This is it, folks, We've hit the end of the regular season. Seven games will decide how all of this ends:
- LSU at Arkansas, 2 p.m. ET, ESPN
- Florida at Kentucky, 2 p.m. ET, CBS
- Alabama at Texas A&M, 2 p.m. ET, ESPN3
- Georgia at Auburn, 4 p.m. ET, SEC Network
- South Carolina at Tennessee, 4 p.m. ET, ESPN3
- Missouri at Mississippi State, 6:30 p.m., SEC Network
- Vanderbilt at Ole Miss, 9 p.m. ET, SEC Network
Every game has something riding on it, from NCAA bubble implications to SEC Tournament seeding. Let's run it down from the top, shall we?
It wouldn't be quite right to say that LSU desperately needs to beat Arkansas, but a win over the Razorbacks would be huge for their NCAA Tournament hopes. It's not a stretch to say that winning that game just might move the Tigers into the "lock" category. The Hogs aren't playing for nothing, though, despite locking up the 2-seed in the conference tournament. They're playing for seeding in the Big Dance, with most projections putting them in the 4-seed to 6-seed range. If they don't want to end up a juicy 5-12 upset candidate, winning this game would help.
Beating Kentucky would be a nice way for Florida to end a disappointing season, but it's far from likely to happen. What's more likely is that this UK team will move into sole possession of the No. 2 spot in the SEC win streak standings, with a victory on Saturday being their 31st in a row. Only three other SEC teams have ever won 30 in a row, with 2013-14 Florida coincidentally being the last to do it. Kentucky is chasing its own record, as the school won 32 in a row in 1954-55. That mark is in serious danger of falling next week.
Texas A&M gave away most of its March Madness cushion with its loss to Florida on Tuesday, and a loss here would be devastating to their dance chances. Not many other bubble teams have been cooperating by losing this week, so the Aggies' bland resume (devoid of both big wins and bad losses) probably can't afford a home loss to the Tide.
Georgia is safe and sound in the tournament as long as it doesn't lose two bad games in a row with this one and their first in the SEC Tournament. The Bulldogs will probably avenge their loss to the Tigers now that they're back to full strength, but a loss will turn a good situation into a dicey one with a quickness.
South Carolina and Tennessee aren't in danger of swapping places in the league standings or anything, but both are in fights for seeding. The Vols can move up out of the 10-spot into the 9-seed with a win and a Bama loss. The Gamecocks in turn can sew up the 11-seed with a victory.
Mississippi State is in that fight with South Carolina. Should the Bulldogs beat MU and see South Carolina fall, they'll be the ones getting the 11-seed. Meanwhile, Mizzou can actually avoid the 14-seed with a win here, another win by their fellow Tigers from Baton Rouge, and a loss by their fellow Tigers from the Plains. If LSU finishes ahead of Georgia—both teams are currently at 10-7, and the Tigers own the tiebreaker—Mizzou would win a head-to-head tie against Auburn at 4-14.
Finally, Ole Miss is out of the bubble situation and now is playing for seeding for all practical purposes. Winning this game would also clinch a double bye in the SEC Tournament, which is always good if you can get it. Vandy is basically assured of getting the 7-seed in the conference tournament with a win here, since Florida will almost certainly lose to Kentucky.
It's a packed weekend. Let's go.