2013 SEC Basketball Is a Mess

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It’s officially March and madness has arrived in the SEC.

That’s what happens when you have one good team and a whole heap of mediocrity.

In Friday’s mailbag I attempted to forecast who would receive the top four seeds in next week’s SEC basketball tournament here in Nashville.

Then chaos happened on Saturday.

The SEC is such a hot mess that ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has five of the final nine teams on the bubble from the SEC. He has Tennessee — despite the loss at Georgia — in the NCAA tourney as his final team and then has Kentucky, Alabama, Ole Miss, & Arkansas as the next eight out.

I’m not sure if one conference has ever been such a mess that five of the nine bubble teams are from the same league, but right now that’s the SEC’s position.

So it’s likely that the SEC tourney will go a long way towards deciding which teams are dancing.

And a big part of that decision will be the match-ups in that tourney, who plays who, and who is seeded where.

So here’s my best effort at projecting what the final SEC standings will look like.

We begin with the certainties:

Florida will be the number one seed and South Carolina, Auburn, and Mississippi State will be seeded 12, 13, and 14. Get fired up now as 3-13 Mississippi State plays 3-13 South Carolina and 3-13 Auburn back to back to finish off the schedule.

So we’ll dismiss with those four teams since their standing is pretty much set.

But what about the other ten schools?

Right now we have a mess at the top of the board, lots of similar incompetence.

So what would the final standings look like if the season ended today and what’s likely to happen going forward?

Florida is one and then… 

2. Alabama 11-5 (Right now Bama would be the 2 seed by virtue of its win over UK)

Games remaining: at Ole Miss, Georgia

Likely outcome: 1-1

Projected SEC record: 12-6

3. Kentucky 11-5

Games remaining: at Georgia, Florida

Likely outcome 1-1

Projected SEC record: 12-6

4. Missouri 10-6 (wins tiebreak over Ole Miss for final bye courtesy of win over Florida)

Games remaining: Arkansas, at Tennessee

Likely outcome 1-1

Projected SEC record: 11-7

5. Ole Miss 10-6

Games remaining: Alabama, at LSU

Likely outcome: 1-1

Projected SEC record: 11-7

6. Arkansas 9-7 (wins tiebreak over UT with head-to-head victory)

Games remaining: at Missouri, Texas A&M

Likely outcome: 1-1

Projected SEC record: 10-8

7. Tennessee 9-7

Games remaining at Auburn, Missouri

Likely outcome: 2-0

Projected SEC record: 11-7

8. Georgia 8-8 (wins tiebreak over LSU with head-to-head victory)

Games remaining: Kentucky, at Alabama

Likely outcome: 1-1

Projected SEC record: 9-9

9. LSU 8-8

Games remaining: at Texas A&M, Ole Miss

Likely outcome: 1-1

Projected SEC record: 9-9

10. Vanderbilt 7-9 (wins tiebreak over A&M with head-to-head victory)

Games remaining: at Florida, South Carolina

Likely outcome: 1-1

Projected SEC record: 8-10

11. Texas A&M 7-9

Games remaining: LSU, at Arkansas

Likely outcome: 1-1

Projected SEC record: 8-10

Okay, applying my projections — which are far from infallible because many of these games will have spreads of less than five points — this is what the final SEC standings would look like:

1. Florida

2. Alabama (12-6) wins tiebreak over UK

3. Kentucky (12-6)

Missouri, Ole Miss and Tennessee would all tie at 11-7

4. Ole Miss (11-7) would win the tiebreak with a 3-1 record against all three teams while UT would be 1-2 and Mizzou would be 1-2

5. Tennessee (11-7) would win the tiebreak over Mizzou

6. Mizzou (11-7)

7.  Arkansas (10-8)

8. Georgia (9-9)

9. LSU (9-9)

10. Vandy (8-10) wins tiebreak over Texas A&M

11. Texas A&M (8-10)

12. South Carolina (4-14) wins tiebreak over Miss. State courtesy of Arkansas win, which is second-highest win for both teams

13. Miss. State (4-14)

14. Auburn (3-15)


So what would your bracket look like?

Wednesday night:

11 Texas A&M vs. 14 Auburn

12 South Carolina vs. 13 Miss. State


Texas A&M vs. Auburn winner vs. 6 Mizzou

South Carolina vs. Miss. State winner vs. 5 Tennessee

7 Arkansas vs. 10 Vandy

8 Georgia vs. 9 LSU


1 Florida vs. Georgia/LSU winner

2 Alabama vs. Arkansas/Vandy winner

3 Kentucky vs. Mizzou/A&M/Auburn winner

4 Ole Miss vs. UT/USC/Miss. State winner




Title game

Okay, which are the biggest swing games remaining in the standings:

Tuesday’s Alabama at Ole Miss game 

I’m projecting Ole Miss to win this game because the Rebels are 15-1 at home on the season. (The lone loss was to Kentucky).  

But if the Tide win then Bama is likely to finish 13-5 in conference, which would guarantee them the two seed regardless of what Kentucky does.   

If Ole Miss loses to Bama then the Rebels would finish 10-8 in conference, dropping them all the way to 10-8, which would make them the 7 seed.

That would also mean that 11-7 Tennessee would then get the 4 seed bye in a tiebreak over Mizzou

Saturday’s Mizzou at Tennessee game

If Mizzou wins at Tennessee and finishes 12-6, the Tigers would vault all the way to the SEC 2 seed if Bama finishes 12-6 as well. So if the Tigers are 11-6 coming into Knoxville that game is worth four seed lines to the Tigers.

If Tennessee loses and falls to 10-8 in conference then the Vols would fall all the way to the 7 seed.

Kentucky’s two games vs. Georgia and Florida

I forecast a split in the at Georgia and Florida games.

But if the Wildcats lost both then Kentucky would fall to 11-7

Which would create a 4 way tie at 11-7 with UK, Ole Miss, Mizzou, and UT

Two of these teams would receive byes.

In this crazy four-way tie scenario you’d look at combined records amongst the tied teams:

UK would be 3-1

Ole Miss would be 3-2

Tennessee would be 2-3

Mizzou would be 1-3

In this scenario Kentucky would be the 3, Ole Miss would be the 4, Tennessee would be the 5, and Mizzou would be the 6

Confused yet?

What a mess.

Next week in Nashville should be really wild and Friday and Saturday’s games should determine who is in the NCAA tournament for sure.

Written by Clay Travis

Clay Travis is the founder of the fastest growing national multimedia platform, OutKick, that produces and distributes engaging content across sports and pop culture to millions of fans across the country. OutKick was created by Travis in 2011 and sold to the Fox Corporation in 2021.

One of the most electrifying and outspoken personalities in the industry, Travis hosts OutKick The Show where he provides his unfiltered opinion on the most compelling headlines throughout sports, culture, and politics. He also makes regular appearances on FOX News Media as a contributor providing analysis on a variety of subjects ranging from sports news to the cultural landscape. Throughout the college football season, Travis is on Big Noon Kickoff for Fox Sports breaking down the game and the latest storylines.

Additionally, Travis serves as a co-host of The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, a three-hour conservative radio talk program syndicated across Premiere Networks radio stations nationwide.

Previously, he launched OutKick The Coverage on Fox Sports Radio that included interviews and listener interactions and was on Fox Sports Bet for four years. Additionally, Travis started an iHeartRadio Original Podcast called Wins & Losses that featured in-depth conversations with the biggest names in sports.

Travis is a graduate of George Washington University as well as Vanderbilt Law School. Based in Nashville, he is the author of Dixieland Delight, On Rocky Top, and Republicans Buy Sneakers Too.