Typical standings show Tennessee at 11-2 in SEC play and Kentucky at 10-3, suggesting the Wildcats are breathing down the Vols' necks. In fact, the Vols are on the verge of clinching the East title. All they need to do is continue winning their home games ... a task they have performed perfectly to date.
The Vols are 6-0 in SEC home games, 5-2 in SEC road games. That's a Home-Road rating of plus-10. By merely winning its two remaining home games and losing its lone road game, UT will finish 10 games above .500 ... or 13-3.
Kentucky has played one more home game than UT, a fact accounted for in the Home-Road Factor but not in traditional standings. The Big Blue is 7-0 at home, 3-3 on the road for a Home-Road rating of plus-6. That means the Wildcats are on pace to finish six games above .500 (11-5) if they win their remaining home game and lose their two remaining road games – at UT (Sunday) and at South Carolina (March 8).
Ultimately, Tennessee's three-point loss at Vandy on Tuesday night was not THAT big a deal. Heck, Kentucky lost by 41 at Vandy a few weeks ago. Likewise, Kentucky's home-floor defeat of Ole Miss on Wednesday night was not THAT big a deal. Tennessee beat the Rebels on its home floor in early January.
Bottom line: Tennessee should win its two remaining home games – vs. Kentucky (Sunday) and vs. South Carolina (March 9) – and finish no worse than 13-3 in league play. If the Vols hold serve at home on Sunday, Kentucky can finish no better than 12-4.
Tennessee also is in excellent position to win the SEC overall title. The only West Division team with a shot at catching the Vols is Mississippi State. Like Kentucky, MSU has a 9-3 SEC record but a mere plus-6 Home-Road rating. Like UK, the Bulldogs must play two of their three remaining games on the road.
Should Tennessee win its remaining home games (UK, South Carolina) and lose its remaining road game (March 5 at Florida), Mississippi State could only match the Vols' 13-3 record by sweeping its remaining games – at Florida (Saturday), at Vanderbilt (March 5) and vs. LSU (March 8). That's a very, very tall order.
Tennessee 6-0 home, 5-2 road ..... plus 10
Kentucky 7-0 home, 3-3 road ..... plus 6
Vanderbilt 7-0 home, 2-4 road ..... plus 4
Florida 5-1 home, 3-4 road ..... plus 4
S. Carolina 2-5 home, 2-4 road ..... minus 6
Georgia 3-4 home, 0-6 road ..... minus 8
Miss. State 6-1 home, 4-2 road ..... plus 6
Arkansas 5-1 home, 2-5 road ..... plus 2
Ole Miss 4-2 home, 0-7 road ..... minus 4
Auburn 2-4 home, 2-5 road ..... minus 4
Louisiana St 1-5 home, 3-4 road ..... minus 4
Alabama 4-3 home, 0-6 road ..... minus 6