If the SEC Tournament started right now, we’d be watching Kentucky play its first game. Based on the standings as of this very moment, the Cats would be the No. 8 seed, playing No. 9 Mississippi State for the chance to face No. 1 seed Alabama in the quarterfinals.
Of course, the SEC has yet to announce anything about how it will schedule make-up games, so this will almost certainly change. Texas A&M continues to deal with COVID-19 issues, so the odds the Aggies will be able to make up any of their nine postponed games next week seems slim. There are only so many times I can refresh my email, so let’s look at the current standings and seedings heading into the weekend.
This week, LSU lost to Georgia and Arkansas beat Alabama, so the Razorbacks are now in second place, the Tigers third. Florida remains in fourth, followed by Tennessee in fifth. From there, it’s a logjam.
1. Alabama (13-2, .867)
2. Arkansas (10-4, .714)
3. LSU (9-5, .643)
4. Florida (8-5, .615)
5. Tennessee (9-6, .600)
6. Ole Miss (8-7, .533)
7. Missouri (7-7, .500)
8. Kentucky (7-7, .500)
9. Mississippi State (7-8, .467)
10. Georgia (7-9, .438)
11. Texas A&M (2-6, .250)
12. South Carolina (3-10, 231)
13. Vanderbilt (2-11, .154)
Here’s the bracket as of today, Feb. 25:
Let’s dig into the scenarios, which will inevitably change if the league adds make-up games. (Shoutout to MRed’s SEC MBB Tournament Tiebreaker tool for helping decipher this mess.)
For Kentucky to get a double-bye, these things need to happen:
- The Cats need to beat Florida and Ole Miss, finishing with a 9-7 conference record
- Florida needs to lose to Kentucky and Missouri, finishing with an 8-7 conference record
- Tennessee needs to lose to Auburn, finishing with a 9-7 conference record
- LSU needs to beat Arkansas and Vanderbilt, taking the No. 2 seed, giving Kentucky the tiebreaker over Tennessee
Okay, so that’s a lot. Even if all of that doesn’t happen, by my scribbling, it appears Kentucky will most likely avoid the top half of the bracket, and, therefore, Alabama.
Win out, likely the No. 6 seed
If Kentucky takes care of business and beats Florida and Ole Miss, it has a good shot at getting the No. 6 seed, which would put them in the bottom of the bracket, facing the No. 11 seed late Thursday night with the chance to face the No. 4 seed Friday night. That could mean avoiding red-hot Arkansas, the current No. 3 seed, to play LSU, who the Cats have already beaten once this season.
If Kentucky wins out, LSU wins out, Missouri beats Florida next week, and there are no other upsets, Kentucky could be the No. 5 seed playing the winner of South Carolina and Vandy in the second game on Tuesday with the chance to play Tennessee in the quarterfinals.
Lose one, likely the No. 7 seed
If Kentucky loses one of the two scheduled games left, they’ll likely end up with the No. 7 seed, which would keep them in the bottom half of the bracket playing the No. 10 seed in the first game Thursday evening with the chance to face the No. 2 seed in the quarterfinals.
Lose two, likely the No. 10 seed
If Kentucky loses to both Florida and Ole Miss, they could still be in the early game Thursday night at the No. 10 seed, likely facing No. 7 seed Missouri.
Now, SEC, feel free to announce something and make all of this irrelevant.