Mississippi State and LSU are set to play their series finale this afternoon at Dudy Noble Field, and the scenarios for the Bulldogs being in our out of the SEC Tournament are still varied and somewhat complicated.
MSU (34-20, 14-15 SEC) can make things simple by winning. That guarantees a spot in the tourney, and then it just becomes a matter of seeding. If MSU loses, that raises whole new possibilities.
After going through the scenarios and consulting with math whiz Matthew Stevens, here's what I've figured out about how MSU misses the tournament – and remember, this involves MSU losing today.
• Arkansas and Ole Miss split their doubleheader, South Carolina beats Alabama to win the East and becomes the No. 1 seed. Arkansas just won Game 1 today.
• Arkansas and Ole Miss split, Vanderbilt wins the East, and Auburn does not win the West. I could try to explain it, but let's just say that as with the first scenario, it involves Ole Miss' series win against South Carolina three weeks ago.
How can State win the West and get the No. 2 tournament seed, you ask? First, win today. Beyond that, I've got a handful of possibilities worked out (all of them, I believe). To win the West outright, Alabama and Auburn would have to lose, and Ole Miss would have to beat Arkansas just once.
Another couple of ways to get the No. 2 seed: A three-way tie at 15-15 with Arkansas and Auburn; a four-way tie at 15-15 with Alabama, Auburn and Ole Miss.
If there's a two-way tie with Auburn at 15-15, MSU wins that tie-breaker on head-to-head. Same with Ole Miss.
And check this craziness: If there is a five-way tie for first with Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn MSU and Ole Miss, then the Razorbacks would get left out. The seeding in that case would be Alabama No. 2, MSU No. 6, Auburn No. 7, Ole Miss No. 8.
If MSU does not earn the No. 2 seed, then it will be seeded anywhere from sixth to eighth.
I could go a lot deeper into this, but I don't wanna increase the odds of my head exploding (currently 2/1), plus the game's about to start.