Auburn helped its SEC and NCAA Tournament chances immensely last weekend by sweeping Georgia. Frankly, it wasn't a series Auburn should have swept. Georgia outhit Auburn in two of the three games and had the same number of hits as Auburn in a third. Fortunately for the good guys, Georgia's bats went stone cold all weekend with runners in scoring position. By rights, Georgia should have won a game but didn't and we have no intention of sharing!
So after last weekend, the SEC standings looks like this:
Vandy 33-12 (15-6 in league play)
Florida 33-12 (13-8)
Missouri 26-18 (12-9)
Kentucky 25-17 (10-10)
South Carolina 26-19 (9-12)
Tennessee 18-21 (7-14)
Georgia 21-23 (6-14)
LSU 37-7 (14-6)
Texas A&M 37-7 (13-7)
Arkansas 26-18 (11-10)
Auburn 29-16 (10-11)
Ole Miss 23-22 (10-11)
Alabama 23-20 (8-13)
Mississippi State 23-21 (7-14)
Auburn is currently ranked #8 overall in conference, an improvement from last week when we ranked #10. The Tigers are right in the thick of the middle of the SEC pack. It's hard to imagine the Tigers dropping below 11th in the conference or rising above 5th but all other outcomes are in play. Auburn's RPI is currently in the top 20 so if we make the SEC tournament, a bid to the NCAA Tournament (likely a 2 seed, 3 if the wheels fall off) seems safe.
Auburn's magic number to clinch a spot in Hoover is 7. That means that if Auburn's combined win total over the remaining nine games+either Miss State or Tennessee's losses adds up to 7, Auburn will go to Hoover. This number is calculated by taking the total number of games in the SEC schedule (30) + 1 - Auburn's wins (10) - the SEC #13's losses (14).
This weekend, the Tigers travel to Columbia, South Carolina to face the Gamecocks. South Carolina isn't the program it was recently when it won back-to-back national titles in 2010-11 and finished runner up in 2012. But they aren't bad either. Look for a more thorough preview of the series later this week. With Miss State facing LSU and Tennessee hosting Texas A&M this weekend, things are looking good for Auburn to improve its chances of going to Hoover no matter what it does this weekend against South Carolina.
If the season ended today, the tournament would look like this:
Game 1 #6 Arkansas vs #11 Alabama
Game 2 #7 Kentucky vs #10 South Carolina
Game 3 #8 Auburn vs #9 Ole Miss
Game 4 #5 Missouri vs #12 Miss State
Game 5 #3 Texas A&M vs Arkansas/Alabama
Game 6 #2 LSU vs South Carolina/Kentucky
Game 7 #1 Vandy vs Auburn/Ole Miss
Game 8 #4 Florida vs Missouri/Miss State
With any luck, the Tigers will stay hot and continue to improve their seeding this weekend against the Gamecocks.