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Post SEC Tiebreak Scenarios

Thursday March 1, 2007

The three-team tiebreak scenario came up today on the DawgVent, and I might as well put the answer here too. We know that Georgia has to beat Tennessee on Saturday, and a Bulldog win would give each team a 9-6 SEC record. Florida plays Kentucky also this weekend, and a Gator win would lead the Wildcats at 9-6 as well. With Florida and Vanderbilt firmly in control of the #1 and #2 seeds and South Carolina bringing up the rear, how would the three-team logjam at 9-6 be broken?

Here is the SEC’s tiebreaker rubric.

With our hypothetical scenario of three 9-6 teams, here is how the tiebreaker would proceed:

  • Head-to-head records: Georgia, Kentucky, and Tennessee would all be 1-1 against each other.
  • Divisional records: A win over Tennessee would give Georgia and UT each 5-5 records in the SEC East. A Kentucky loss to Florida puts them at 4-6 in the East. Kentucky would be eliminated from the tiebreaker and given the 5th seed.
  • Record against divisional opponents, starting at the top: Tennessee is 1-1 against Florida; Georgia is 0-2. The tie is broken in favor of Tennessee.

If the games play out that way, Tennessee would get the #3 seed, Georgia the #4 seed, and Kentucky the #5 seed. Of course the games could turn out differently in which case the tiebreakers might not be necessary. Kentucky can take the #3 seed outright with a win over Florida and a Tennessee loss. If UK wins, Georgia would finish fifth in the East regardless of how they do against Tennessee. Georgia cannot finish third under any scenario; fourth or fifth are their only possibilities. Tennessee will earn the #3 seed with a win or a Kentucky loss.

Confused yet?

Georgia wants to avoid that #5 seed. The #5 seed leads to a Friday draw against Florida in the SEC Tournament. With the #4 seed, Georgia would be on the same side of the bracket as Ole Miss or whoever wins the West. It still wouldn’t be an easy road, but it’s not Florida either. If it comes down to Georgia needing two SEC Tournament wins, the difference between the #4 seed and the #5 seed is tremendous.

Update: It’s good to get backup from the horse’s mouth. The SEC has their “what-if” scenarios posted including what I’ve outlined above as well as a stab at the unholy tangle that is the SEC West.

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