The 2019 SEC Tournament is only 23 days away, and it's never too early to start projecting the field.
In fact, the conference's regular season is approaching crunch time as each team has six conference showdowns remaining.
The upper echelon of the SEC's seeding will run through Tennessee (11-1) during this final stretch. The Vols' remaining schedule is a buzzsaw, including a road matchup with 11-1 LSU this Saturday which, if both teams win their respective midweek games, will put the winner in the driver's seat for the No. 1 seed and the SEC regular season title.
Kentucky (10-2) is fresh off an emphatic victory over Tennessee over the weekend in Lexington. The win pushed John Calipari's record against AP No. 1 teams to 5-4 during his tenure with the Wildcats.
However, UK's pair of losses to Alabama and LSU have it on the outside looking in at a possible SEC regular season championship. Still, the Wildcats have a chance to sweep Tennessee this season with a showdown in Knoxville set for the second-to-last Saturday of the regular season.
Besides that trio at the top, it seems like the middle tier of the conference will be playing for seeding through these final few weeks. With a pair of home matchups against Kentucky and Tennessee coming, Ole Miss has an excellent shot to maintain its current 4-seed in the conference and earn a two-day bye period in the tournament.
The 5 and 6 seeds are desirable, as well, as those squads get matched up with the winner of the 12 vs. 13-seed and 11 vs. 14-seed play-in games, respectively.
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Auburn (6-6) is currently the 7-seed, but the Tigers have three games remaining against teams higher than them in the standings (at Kentucky, vs. Miss State, vs. Tennessee). Although Auburn's remaining isn't a cake walk, unless it completely melts down and finishes below .500 in the conference, it should remain an NCAA Tournament lock.
All this will make more sense with a bracket. So, here's how the conference would match up against itself if the tournament inside Bridgestone Arena in Nashville began today.
FIRST ROUND | Wednesday, March 13
Game 1: No. 12 seed Texas A&M vs. No. 13 seed Georgia
Game 2: No. 11 seed Missouri vs. No. 14 seed Vanderbilt
SECOND ROUND | Thursday, March 14
Game 3: No. 9 seed Florida vs. No. 8 seed Alabama
Game 4: No. 5 seed South Carolina vs. Game 1 winner
Game 5: No. 7 seed Auburn vs. No. 10 seed Arkansas
Game 6: No. 6 seed Mississippi State vs. Game 2 winner
QUARTERFINALS | Friday, March 15
Game 7: No. 1 seed Tennessee vs. Game 3 winner
Game 8: No. 4 seed Ole Miss vs. Game 4 winner
Game 9: No. 2 seed LSU vs. Game 5 winner
Game 10: No. 3 seed Kentucky vs. Game 6 winner
SEMIFINALS | Saturday, March 16
Game 11: Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner
Game 12: Game 9 winner vs. Game 10 winner
CHAMPIONSHIP | Sunday, March 17
Game 13: Game 11 winner vs. Game 12 winner
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