SEC Insider: Few conference tourney spots up for grabs

Several SEC tournament spots have been decided heading into the final weekend of the regular season.

In the East, the top four seeds are set for the tournament, which will begin Thursday in Nashville.

Kentucky (28-2, 13-2) has clinched the division and will be the top seed, and Vanderbilt (23-6, 12-3) is No. 2. Both have earned first-round byes.

Tennessee (22-7, 10-5) is No. 3, and Florida (20-10, 9-6) is fourth. Only the fifth and sixth seeds, which come down to South Carolina and Georgia, are undecided. The Gamecocks (14-15, 5-10) end the regular season at Vanderbilt, and the Bulldogs (13-15, 5-10) are at LSU.

The West is certainly unsettled.

Mississippi State (21-9, 9-6) has won the division and will be the top seed for the tournament, and LSU (10-19, 1-14) is sixth. Everything else will be decided after Saturday's games.

Ole Miss (20-9, 8-7) and Arkansas (14-6, 7-8) will meet at 4 p.m. in a battle for the second seed, which comes with a first-round bye and the right to play the winner of the Tennessee/LSU game.

It gets more complicated for the Razorbacks.

If they lose and Auburn (15-15, 6-9) wins at Alabama (15-14, 5-10), they would fall to fourth, which would mean a possible second-round game against Kentucky.

If that happens, Auburn would be third, Arkansas fourth and Alabama fifth. If Alabama knocks off Auburn, the Crimson Tide would be fourth and Auburn fifth.

No slowing down

There doesn't seem to be an end to Tay Waller's hot streak.

He had 22 points on Wednesday to become the first Auburn player to score 20 or more points in four consecutive SEC games since Wesley Person did it in six straight in 1994.

Waller, who leads the SEC with 3.5 3-pointers a game and is second in shooting behind the arc (42.6 percent), is averaging 26.5 points a game in that stretch. His overall average has risen from 11.5 points on Jan. 28 to 15.7 heading into Saturday's regular-season finale against Alabama.

"He's as hot as anybody in the country. It's incredible," Auburn coach Jeff Lebo said. "It seems like everything he can get off is going in."

Falling apart

South Carolina and Devan Downey were the nation's darlings when the Gamecocks upset Kentucky on Jan. 26. They've gone 2-7 since then and have lost six consecutive games. Downey still leads the SEC in scoring at 22.5 points a game.

Sweet 16 roll

The SEC has had at least one team reach the Sweet 16 in 19 of the past 20 years. Eleven of the conference’s 12 teams have advanced that far since 1996, with only South Carolina missing out.

On the ball

Kentucky's DeMarcus Cousins and Mississippi State's Jarvis Varnado are the only two players averaging a double-double against SEC teams. Cousins is averaging 16.3 points and 10.6 rebounds, and Varnado is averaging 12.8 points and 10.7 rebounds.

Murphy Holloway has been a force on the boards the past three games for Ole Miss. He had an SEC season high of 20 rebounds -- the most by an Ole Miss player since 1975 and the 10th-best total in SEC history -- against Auburn and followed that with games of seven and nine rebounds. He's also averaged 14.3 points in that stretch.

Vanderbilt has had no problem getting to the foul line and making free throws the past six games. The Commodores have attempted 207 free throws -- 34.5 a game -- and have made 167 of them, an 80.7 percent conversion rate. For the season, Vandy leads the league at 72.3 percent.

Must-see TV

The regular season ends with what should be two excellent games. No. 16 Tennessee is at Mississippi State at 6 p.m. Saturday (ESPN), and Florida plays at No. 3 Kentucky at noon Sunday (CBS).