ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia’s baseball team knows it has a spot in next week’s SEC tournament field, but the Bulldogs’ seeding in the 10-team event is far from settled.
Entering the final series of the regular season -- at Alabama (19-33, 7-20 SEC), which owns the league’s worst record -- Georgia (30-22, 13-13) is in the middle of a group of five teams all within a game of one another in the conference standings.
Ole Miss (34-19, 14-13) owns a half-game lead over Georgia for the No. 5 seed in the tournament, with Arkansas (36-17, 13-14), Vanderbilt (26-25, 13-14) and Mississippi State (31-21, 13-14) all tied just behind the Bulldogs in the standings. Auburn (29-24, 12-15) trails Georgia by just 1½ games and is the lowest seed in the tournament as of now.
Thus the Bulldogs can still reasonably expect to finish anywhere between fifth and 10th depending on how they fare between today and Saturday in Tuscaloosa, but seeding only matters so much in the double-elimination event. The No. 1 seed has won only twice in the 14 years since the SEC tournament has been staged in Hoover, Ala. Three No. 5 seeds, two No. 7 seeds and a No. 8 seed have also won the tournament in the same timeframe.
Georgia occupies the No. 6 spot entering the tournament -- the Bulldogs will open against seventh-seeded Arkansas if the standings hold -- which is something of a bad omen. A No. 6 seed has never won the tournament since it has been played in Hoover.
The Bulldogs could potentially improve their position with a successful weekend against Alabama, which clinched a winless (0-15) road record in league play last weekend by getting swept by Kentucky. The Crimson Tide is 7-5 in SEC play at home, however, while Georgia is 4-8 on the road.
Regardless, Alabama knows it cannot qualify for the league tournament -- nor can Tennessee, which trails Auburn for the last spot by four games with three to play -- so it can only play a spoiler role in damaging Georgia’s tourney seed.
Meanwhile, Bulldogs fans will keep an eye on the SEC scoreboard over the next few days as tournament seedings become clearer. This weekend’s series will determine division titles -- which carry first-round byes in the SEC tournament -- and solidify the tournament seedings.
Other series of particular interest to Georgia fans will be Ole Miss at Vanderbilt, Arkansas at Tennessee and Kentucky at Mississippi State.
Here is a breakdown of the overall league standings, listing each of the teams that have already qualified for the SEC tournament with one series remaining:
South Carolina 17-9
Ole Miss 14-13
Mississippi State 13-14
This week’s schedule (Thursday-Saturday):
Georgia at Alabama
Arkansas at Tennessee
Florida at Auburn
LSU at South Carolina
Kentucky at Mississippi State
Ole Miss at Vanderbilt
SEC Tournament bracket:
(Division champions receive top two seeds and first-round byes)
(Games played from Tuesday-Friday are double elimination with single elimination starting Saturday with Games 15 and 16)
Tuesday, May 22
Game 1: No. 4 seed vs. No. 9 seed
Game 2: No. 6 seed vs. No. 7 seed
Game 3: No. 3 seed vs. No. 10 seed
Game 4: No. 5 seed vs. No. 8 seed
Wednesday, May 23
Game 5: Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2
Game 6: No. 1 seed vs. Game 1-2 low seed winner
Game 7: Loser Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4
Game 8: No. 2 seed vs. Game 3-4 low seed winner
Thursday, May 24
Game 9: Loser Game 6 vs. Winner Game 5
Game 10: Game 1-2 top seed winner vs. Winner Game 6
Game 11: Loser Game 8 vs. Winner Game 7
Game 12: Game 3-4 top seed winner vs. Winner Game 8
Friday, May 25
Game 13: Loser Game 10 vs. Winner Game 9
Game 14: Loser Game 12 vs. Winner Game 11
Saturday, May 26
Game 15: Winner Game 10 vs. Winner Game 13
Game 16: Winner Game 12 vs. Winner Game 14
Sunday, May 27
Game 17: Winner Game 15 vs. Winner Game 16