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  1. #1

    A renewed call for "pool play" tournament baseball in the SEC

    Every year I have a mild gripe about the SEC baseball tournament, and I might was well go ahead and get it out of the way, and talk about my preference.

    The ACC uses pool play tournament baseball for its conference, and I think it is superior to the SEC. Yes, I enjoy (when Kentucky is in it), seeing UK play every day. It's fun. But for good teams, you're going to wear down some arms in a hurry. Or you have the really poor model where you have 8 teams play on day 1, with half of them going home immediately thereafter (as Kentucky did).

    Here's how the ACC does it with 12 teams (same number as the ACC).

    1. They have 4 pools of 3 teams each.
    2. Each pool has 3 games being played. Team "A" plays "B" and "C," and so on. So you definitely play 2 games. Every fan of every school in it knows that his team will play a minimum of two games.
    3. The winner of each pool plays in a single elimination Saturday and Sunday (i.e., 4 teams remain after pool play).

    Summary:
    a. 8 teams will play 2 games.
    b. 2 teams will play 3 games.
    c. 2 teams will play 4 games.

    That's it. 4 games maximum.

    In the SEC, a team can play 5 or 6 games, depending on if they come from the first day, if they lose a game, etc. That can really deplete a team and wear a team out right before NCAA regionals are concerned. Last year, South Carolina played Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday and would've played Sunday if their arms didn't wear out in Game # 5 (pounded 11-0).

    Now, what are the drawbacks to the ACC tournament?

    a) fewer games for the fans. Last year the SEC had 17 games. In the ACC, you will only have 14 games.
    b) a poor tiebreaking system out of pool play. This is the biggest. The way they do it is they seed everyone 1-12. The top 4 seeds get their own pool. If one team goes 2-0 in pool play, they advance to the semifinals; however, if all three teams go 1-1, the tiebreaker is the highest seed goes.

    To me, that's ok. The top 4 seeds deserve that. It's double elimination for them out of pool play; single elimination for everyone else. I'm ok with that.

    As someone who has sat for 17 hours before in a day watching games, I'd much rather watch each team play two games, and only 2 teams play 4 games, than watch teams go one-and-done, and other teams wear themselves out 5 or 6 times, and many play 3 or more.

    I just like it.

    AND there's certainty. Team "A" knows they will play on Day 1, at this time, and Day 2, at this time. If they prevail, they know they will play on Day 3, at this time, and Day 4 at this time.

    Whereas, after the elimination day in the SEC, you have a "we will either play THEN or we will play THEN" situation. Allows much better planning for the team and the pitching.

    Hey, it's fair--I'm not arguing that. I just think pool play is better for the teams and the fans.

  2. #2

    A renewed call for "pool play" tournament baseball in the SEC

    And just to get it out of the way, yes, it would suck if your team was not the top seed in the pool and lost their first game. You know they would be playing their last game next. But it's still something to play for, one more game, possible seeding issues in the NCAA tournament, Etc. I don't think it's too much to ask any team to have to win 2 games to make the semifinals of their conference tournament, and that to me is the bottom line.

  3. #3
    Unforgettable
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    Re: A renewed call for "pool play" tournament baseball in the SEC

    Another drawback is for fans. Fans donít want to drive long distances if there is but one game, particularly during the middle of the work week. It is a distinct advantage for teams like Aubie, Alabama, MissStake and Ole Miss who can make the drive in three hours or less and who also have large alumni support in Birmingham. Fans of the other schools typically wait to see if their team makes it to double elimination.

    The tournament duration needs to be shortened. 6days is too long. Birmingham has a unique opportunity to use both Regions Field and the Hoover Met to host the tournament. It might keep games from ending at 2 or 3 in the morning. Tournament could be played over 4days.
    Real Fan since 1958

  4. #4

    A renewed call for "pool play" tournament baseball in the SEC

    Good points, Mick.

  5. #5

    A renewed call for "pool play" tournament baseball in the SEC

    Although the ACC tournament stretches over the same six days, they play fewer games each day, which doesn't cause these absurdly late contests followed by breakfast baseball.

    The other thing it does is provide off days for a team. If you are going to insist on a sprawled out six day tournament, that's the way to do it. It is kind to the traveling fans (guaranteed two games minimum for your team), and to the team (maximum four games in six days, but only 2 teams play 4, only 2 teams play 3. Off days for rest of tired arms and recuperation.

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