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SECT Seeding Update

Where we notice that a disproportionate number of tiebreakers in the bottom half of the SEC standings are broken by which of these teams beat LSU. Unless all of them beat LSU.

Here, if your brain starts to hurt, scroll back up to this.
Here, if your brain starts to hurt, scroll back up to this.
Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

The SEC Tournament is next week, and with a game left (or two, if you're Arkansas or South Carolina) what do things look like now?  (Current through Wednesday's games.)

The Easy Part

Kentucky is the #1 seed (didn't see that one coming, did you?) and Arkansas is the #2 seed.  The Razorbacks can still finish tied for second, but win all tiebreakers thanks to their head-to-head win over Texas A&M and Ole Miss vomiting on themselves in four games against Georgia and LSU.

The Wednesday Players

Three teams are locked into one of the bottom four seeds: Mississippi State, Missouri, and Auburn, and South Carolina will join them if they lose either of their last two games (but if they win their last two, they could play their way out of it -- more on that possibility later.)

Either Missouri or Auburn will be the #14 seed, and it's Missouri if they lose on Saturday or Auburn wins.  A Missouri win and an Auburn loss opens the possibility of Missouri getting the #13 seed -- the two sets of Tigers split with one another, so the tiebreaker would proceed to record against the #1 seed (neither of them beat Kentucky, duh) and proceeding down the list.  Mizzou's best conference win came against LSU, Auburn's came against Georgia, so the tiebreaker would come down to which of Georgia and LSU finishes higher in the standings.  And since Auburn plays Georgia on Saturday, an Auburn loss would make it, uh, harder for LSU to finish ahead of Georgia.  Basically, Mizzou's probably going to be the #14 seed.  Auburn is the #13 seed if they lose unless LSU finishes ahead of Georgia.  We'll get to how LSU could finish ahead of Georgia even with a Georgia win later, I promise.

An Auburn loss would virtually lock in Mississippi State as the #12 seed as well, unless the Bulldogs can win on Saturday (this is actually fairly likely; they play Mizzou at home) and South Carolina loses both of their last two.  South Carolina holds a tiebreaker win over Mississippi State and can do no worse than the #11 seed if they win either of their last two games; a single South Carolina win locks Mississippi State in as the #12 seed unless Auburn wins and Mississippi State loses, in which case State is the #13 seed and Auburn the #12 seed.

And if State, Auburn, and Carolina finish in a three-way tie?  Fuck you, I knew you would ask that.  They all went 1-1 against the other two, so this one's pretty convoluted.  This tie necessarily involves Auburn beating Georgia on Saturday, and if Georgia loses to Auburn again, they're going to finish behind LSU in the conference standings.  This means that the tiebreaker comes down to the three teams' head-to-head records against LSU, because fucking of course LSU lost to two of these teams.  Mississippi State won their only meeting with LSU, Auburn split with LSU, and South Carolina somehow did not beat LSU, so it goes Mississippi State #11, Auburn #12, South Carolina #13.

The "Who Wants To Play Kentucky On Friday" Division

But to tie up one final loose end from the first part, if South Carolina wins their last two, they may avoid Wednesday altogether.

Tennessee would be one of South Carolina's victims and would thus finish 7-11, and in a tie with the Gamecocks.  If Alabama loses on Saturday as well, Tennessee would be the #11 seed, South Carolina would be the #10 seed, and Alabama the #9 seed.  And if Alabama wins -- the tiebreaker between the Vols and Gamecocks would come down to who finishes higher, Georgia or LSU (those two again!)  South Carolina swept Georgia, while Tennessee lost their only meeting with the Dogs; Tennessee split with LSU and South Carolina lost their only meeting with the Bayou Bengals, proving that there was at least one bad SEC team LSU did not lose to.

Now, in the non-insane division, a single South Carolina loss locks Vanderbilt, Florida, Alabama, and Tennessee in as the 7-10 seeds.  Christian broke this down on Monday, but things have changed since then.  Games were played.  Since the 8/9 game means you get to play Kentucky on Friday if you win, you really want the 7-seed.  (Or the 10-seed, if you're Anthony Grant or Donnie Tyndall.  Their teams cannot get the #7 seed.  Let the tanking begin!)

