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UK's SEC tourney foe taking shape

With only two weeks remaining in the regular season, the Southeastern Conference is out with its sneak peek ahead to the league tournament March 8-11 in New Orleans.

If the season ended today, No. 1 seed Kentucky would face the winner of No. 8 Ole Miss and No. 9 Arkansas at 1 p.m. ET on Friday, March 9. The opposite side of the bracket would feature No. 4 seed Mississippi State awaiting the winner of No. 5 LSU vs. No. 12 South Carolina.

As this is the first season with no East or West divisions, the league’s tie-breaker formula is getting a workout thanks to remarkable parity. The top three seeds are clear at this point with UK (12-0), Florida (9-3) and Vanderbilt (8-4) sitting atop the standings. But the battle for that fourth and final all-important first-round bye is a crap shoot with four games to play.

Currently, Mississippi State, LSU, Alabama and Tennessee all have 6-6 league records. The tie-breaker, for now, goes to Mississippi State as they own a 3-1 record against the other three teams. But the fun is just beginning as the Bulldogs host Kentucky on Tuesday before traveling to Alabama on Saturday. Likewise, Tennessee and LSU will meet Feb. 29 in Baton Rouge.

Here is the tournament schedule if the season ended today:
8 Ole Miss vs. 9 Arkansas. Winner meets 1 Kentucky
5 LSU vs. 12 South Carolina. Winners meet 4 Mississippi State
7 Tennessee vs. 10 Auburn. Winner meets 2 Florida
6 Alabama vs. 11 Georgia. Winners meets 3 Vanderbilt

Kentucky is the odds-on favorite to win the tournament at New Orleans Arena. If so, it would mark the Cats’ league-best 28th SEC tourney title. Alabama is next in line with six.

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