennessee, at Ole Miss, Florida)
Obviously the game in Baton Rouge on Saturday will be the first key domino. So let’s run through some scenarios based on that game:
IF TENNESSEE WINS AT LSU
Tennessee: Will be up 2 games on LSU and have the tiebreaker over the Tigers. If they beat UK in Knoxville, they would have to lose the other 3 games on their schedule to not be the #1 seed.
Kentucky: The Cats would have to win in Knoxville to even things up in the standings, plus they would own the tiebreaker over the Vols. It would then come down to the other 3/4 games on each team’s schedule.
LSU: Would need either 2 losses from Tennessee and 1 loss from Kentucky to have a chance. But it would benefit the Tigers if Kentucky LOST to Tennessee in Knoxville.
IF LSU WINS OVER TENNESSEE
Tennessee: Vols would need win over Kentucky and no other losses to have reasonable shot since LSU would hold tiebreaker. They would still need another LSU loss to get the #1 seed.
Kentucky: They would need win in Knoxville and additional LSU loss to win the title, assuming all other games are wins.
LSU: Would hold tiebreaker over both UT and UK and thus their destiny would be entirely in their hands.
If you are Kentucky, you would like LSU to win this weekend for 2 reasons. First, I think the Tigers are more likely to slip up in their other games than Tennessee. And secondly, it would put UK’s chances more firmly in their own hands, needing a win in Knoxville to feel good about things. If Tennessee wins, they are very likely to win the SEC, barring a UK win in Knoxville and no other losses.
Either way, it’s very exciting to see a 3-team race to the end of the SEC season. It hasn’t happened very often in the Calipari era and it feels good to play some games that really matter in this conference in March.