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SEC Baseball Friday: Florida Wins It All; Ole Miss Clinches No. 2 Seed; Fascinating Battles Remain

There are still some seedings to be decided -- including which teams will get the remaining two first-round byes -- but the battle for the Top 2 spots in the SEC tournament is over

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

As we head into the last day of regular-season SEC baseball (sniff), there are still plenty of things up in the air. But the top two seeds and all but one of the tournament teams are already known.

z-Florida Gators 21-8 37-18 -- w-Ole Miss Rebels 19-10 40-15 --
y-South Carolina Gamecocks 17-12 41-14 4.0 y-Mississippi St. Bulldogs 18-11 35-19 1.0
y-Vanderbilt Commodores 17-12 40-15 4.0 y-LSU Tigers 16-11-1 39-14-1 2.0
y-Kentucky Wildcats 14-15 32-21 7.0 y-Arkansas Razorbacks 15-14 34-21 4.0
y-Tennessee Volunteers 11-18 30-22 10.0 y-Alabama Crimson Tide 14-14 33-21 4.5
Georgia Bulldogs 10-18-1 25-28-1 10.5 y-Texas A&M Aggies 13-16 32-23 6.0
x-Missouri Tigers 6-23 20-32 15.0 Auburn Tigers 10-19 28-27 9.0
x-Eliminated from SEC tournament contention; y-Clinched spot in SEC tournament; z-Clinched conference; w-Clinched division

Florida won the SEC regular-season outright Friday with a 4-2 victory against Tennessee. That also clinched the No. 1 seed for the Gators, and added to the list of reasons why Florida is basically a mortal lock at this point for a national seed. Who else from the conference gets to host through the super regionals might not be clear until after the SEC tournament.

Meanwhile, Ole Miss beat Texas A&M, 4-2, to claim the No. 2 seed. The Rebels are not outright SEC West champions just yet; an Ole Miss loss tomorrow, coupled with a Mississippi State win, would give the Bulldogs a share of the division title. But the tiebreaker for the No. 2 seed comes down to head-to-head results, and Ole Miss wins on that count. Mississippi State edged Alabama, 1-0 to remain in contention.

Despite blasting Auburn for a second straight night -- this time 11-3 -- LSU was officially knocked out of the race for even a share of the SEC West title. But the Tigers are still in the running for one of the top four seeds. Vanderbilt clubbed South Carolina, 9-3, to even that series and set up a finale tomorrow with big implications nationally and in the SEC. One of those two teams is going to remain in the running for a national seed, and one will not. The top-four battle could also be decided in that game.

For now, here's the race for those top four seeds, which come with byes in the first round of the SEC tournament:

Race for the Top 4
z-Florida 21-8 Clinched
w-Ole Miss 19-10 Clinched
Mississippi State 18-11 +1.0
LSU 16-11-1 --
South Carolina 17-12 1.0
Vanderbilt 17-12 1.0

If I'm following the SEC's byzantine tiebreakers correctly, here's what every one of the bottom four teams in the race needs to get a bye:

  • Mississippi State: A win. Finishing up the series sweep against Alabama would lock the Bulldogs into the No. 3 seed, giving them the first-round bye. A South Carolina loss or an LSU loss would also do the trick.
  • LSU: A win. The Tigers also control their own destiny, though whether it's the No. 3 or No. 4 seed would depend on whether Mississippi State wins or loses. But LSU basically has to win; if the Tigers lose, the winner of South Carolina-Vanderbilt automatically vaults above them and Mississippi State remains ahead of the Tigers no matter what happens.
  • South Carolina: A win and either a Mississippi State loss or an LSU loss. South Carolina can win the tiebreaker against Mississippi State if both teams finish 18-12, because it's decided on head-to-head against the highest seeds. Mississippi State didn't play Florida, but both teams played a series against Ole Miss. South Carolina beat the Rebels and Mississippi State lost. If LSU loses and South Carolina wins, the Gamecocks have a better winning percentage.
  • Vanderbilt: A win and an LSU loss. Mississippi State beat the Commodores head to head in March, so the only way Vanderbilt gets in is if LSU somehow loses to Auburn.

That would also be Auburn's only hope at this point for getting into Hoover. Over the last two nights, Kentucky has demolished Georgia to the tune of 23-0, so it's not like the Bulldogs getting swept tomorrow is an unlikely scenario. But if Georgia wins or both Auburn and Georgia lose, the Bulldogs go to Hoover.

Despite losing tonight, Tennessee clinched its spot in Hoover, the first time they've gone to the tournament since 2007. One of the reasons I know that is that the Volunteers made this helpful informational video.

If the tournament were to begin tomorrow, here's how the seedings would look:

Current SEC Seedings
1 Florida 21-8
2 Ole Miss 19-10
3 Mississippi State 18-11
4 LSU 16-11-1
5 South Carolina / Vanderbilt 17-12
6 South Carolina / Vanderbilt 17-12
7 Arkansas 15-14
8 Alabama 14-14
9 Kentucky 14-15
10 Texas A&M 13-16
11 Tennessee 11-18
12 Georgia 10-18-1

The first-round match-ups would feature the winner of South Carolina-Vanderbilt playing Georgia, the loser of South Carolina-Vanderbilt playing Tennessee, Arkansas playing Texas A&M and Alabama facing Kentucky. As you can see, though, that is still subject to some fluctuation depending on Saturday's results.

The Saturday Slate

Florida Gators vs. Tennessee Volunteers, 1 p.m. ET, CSS / ESPN3
Kentucky Wildcats vs. Georgia Bulldogs, 1 p.m. ET
LSU Tigers vs. Auburn Tigers, 2 p.m. ET, SportSouth / ESPN3
South Carolina Gamecocks vs. Vanderbilt Commodores, 3 p.m. ET, CBS Sports
Ole Miss Rebels vs. Texas A&M Aggies, 3:05 p.m. ET, ESPN3
Arkansas Razorbacks vs. Missouri Tigers, 4 p.m. ET, CST / ESPN3
Mississippi St. Bulldogs vs. Alabama Crimson Tide, 4 p.m. ET, CSS