Like It Is

OPINION | WALLY HALL: Eyeing the SEC Tournament, albeit early

This is just for fun, a look at what the SEC Tournament would most likely look like if the men's basketball season ended today.

The SEC uses head-to-head competition to determine seedings if there is a tie. If that is equal, it is how teams fared against the SEC regular season champion and if still tied they got to second place and so on down the standings. If they are still tied after that, a coin toss decides seeding.

With so many games left, I just used NCAA NET rankings to break ties for seeding purposes.

First round -- commonly called play-in games -- are Wednesday and would be No. 11 Vanderbilt vs. No. 14 Georgia at 6 p.m. Then No. 12 Missouri would face No. 13 Ole Miss.

Thursday's games would be No. 8 South Carolina vs. No. 9 Mississippi State at noon, and the winner of the 12-13 matchup would face No. 5 Alabama. At 6 p.m., it would be No. 7 Florida vs. No. 10 Texas A&M, followed by the winner of 11-14 against No. 6 LSU.

At this point, all games are on the SEC Network.

Friday's noon game would be No. 1 Auburn vs. winner of the 8-9 game. Twenty-five minutes after the conclusion of that game, Arkansas would face the winner of Alabama's game from the previous night. Those two games would be on ESPN.

That evening on the SEC Network, No. 2 Kentucky would take on the Florida-Texas A&M winner at 6 p.m. The late game would be the winner of LSU's game against No. 3 Tennessee.

From that point on, winners advance on ESPN with two games Saturday and the championship Sunday at noon.

With this guess, if the Arkansas Razorbacks win one game, they most likely will face Auburn again. Surely by now the Tiger guards have been taught to go inside out instead of shooting from the hip.

When the dust settles Sunday and attention is turned to March Madness, expect Auburn, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, LSU and Alabama to be dancing.

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Saw a list of college basketball coaches on the hot seat, and Georgia's Tom Crean and South Carolina's Frank Martin was there.

Whether that is true or just an opinion, it does indicate that the SEC has become a coach's league.

Martin and Crean have had success and are good coaches.

In recent years, though, guys like Tennessee's Rick Barnes have joined the league and raised the bar.

Arkansas has to play the Volunteers twice with the first game being Saturday at 3 p.m. in Walton Arena.

The Vols are coming off a behind kicking of Kentucky 76-63 and playing with a lot of confidence. The win left them tied for second in the SEC with the Wildcats at 10-3, and they are 19-6 overall with a NCAA NET ranking of No. 9. Arkansas is No. 29.

The difference could be in the Razorback responders, who are a loud, rowdy crowd.

* * *

Received several comments about Wednesday's column on Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva being allowed to compete in the Olympics despite a drug test showing she had at least one performance enhancing drug in her system.

Everyone agreed that the rules should be the same for everyone and allowing her to compete was unfair to all the other athletes.

One comment, though, came from a popular Benton pastor that made me laugh out loud:

"Give that poor little girl a break!

"It turns out that she had been riding one of (Bob) Baffert's horses bare-back!"

By the time you read this, you will already know she fell three times and finished fourth in Thursday's competition.

So the medal ceremony was still on.

I'm not happy she fell. What I would have liked to see the Russian Olympic Committee do is not allow her to continue to compete. She would have left with one of the top scores and a little of her reputation intact.

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