First, we have to acknowledge the absurdity that this article even exists. Twelve days ago we were sitting at 7-5, fresh off a four game losing streak (and a five game conference losing streak), with four teams standing between us and 1st place.
- Kentucky (9-3)
- LSU (9-3)
- South Carolina (8-4)
- Vanderbilt (7-5)
- Texas A&M (7-5)
- Florida (7-5)
- Georgia (7-5)
Since then, we've won three straight and received just about every favorable SEC result we could ask for.
- Kentucky (11-4)
- South Carolina (10-5)
- Texas A&M (10-5)
- Vanderbilt (9-6)
- LSU (9-6)
Before we hit the individual scenarios for each team to win the title, let's take a quick look at the SEC tiebreaker rules
In the event of a two-team time for first, the following procedure will be used in the following order until the tie is broken:
- Won-lost results of head-to-head competition between the two teams.
- Won-lost record of the two teams versus the No. 1 seed (and proceeding through the No. 14 seed, if necessary).
- Coin flip by the Commissioner.
Three-Team Tie (or more)
When three or more teams are tied, the following procedure will be used in the following order until the tie is broken. If two teams re- main tied after a tiebreaker provision, the two-team tiebreaker formula will be used.
- 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).
- Best winning percentage of the tied teams versus the No. 1 seed (and proceed- ing through the No. 14 seed, if necessary).
- If two teams remain, coin flip by the Commissioner.
- If three or more teams remain, draw by the Commissioner.
Clear as mud, right? And if you aren't excited about the possibility of Greg Sankey playing Vegas Vacation Casino games to decide the fate of an SEC title, I'm not sure how to help you.
Tier 3: Mathematically Alive
It would take an incredible series of events for either team to cut down the nets next weekend. But if Johnny Jones can land Ben Simmons, anything is possible.
#5 Vanderbilt Commodores (Two games behind Kentucky)
Wins over the top five: Texas A&M
Losses to the top five: Kentucky, LSU, South Carolina
Remaining schedule: Kentucky, Tennessee, @ Texas A&M
They win the title if: They win out, which would include victories over Kentucky (split) and Texas A&M (sweep). They also need Kentucky to lose a second game while simultaneously hoping that LSU doesn't run the table. SC also has to drop two of their last three, as they would win just about any group tiebreaker if they only lost one. Whatever, they're nerds. I'm confident they can figure it out.
#4) LSU Tigers (Two games behind Kentucky)
Wins over the top five: Kentucky, A&M (split), Vanderbilt
Losses to the top five: A&M (split), South Carolina
Remaining schedule: Florida, Missouri, @ Kentucky
They win the title if: They win out, which would include a victory at Kentucky on the final day of the season. The same Kentucky that has won a million games in a row at home. They'd also need Kentucky to lose a second game, along with a 2-1 finish from Texas A&M and South Carolina. A season sweep of Kentucky would put them in a great position for tiebreakers, but they need to turn it around during a very tough stretch after losing four of five. I don't see it.
Don't waste your time thinking about these two too much. I included them as a courtesy.
Tier 2: Realistically Alive
#3 Fightin' Texas Aggie Hoops (One game behind Kentucky)
Wins over the top five: Kentucky, LSU (split)
Losses to the top five: Vanderbilt, South Carolina, LSU (split)
Remaining schedule: @ Mizzou, @ Auburn, Vandy
They win the title if: They engineer a two-way tie with Kentucky. The Ags don't play anyone ahead of them to close the season, so the best we can do is win out and hope for some help. Namely, losses by South Carolina and Kentucky.
The Gamecocks close with a tricky visit to Bud Walton Arena in Arkansas, and Kentucky has to navigate trips to Florida and Vanderbilt. If those squads grab a loss and we win out, we have our first regular season conference title in 30 years.
#2 South Carolina Gamecocks (One game behind Kentucky)
Wins over the top five: Texas A&M, LSU, Vanderbilt
Losses to the top five: Kentucky
Remaining schedule: @ MSU, Georgia, @ Arkansas
They win the title if: They get a big ol' dog pile on top of the conference. The Gamecocks have more tiebreakers than anyone, and anything other than a two-way tie with Kentucky would likely see them through. South Carolina has no remaining games against the top five... so if Kentucky drops a game, they'll become the biggest Texas A&M fans you've ever seen.
Which is nice and all... but they still can't have sandstorm back.
King of the Mountain
#1 Kentucky Wildcats
Wins over the top five: Vanderbilt, South Carolina
Losses to the top five: LSU, Texas A&M
Remaining schedule: @ Vandy, @ Florida, LSU
They win the title if: If they win out (obviously) or if they are in a two-way tie with South Carolina. A three way tie (or more) would not suit Kentucky well, as the losses required to create that mess (LSU and/or Vandy) would put them even further down the tiebreaker pecking order.
I think the 'Cats will handle LSU with ease at home, so this really comes down to their trips to Vandy and Florida. If they can handle those road tests, they'll cruise through Senior Day at Rupp Arena and cut down the nets.