Like It Is:

SEC seedings not close to being decided

By: Wally Hall
Published: Friday, February 23, 2018
Mike Anderson, Arkansas head coach, reacts to a call in the first half against Texas A&M Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, during the game at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.
Photo by Ben Goff
Mike Anderson, Arkansas head coach, reacts to a call in the first half against Texas A&M Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, during the game at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.

Auburn, which was picked in the preseason to finish ninth by the media, needs one win to clinch the Southeastern Conference championship.

Tennessee, which was picked 13th (ahead only of LSU) in the preseason, needs two wins to clinch second.

Then it gets uglier than this week's weather.

There are six teams tied for third. Arkansas, Mississippi State, Kentucky, Missouri, Alabama and Florida are all sitting on 8-7 SEC records. For the record, the media picked Kentucky to win the SEC and Florida to finish second.

The media had Texas A&M, which is currently tied for 10th, to finish third. Then, in order, the picks were Alabama, Missouri, Arkansas, Vanderbilt, Georgia, Auburn, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Mississippi State, Tennessee and LSU.

As for having six teams being tied for third here's how the SEC determines seeding for its tournament:

If two teams tie, which seems like a long shot at this point, the first tiebreaker is head-to-head competition. If they split, it is how they did head to head against the No. 1 seed, proceeding through all 14 seeds if necessary.

If they are still tied, the commissioner flips a coin.

With three or more teams tied it gets much more interesting.

The first tiebreaker is winning percentage among the teams in the tie, and that hurts the Hogs because so far, of the five teams tied with them, they only have a win against Missouri.

So the clowns who let Mississippi State shoot 40 free throws to Arkansas' 12 in the 78-75 loss in Starkville have hit the Hogs with a double-whammy. In that game the Razorbacks had seven more field goals including two more three-pointers, but the 'Dogs got 24 points at the free throw line.

Anyway, the second tiebreaker is how the teams did against the No. 1 seed and then proceeding through the No. 14 seed if necessary. Of the six tied for third, Alabama is the only one to have a win over Auburn. Arkansas did beat Tennessee if it went to how the teams did against the No. 2 seed.

If there is still a tie but with only two teams, the commissioner flips a coin. If there are three or more the commissioner draws a name.

Remember, No. 1-4 seeds don't play until Friday, which obviously means it takes winning three games in three days to get the automatic NCAA Tournament bid.

The last thing any team wants is to be seeded 11-14 because that means playing on Wednesday and having to win five games in five days to get the automatic bid.

As of today nothing is settled, not even with Ole Miss and Vanderbilt tied for last because both have five wins. If one of them wins out they could end up in a tie for a better spot, and they play each other on the final day.

The Rebels snapped a seven-game losing streak Tuesday going into Missouri and getting a 90-87 win for interim head coach Tony Madlock, who spent several years as Dickey Nutt's top assistant at Arkansas State.

Madlock has his work cut out for him because before the Rebels close out the season hosting Vandy they have to play Tennessee and go to Kentucky. If he were to win all of those he should get really strong consideration to have the interim taken off.

The Razorbacks may have the hardest three games left of any team in the SEC. This Saturday they are at Alabama, then host Auburn (the early prediction here is the Hogs win this game on senior night, especially if the Tigers clinch the SEC title at Florida tomorrow) and then go to Missouri.

For Arkansas and most of the SEC a lot is riding on these final three games.

Sports on 02/23/2018


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