Down the Stretch

After all SEC games were completed Sunday evening the road to Hoover and the SEC tournament remained almost as crowded as Highway 280 during rush hour.

There are 11 teams still alive for the eight-team tournament set for May 25-29 at the Hoover Met. And just one team, Kentucky, has been mathematically elemented from the event.

Only Florida, Tennessee and LSU have assured themselves trips to Hoover entering the final weekend of play.

If the tourney started this week Alabama would be in as the fourth seed, facing fifth-seeded Ole Miss, and Auburn, Mississippi State and Georgia would be left home in addition to Kentucky.

Whether your glass half empty or half full will determine how you view the upcoming final weekend of Southeastern Conference baseball regular season play.

Alabama will travel to Auburn for a three-game set this weekend, and a single win would assure the Tide a spot in the league tournament (Alabama could also easily make it without a win on the Plains).

But while it would be good for the Tide to assure itself entry into the tournament without help, more could be gained from the trip. A game back of LSU in the West, Alabama could claim a share of the divisional title or win it outright. Alabama holds head-to-head tiebreakers over both LSU and Ole Miss.

Auburn, on the other hand, needs to win and get help elsewhere around the league to make the tournament. Auburn is 10th in overall league standings and would miss the tournament if it began today.

Here's how the league stacks up entering the final weekend:

SEC Eastern Divsion (SEC Record)
*1. Florida (17-10)
*2. Tennessee (16-10)
3. Vanderbilt (13-14)
4. South Carolina (13-14)
5. Georgia (11-15)
?6. Kentucky (6-19)

x-mathematically eliminated from SEC Tourney
*-Clinched SEC Tourney berth

SEC Western Divsion (SEC Record)
*1. LSU (16-11)
2. Alabama (15-12)
3. Ole Miss (15-12)
4. Arkansas (13-14)
5. Mississippi State (12-14)
6. Auburn (12-15)
x-mathematically eliminated from SEC Tourney
*- Clinched SEC Tourney berth

What Gets Bama in the Tourney?

One or more win against Auburn and Alabama is in.

If Auburn sweeps Alabama, however, the Crimson Tide could still get to Hoover if ANY TWO of the following other scenarios took place:

- LSU taking one (or more) games from Mississippi State
- Ole Miss taking two games from Arkansas
- Arkansas sweeping Ole Miss
- Kentucky winning one game against South Carolina
- Florida taking two games from Vanderbilt

Who's Still Alive to Win the West?

LSU is obviously the frontrunner, but Alabama or Ole Miss could still win the division outright.

Technically, there can be co-divisional championships (parading them as monumental achievements is another issue). For Alabama to win the West outright, the Tide must make up two games on LSU and hope Ole Miss does not keep pace.

Arkansas can still win a share of the West crown, but cannot win it outright and cannot be seeded higher than LSU in the tournament.

LSU (16-11; holds head-to-head tiebreakers over Ole Miss and Arkansas)
Ole Miss (15-12; plays Arkansas this week, loses other tiebreakers)
Alabama (15-12; holds tiebreakers over LSU and Ole Miss, loses tiebreaker to Arkansas)
Arkansas (13-14, loses head-to-head tiebreaker to LSU, wins tiebreaker with Alabama)

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