Monday, May 13, 2013

No Baker's Dozen: Will MU Make the Tourney Cut?

The Tigers (8-19, ..296) are in 12th place right now, ahead of #13 Tennessee (7-18, .280) and #14 Georgia (5-19, .208). Only the top 12 teams, regardless of division, make the SEC Tournament next week.

Mizzou's "magic number" is 3. With 3 SEC games left for each team, any combination of MU wins and/or UT losses equaling 3 or more clinches the #12 spot for the Tigers.

The tie breaking rules (UT beat MU earlier this year) won't come into play because UT has 2 fewer games under its belt due to cancellations, and so there can be no statistical tie. The SEC Tournament Seeding rules clearly state the seedings are based on winning percentage, not on number of wins or number of losses or number of games behind.
The two division champions shall be automatically seeded number one and number two based on winning percentage in Conference competition. The remaining teams shall be seeded numbers three through 10 based on winning percentage without regard to division.
MU plays this coming weekend vs. Kentucky. UK started the season well, but have struggled in the last several weeks, posting a 4-14 record in their last 6 SEC series. Part of that stretch was going 0-3 each against SEC big-boys LSU,South Carolina and Vanderbilt. But it also included 1-2 against Tennessee.

NOTE: The Kentucky series is scheduled for Thursday/Friday/Saturday, not Friday through Sunday. Note also, though, that the forecast is calling for ran and thunderstorms Thursday and into Friday, so the chance of a Saturday double-header exists. I have no doubt both teams are very eager to get all three games in, since both need these games for their seeding and overall W-L records.

Tennessee plays at home this weekend against Texas A&M, which has a similar record to Kentucky, with similar mixed results.

Based on the records of both MU and UT and their weekend opponents as well, it’s going to come down to which team can manage to avoid shooting itself in the foot and which can focus and grit it out enough to grab the brass ring. Well, the #12 brass ring.

What does the SEC Baseball Tournament field look like with 1 weekend remaining in regular season? (al.com)
Below is a look at the SEC Tournament seeding and first two days of competition if the regular season ended today.

SEC Tournament seeding (May 12)
1. Vanderbilt, 24-2
2. LSU, 21-6
3. Arkansas, 17-9
4. South Carolina, 16-10
5. Ole Miss, 14-13*
6. Mississippi State, 14-13*
7. Alabama, 13-13
8. Florida, 13-14
9. Texas A&M, 11-15
10. Auburn, 11-16
11. Kentucky, 10-17
12. Missouri, 8-19
----
13. Tennessee, 7-18
14. Georgia, 5-19

Note: Ole Miss owns a 2-1 record against MSU in conference games.

May 21 (single elimination)
Game 1: No. 6 Mississippi State vs. No. 11 Kentucky, 9:30 a.m., FSN
Game 2: No. 7 Alabama vs. No. 10 Auburn, TBD, FSN
Game 3: No. 8 Florida vs. No. 9 Texas A&M, 4:30 p.m., CSS
Game 4: No. 5 Ole Miss vs. No. 12 Missouri, TBD, CSS
Vanderbilt, You Had Me At 'I'll Be Back' (College Baseball Today)
Dishonorable Mentions: - Kentucky.

I’m not anti-Kentucky, know that from the start here. In fact, head coach Gary Henderson is one of the nicest dudes I’ve dealt with in all my years of covering college baseball. Hell, I’ve got a “Kentucky baseball” magnet on my refrigerator at home… I ain’t lyin’ to ya’. But after looking at their body of work, including this weekend’s sweep at the hands of Vanderbilt, I can’t see how this team deserves to be in the at-large discussion for an NCAA tournament bid. They’re RPI coming into today was No. 29, but just like Maryland in the ACC at No. 26, there’s no way these dudes should be given much credence despite what that whack-B.S. RPI formula says. A poster child for a lackluster big money conference team getting helped out huge by the overall top-heavy state of their league.

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