Texas A&M Aggies players hold up the SEC sign after winning the 2013 SEC tournament championship over the Kentucky Wildcats at The Arena at Gwinnett Center. Texas A&M defeated Kentucky 75-67. (Photo: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports)
It took deciphering a few tiebreakers, one of them a five-way deadlock, before the Southeastern Conference Women's Basketball Tournament brackets could be released Sunday night.
The five-day showcase, held this week at the Arena at Gwinnett Center, had to wait for Sunday's games to finish before finalizing the brackets. But even those results didn't clear up a few things.
Two tiebreakers were simple because Tennessee defeated Texas A&M head-to-head to earn the No. 2 seed and Arkansas defeated Missouri head-to-head for the No. 12 seed. The other tiebreaker wasn't quite as easy.
Five teams tied for the sixth seed — Auburn, Alabama, Vanderbilt, Georgia and LSU — and the resolution process began with winning percentage among the tied teams.
Auburn took the No. 6 seed, then the process started over without factoring in the Tigers. That gave Alabama the No. 7 seed, followed by Vanderbilt at No. 8, Georgia at No. 9 and LSU at No. 10.
The Bulldogs, playing just down the road from Athens, play their tourney opener Thursday at noon vs. Vanderbilt. The winner will face top-seeded South Carolina at noon Friday.
"Our conference has never experienced a year like this one," UGA head coach Andy Landers said. "The competitiveness of our league is illustrated perfectly in the final standings. I doubt that anyone would have believed prior to the season that this type of finish was possible, but I suspect that everyone in our league believed that this could occur after about three weeks into conference play. It was upside down then."
The tournament begins Wednesday with a pair of games, beginning with Missouri vs. Mississippi State at 6 p.m. The nightcap will feature Arkansas vs. Ole Miss at approximately 8:30 p.m.
UGA kicks off Thursday's play at noon, followed by No. 5 seed Florida vs. the Missouri-Mississippi State winner at 2:30 p.m. The 6 p.m. game is between No. 7 seed Alabama and No. 10 LSU. The 8:30 p.m. game that night is Auburn vs. the Arkansas-Ole Miss winner.
The tourney's top four seeds — South Carolina, No. 2 Tennessee, No. 3 Texas A&M and No. 4 Kentucky — have a bye until Friday's games.
SportSouth will televise the tournament's early rounds, while ESPNU will air Saturday's semifinals, which are scheduled for noon and 2:30 p.m. The championship game is on ESPN Sunday at 3:30 p.m.
The Arena at Gwinnett Center is hosting the tourney for the second straight year and fourth time overall (it also was held in Duluth in 2007 and 2010).