WBB Preview: It All Comes Down to This

Sunday the South Carolina women's basketball team hosts Vanderbilt on the day it says good-bye to its two seniors. But this game involves much more than this. A win or loss could be the difference between a fourth seed all the way to seventh seed in next week's SEC Tournament. GamecockAnthem tried its best to figure out all the scenarios for you. The game will be televised on FSN beginning at 2:00

Date: Sunday, February 27, 2001
Time: 2 p.m.
Location: Columbia, S.C.
Arena: Colonial Life Arena
TV: FSN (Dave Neal and Sonya Beller)
Radio: WISW 1320 AM (Brad Muller and Marcy Girton)
Tickets: $7 General Admission
Vanderbilt Series: VU leads 20-6; In Columbia: VU leads 7-4; In Nashville: VU leads 11-2; At Neutral Site: VU leads 2-0

It all comes down to this. One final game. It's the big one.

Not only will the Gamecocks say good-bye to its two seniors - Jewel May and Valerie Nainima - they will take part in a huge game that has major SEC and NCAA Tournament implications. Carolina, 8-7 in the SEC, is currently in a three-way tie for fifth in the SEC standings with LSU and Auburn. Vanderbilt - Sunday's opponent - is just one game in front of the pack at 9-6. That means that a Gamecock win could potentially set up a four-way tie for fourth should LSU somehow manage to win at #4 Tennessee and Auburn beat #20 Kentucky. Far-fetched, but stranger things have happened.

Let's take a look at the scenarios and tie-breakers.

A South Carolina win guarantees that the Gamecocks would be seeded no worse than fifth in next week's SEC Tournament. The only scenario that the Gamecocks would finish fifth is if both LSU and Auburn win. In that case, Vanderbilt would win the tie-breaker and take the fourth seed and Carolina would be the fifth seed. If either LSU or Auburn loses, Carolina would be the fourth seed.

A Carolina loss is where things get real tricky. Should Carolina, Auburn and LSU lose there would still be the three-way tie for fifth. If Kentucky knocks off Auburn, South Carolina would have to hope for Georgia to win at Florida and finish second. If Georgia finishes second, South Carolina would be the sixth seed. If Kentucky finishes second, South Carolina would be the seventh seed.

Confused yet? So am I. Don't ask me how it all works, just trust me that this is right. There's no doubt NASA had an easier time putting man in space than we have of figuring out all the tie-breaking scenarios. Trust me, ever since Florida knocked off Vanderbilt Friday night I've been trying to figure it all out. Three note pads, 18 pencils, 47 erasers, and one fried brain later I finally gave up. It had something to do with carrying the one, fractions, and some sort of graphing. There's a reason I'm no mathematician.

The fact is, the Gamecocks can make it real easy on themselves. JUST BEAT VANDY! Beat Vanderbilt and hope LSU or Auburn loses and the Gamecocks will get to watch Thursday's first round from their hotel rooms.

South Carolina is an impressive 13-3 at the Colonial Life Arena. South Carolina has not lost a home game since a 71-56 loss to Tennessee on January 20th. Since then Carolina has won its last four home games, including wins over ranked teams Georgia and Kentucky, as well as a win over Auburn. The Lady Vols and Florida are the only two SEC opponents to knock off the Gamecocks at home.

Vanderbilt has struggled a bit on the road, posting a 5-7 record. The Commodores lost their first three road games to Florida State, Bowling Green, and Denver. Vanderbilt then lost its last non-conference road game at Virginia Tech. Vanderbilt is 4-3 on the road in conference games with losses to Ole Miss, Tennessee and Kentucky. The Commodores beat Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi State on the road.

Vanderbilt has lost three of its last four - all at home - and has struggled to keep their opponents from scoring. There's no doubt that the Gamecocks will want to get out and run up and down the court to a number four seed in next week's SEC Tournament and further put a stamp on a potential NCAA Tournament appearance.

There's no doubt that there will be some scoreboard watching going on in the Colonial Life Arena this afternoon. But first thing's first - Carolina has to take care of business.

SEC Standings

Tennessee - 15-0
Georgia - 10-5
Kentucky - 10-5
Vanderbilt - 9-6
LSU - 8-7
South Carolina - 8-7
Auburn - 8-7
Arkansas - 6-9
Florida - 6-9
Alabama - 4-11
Mississippi State - 3-12
Mississippi - 3-12

Sunday's schedule

LSU @ Tennessee 2:00 P.M.
Kentucky @ Auburn 2:00 P.M.
Georgia @ Florida 2:00 P.M.
Vanderbilt @ South Carolina 2:00 P.M.
Alabama @ Arkansas 3:00 P.M.
Mississippi @ Mississippi State 3:00 P.M.

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