The last SEC basketball midweek schedule has it all, from important bubble games to consequential SEC standings games at the top, middle, and bottom. Let's go.
GAME OF THE MIDWEEK
UF has lost five of its last seven games. Each has been to a team in NCAA Tournament consideration: at Kentucky, Alabama, at South Carolina, Vanderbilt, and at LSU. None of these are bad losses, but at some point, teams that want to be in the Big Dance do have to win games over other probable and potential tournament teams. The Gators are now certifiably on the bubble.
Kentucky has been far from trustworthy in road games this year. The 'Cats are 3-7 on others' campuses and just provided Vanderbilt a win on Saturday that boosted the 'Dores bubble prospects. UK could give another conference mate a big hand by losing this one, as it's the kind of big win that the Gators only have one other of (over WVU). While a loss wouldn't give the committee a reason to exclude Florida, UF is coming up short right now on giving the committee reasons to include them.
TUESDAY, MARCH 1
Vandy would give up some of the goodwill it earned with its win over UK by losing this one, but UT has just one road win on the year so far. The Vols have plenty to play for, though, as an 0-2 showing this week would cause the team to have to play in the SEC Tournament's 12/13-seed first round game.
LSU is pretty solidly an NIT team at this point, but it is still knotted up with South Carolina and Vandy in the running for the SEC Tournament's final double bye. With a trip to Rupp looming on Saturday, LSU can't afford to take on another baffling loss here.
Texas A&M Aggies at Auburn Tigers, 9 p.m. ET, ESPNU
A&M's chances at the SEC regular season title are pretty great right now, but overlooking an Auburn team that has defeated Kentucky in the building where this game will be played is not advised. AU, for its part, is still in the running for the SEC Tournament's final bye and would get a huge boost in the running for that honor with the upset.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 2
Ole Miss is battling for position in the middle of the conference standings, and it actually plays a pretty big role in determining the final SECT bye. It has MSU here followed by Tennessee this weekend. While State needs help from other teams beating the Vols in order to get the final bye, it must help itself by getting wins of its own.
Bama is one of five teams tied at 8-8 heading into the final week, and it holds the key with games against two of those other four teams. Arkansas cannot climb higher than the 10-seed due to its futility against the other 8-8 teams to date, but it can ruin the Tide's chances of climbing up the SECT seeding—and potentially its bubble hopes as well.
TUHRSDAY, MARCH 3
Carolina will all but clinch an SEC Tournament double bye with a win here, given that A) it gets a double bye if at least one of LSU and Vandy go 1-1 this week, and B) LSU has to play at Rupp. One of those two may have even lost by the time this game is played, although it's unlikely. The Gamecocks have a route to a double bye with a 1-1 week, but with a road game at Arkansas coming up on Saturday, it'd be best to just win this thing. UGA, for its part, is still a major player in the logjam in the middle of the SEC and does have chances to move up with wins.