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  • Kentucky Baseball this Week: May 20-26

    SEC Baseball Tournament Week, one of my favorite weeks of the year. Going over to visit the Hoover Met this afternoon doing my annual pre-game just getting a good feel for what's there, not that I haven't been there hundreds of times before.

    Although the Tournament begins tomorrow, #2 Kentucky (but #3 seed in the tournament) received a bye to the Wednesday double elimination portion of the tournament and will commence at 9:30 AM CT/10:30 AM ET and will face the winner of #11 Georgia (#6 seed) and UR LSU (#11 seed).

    If Kentucky wins that game, they will play Thursday at 4:30 PM CT/5:30 PM ET vs the winner of Arkansas/(Alabama/South Carolina).
    If Kentucky loses that game, they will play Thursday at 9:30 AM CT/10:30 AM ET vs the loser of Arkansas/(Alabama/South Carolina).

    Speaking of rankings, D1Baseball rankings are out, and Kentucky retains its hold on the #2 national ranking behind #1 Tennessee. SEC:

    1. Tennessee (46-10)
    2. Kentucky (39-12)
    4. Texas A&M (44-11)
    5. Arkansas (43-12)
    11. Georgia (39-14)
    15. Mississippi State (36-19)

    No other SEC teams are ranked, as South Carolina dropping 3 games to Tennessee this past weekend move them out of the rankings.

    I have not seen any new tournament projections, but we probably need to wait until around Thursday to start to have a better idea anyway. Last week D1Baseball projected Kentucky as the overall #1 National seed. I do not think that is going to be the case. When Texas A&M and Arkansas played each other this weekend, that boosted their RPI's, as both were top 3 right behind Kentucky. As such, Texas A&M is the new #1 RPI team in the country, Arkansas #2 and Kentucky #3. Tennessee is #5 and Georgia #6 to round out the 5 SEC teams in the top 6 in the country. I would love for Kentucky to get the overall # 2 national seed anyway, but be thrilled with a top 5 national seed, period.

    As far as SEC teams making the NCAA tournament, this is a very unusual year. Usually you look for a 15-15 SEC record as a lock to the NCAA tournament, with 14 wins being okay with a good RPI, but not guaranteed.

    With all of the wins pretty much focused on the top 4 teams this year in the SEC, it appears that 13 wins may be the litmus test this season. It looks like the best chances for SEC teams in the NCAA tournament are as follows:

    Locks/National Seeds: Tennessee, Kentucky, Texas A&M, Arkansas
    Lock/possible national seed, lock regional host: Georgia
    Lock/regional host: Mississippi State

    That's 6. You know the SEC is going to get more than those six teams. Here are the others:

    7. Alabama (33-21, 13-17), #18 RPI
    8. South Carolina (33-21, 13-17), #19 RPI
    9. Florida (28-26, 13-17), #24 RPI
    10. Vanderbilt (35-20, 13-17), #27 RPI
    11. LSU (36-20, 13-17), #30 RPI

    I think those are all in. Vanderbilt had to win one game against Kentucky and did; LSU probably had to sweep Ole Miss this past weekend and did. There's an argument that anyone of those teams might need to win their first game in Hoover tomorrow, but according to D1Baseball a couple of weeks ago, each of these teams seems to have hit the minimum requirement they felt like they needed to have. Florida had to finish above .500, and even with a loss Tuesday, would still manage to do that. It's still pretty close, however, for all of the 13-win SEC teams, particularly Florida, Vandy and LSU, and they'll be pulling out all stops to at least win Tuesday.

    Teams that appear to be out include Ole Miss (27-28, 11-19), who probably could have clinched a NCAA Tournament bid if they had won the series against LSU. Losing all three games just destroyed their chances, however, barring some miraculous run this weekend the SEC Tournament. You can rest assured that they will hold nothing back this week in a (likely futile) effort to preserve their season.

    Also out: Auburn 27-26 (8-22), Missouri (23-32, 9-21). Auburn did their best to destroy Alabama's chances, winning 2-of-3 this past week against their cross-state rivals.
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