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SEC Tournament Seeding Scenarios for Alabama Basketball

Where will the Crimson Tide be seeded for next week's SEC Tournament?
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — It's almost tournament time in college basketball.

The regular season is winding down, with just one game remaining for all teams in SEC play. Tennessee won the SEC regular season title outright, clinching the championship with a win over South Carolina on the road Wednesday night.

We know Tennessee will be the 1-seed in Nashville for the SEC Tournament next week, but outside of that, it's very up-in-the-air.

Alabama currently sits at 12-5 in league play, tied for 2nd place, and has a game with 6-11 Arkansas at home coming up on Saturday morning at 11 a.m. The Crimson Tide's performance, as well as other performances around the league, will dictate where it gets seeded once the day is over.

Here are some of the most likely scenarios:

1. Best case, the 2-seed

The highest seed Alabama can possibly get is the 2-seed, and luckily, it's also the most likely path.

In order for Alabama to get the 2-seed, two things must happen. First, it must win Saturday morning against Arkansas, a team it will no doubt be highly favored over. Then, it needs Tennessee to beat Kentucky that evening.

The game is in Knoxville, and the Vols already beat the Wildcats once this season. Tennessee will most surely be favored as well. 

If both of those things happen, Alabama is awarded the 2-seed, thanks to tiebreakers it holds with Auburn and South Carolina who can still tie the Crimson Tide in league record. 

Aside from the obvious reason of it being the highest remaining seed, the 2-seed in the SEC Tournament this year specifically carries a lot of weight. 

There has been clear separation of six teams at the top of the SEC: Tennessee, Alabama, Auburn, South Carolina, Kentucky and Florida. The 2-seed not only gets a double bye to the quarterfinals, but plays the winner of the 7-seed and the 10-seed in that quarterfinal game. The 2-seed will get to avoid seeing any of those top-6 teams until the semifinals on Saturday.

So Alabama fans, cheer on your team in Coleman Coliseum Saturday morning, then go home and play some Rocky Top on Saturday night to get the best possible outcome. 

2. The 3-seed. 

The 3-seed is the minimum Alabama can clinch if it wins against Arkansas on Saturday. That's no small feat either as the 3-seed still gets a double-bye to the quarterfinals.

If Alabama were to beat Arkansas, and Kentucky were to upset Tennessee on Saturday night, the Wildcats would be awarded the 2-seed thanks to tiebreakers it has over Alabama, Auburn, and South Carolina, the teams it could potentially tie with. 

This would give Alabama one of three opponents for its quarterfinal game, either the 6-seed, which we established earlier is one of that separated group at the top, or potentially the 11-seed or 14-seed who have much longer paths to get all the way to Friday.

It wouldn't be a complete loss to end up as the 3-seed, but again, avoiding playing against those top-6 seeds until Saturday is very important for having a manageable path.

3. The disaster scenario.

This is where it gets dicey.

If Alabama were to lose to Arkansas, there is no guarantee it ends up with a double-bye in the SEC Tournament. In fact, it's more likely that the Crimson Tide would end up as either the 5- or the 6-seed, and have to play on Thursday.

For Alabama to still get a double-bye even with a loss, it would need lots of help, particularly in the form of some combinations of an Auburn loss to Georgia, a South Carolina loss to Mississippi State, and a Kentucky win over Tennessee.

There's too many different scenarios to efficiently cover, so let's put it simply: Alabama needs to take care of business on Saturday. If it does, it's guaranteed a double-bye and no lower than a 3-seed, and can possibly finish as the 2-seed if things fall their way.

For a team picked to finish fifth in the league in the preseason, that's not too bad. Nate Oats has had lots of success in the SEC Tournament as well, winning two of the last three. Now is the time to see if the Crimson Tide can turn it around and get a run going, and it starts Saturday.

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