Florida and Vanderbilt will be the 7 and 8 seeds, though not necessarily in that order.  Florida will be the #7 seed if they beat 30-0, #1-ranked Kentucky in Rupp Arena on Senior Day.  (Good luck with that.)  Vanderbilt will be the #7 seed if they beat Ole Miss and Karl-Anthony Towns does not O.D. between now and Saturday.  If either Florida or Vandy wins on Saturday, Alabama is the #9 seed unless Tennessee wins and Alabama loses (making Alabama the #10 seed.)

If both lose on Saturday (likely), a Tennessee win would make Florida the #7 seed and Vanderbilt the #8 seed.  Tennessee would then be the #9 seed, unless Alabama also wins on Saturday, which would make the Tide the #9 seed and the Vols the #10 seed.  A Tennessee loss and an Alabama win would make Vanderbilt the #7 seed, Florida the #8 seed, and Alabama the #9 seed, with the Vols no better than the #10 seed (refer back to previous South Carolina winning out scenario.)

And if all four lose -- Florida is the #7 seed, Vanderbilt the #8 seed, Alabama the #9 seed, and Tennessee the 10 or 11 seed (again, refer back to earlier for how they can be the 11 seed.)

The Last Two Double Byes Division

Or, if you're LSU or Georgia, the opportunity to crap all over your NCAA Tournament resume by losing to the likes of Mississippi State/Mizzou/Auburn/South Carolina again.  That can happen if you wind up with the #5 seed or the #6 seed.  Ole Miss and Texas A&M have the inside track for the last two double byes, in large part because they've wisely avoided losing to the bottom of the conference.

Ole Miss can get the #3 seed simply by winning.  Texas A&M can do no worse than the #4 seed by winning, and would be the #3 seed with a win and an Ole Miss loss.

Georgia and LSU can still get a double bye, but either would need one of the two teams above them to lose -- and, obviously, to win themselves.  Georgia is the #6 seed if they lose; with a loss, LSU is the #5 seed (if Georgia also loses) or the #6 seed (if Georgia wins.)  And if both Ole Miss and Texas A&M win, Georgia and LSU will be the 5 and 6 seeds regardless, with LSU owning the tiebreaker win if they both win or both lose.

Now, LSU absolutely needs Ole Miss to lose to keep the possibility of a double bye open -- and it would really help them if A&M won as well.  An LSU win, combined with an Ole Miss loss and an A&M win, gets LSU the #4 seed -- regardless of what Georgia does (Georgia would be the #5 seed with a win in that scenario, pushing Ole Miss down to the #6 seed.)  LSU winning with an A&M loss and an Ole Miss win... well, that just gives A&M the #4 seed.  LSU would be the #5 seed... or the #6 seed if Georgia also wins.  If LSU wins and the other three lose, it goes Texas A&M #3, LSU #4, Ole Miss #5, Georgia #6.

Georgia's potential scenarios are fairly convoluted.  It works to their advantage that they went 2-0 against Ole Miss and 1-0 against A&M; but working against them are that LSU beat them while also going 2-0 against Ole Miss and 0-2 against A&M.  (I just don't get LSU.  By the way, beating Arkansas in Fayetteville three days after losing to Tennessee by 15 at home sounds like such an LSU thing to do.  And how did we not beat them, too?)  Just know that Georgia gets the #3 seed if they win and both Ole Miss and A&M lose, and the #4 seed if they win, one of those two loses (said loser is the #5 seed), and LSU does not win (#6 seed.)  If LSU does win, and it's Ole Miss that has lost, LSU gets the #4 seed (Georgia #5, Ole Miss #6); while if LSU wins and it's Texas A&M that loses, the Aggies are gifted the #4 seed (Georgia #5, LSU #6.)

Last but not least -- a four-way tie at 11-7 means Georgia is the #3 seed, LSU is the #4 seed, Texas A&M is the #5 seed, and Ole Miss is the #6 seed.

And now, if there is a possible scenario that I have somehow not covered, mention it in the comments.  Unless your scenario is "LOL what happens if the NCAA discovers on Friday that Kentucky is paying its players and is therefore now 0-17 in SEC play and ineligible for the SEC Tournament," in which case I will lock you in a room with Frank Martin for 48 hours and you will sit together and watch an endless loop of South Carolina players forgetting their defensive assignments.