Last night's basketball results have set up what will be a remarkable weekend of basketball. Alabama handled Auburn 55-49 in Tuscaloosa, Tennessee took out LSU 74-69 in overtime, and Mississippi State edged by South Carolina 69-67 in overtime. Let's handle that last one first.
MSU finally ended its five-game losing streak, but doing so by a buzzer-beating bucket in overtime against the conference's worst team is the least convincing way I can think of to do so. It stopped the bleeding for now, and the team's final game is back at home against sliding Arkansas. The Hogs themselves have lost four-of-five after falling to Ole Miss on Tuesday. State really should pick up that win on Saturday to make sure it stays on the right side of the NCAA bubble.
Alabama's win really is more notable for it not being a loss than anything. Losing to AU would have killed some of the momentum the team has been building and taken it out of contention for a first-round bye. Speaking of, Tennessee's win kept it in the mix for being as high as the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament. Yes, that Tennessee, the one that isn't even in the NCAA tournament bubble discussion.
We can end up with a four-way tiebreaker for second place if Alabama beats Ole Miss, Florida loses to Kentucky, and Tennessee beats Vanderbilt. The first two are more likely than the last, but UT has won seven-of-eight including a win over Florida and the game is in Knoxville.
The SEC's basketball tiebreaker for three or more teams has this as the first step:
A. Best winning percentage of games played among the tied teams (Example: Team A is 3‐1, Team B is 2‐2 and Team C is 1‐3 ‐ ‐ Team A would be seeded highest, Team B second‐highest and Team C lowest of the three).
In the case of that four-way tie, the records against the others would end up as follows: Tennessee 4-1 (.800), Vanderbilt 3-2 (.600), Florida 2-3 (.400), and Alabama 1-2 (.333). That means the Volunteers would get the second seed, Vandy the third, Florida the fourth, and Bama the one without a bye in fifth.
If we get the most likely scenario of Bama, Kentucky, and Vandy winning, then everything makes more sense. VU gets the second seed as the only 11-5 team, UF gets the third via a tiebreaker over fellow 10-6 team Alabama, and Tennessee misses getting a bye in fifth. It would certainly allow the conference to avoid jokes about Tennessee being the two-seed, but March is a time for madness anyway.
Every game this weekend, even LSU-Auburn, has big implications for SEC Tournament seeding. Bring it on.