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Around The SEC: Baseball Weekend Preview - 5/16/13

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A look around the league, previewing the weekend in SEC Baseball

Team SEC Pct. Overall Pct. Home Away Neutral Streak
Vanderbilt 24 - 2 .923 46 - 6 .885 29-3 17-3 0-0 W13
South Carolina 16 - 10 .615 38 - 14 .731 28-6 10-6 0-2 W5
Florida 13 - 14 .481 28 - 25 .528 20-16 8-8 0-1 L1
Kentucky 10 - 17 .370 29 - 22 .569 19-11 7-10 3-1 W1
Missouri 8 - 19 .296 16 - 30 .348 11-12 5-17 0-1 L1
Tennessee 7 - 18 .280 21 - 28 .429 12-12 7-14 2-2 W1
Georgia 5 - 19 .208 19 - 31 .380 10-18 8-13 1-0 W1
LSU 21 - 6 .778 46 - 7 .868 32-3 13-4 1-0 W3
Arkansas 17 - 9 .654 34 - 17 .667 24-9 9-4 0-4 W2
Ole Miss 14 - 13 .519 35 - 18 .660 22-9 13-7 0-2 L2
Mississippi St. 14 - 13 .519 38 - 15 .717 28-6 8-9 2-0 W2
Alabama 13 - 13 .500 31 - 22 .585 22-9 9-11 0-2 W1
Texas A&M 11 - 15 .423 28 - 24 .538 22-10 4-12 1-2 W1
Auburn 11 - 16 .407 31 - 21 .596 20-11 9-10 2-0 L1

Arkansas (34-17, 17-9) @ Auburn (31-21, 11-16)

This is one of the more interesting series of the weekend because there is a lot on the line for both teams. A look at the Hogs' record, national ranking and conference standing indicate that they should be in great shape to host a Regional. However, their RPI is way down at #40, and that is not going to help them. They need to win the series this weekend and have a nice showing in Hoover to solidify things.

Arkansas has now won four SEC series in a row. Most notably, their bats came alive against Tennessee last weekend, erupting for 21 runs in their final two games. Their pitching continues to be excellent.

Auburn....oh Auburn. After clawing their way out of the SEC cellar and into contention for the NCAA Tournament, Auburn traveled to Florida last weekend and won the series from the Gators. But then they turn around and lose a mid-week game to Jacksonville State on Tuesday. Ouch. They definitely didn't need that.

With that said, a series win against Arkansas would put them at 13-17 in the conference and 33-22 overall and their already solid #35 RPI should only go up. Combine that with a decent showing in Hoover, and they have a chance to make the post-season. Lose the series this weekend, and I think they're done.
Prediction: Arkansas Wins 2 of 3

Alabama (31-22, 13-13) @ Vanderbilt (46-6, 24-2)

Alabama has been slowly sliding down the conference standings for the past several weeks. They did win a series against lowly Missouri last weekend, and that was much needed because they're traveling to Vanderbilt this week. If they get swept, which has to be considered likely, their resume will be awfully similar to Auburn's. They'll be 31-25 with a 13-16 conference record and a nearly identical RPI. I wouldn't say Alabama is a lock to make the Tournament right now.

What can you say about Vanderbilt? They're on cruise control and accomplishing some amazing things. They are a lock for a national seed and have already clinched the regular season SEC title before the last weekend. They swept Kentucky on the road last weekend in relatively easy fashion. I suspect they'll do the same to Alabama this weekend.
Prediction: Vanderbilt Sweeps

South Carolina (38-14, 16-10) @ Mississippi State (38-15, 14-13)

Just when Mississippi State seemed to get over the hump, they lose a series to Ole Miss and take a step back. They have a chance to turn things back around this weekend with the Gamecocks in town. Winning a series against the Cocks on the last weekend would do wonders for them. Currently, their RPI is excellent at #10 and they're right on the fence of being a host team. College Baseball Daily currently projects them to host while Perfect Game does not.

Meanwhile, South Carolina still has an outside chance a national seed, but it will probably take a lot at this point. They would need to win the series this weekend and have a very good showing in Hoover, probably making the final game or winning the tournament. But they could work themselves back into that discussion.
Prediction: South Carolina Wins 2 of 3

Texas A&M (28-24, 11-15) @ Tennessee (21-28, 7-18)

This may be the least intriguing series in the conference this weekend. Texas A&M probably lost any chance they had at making the NCAA Tournament when LSU won the rubber match last weekend. Even with a sweep this weekend, they would still need a really strong showing at the SEC Tournament just to be considered again. I was really impressed with A&M's Mikey Reynolds and Daniel Mengden. Both guys had really good weekends against LSU.

Tennessee surprisingly managed to steal a game against Arkansas last weekend. But by and large, they are playing really bad baseball right now.
Prediction: Texas A&M Wins 2 of 3

Florida (28-25, 13-14) @ Georgia (19-31, 5-19)

Florida really goofed last weekend by losing two of three at home against Auburn. After going on a nice run of playing good baseball and seemingly righting the ship, they have now lost five of their last six SEC games. Luckily, they get Georgia this weekend, who will almost certainly finish in the basement of the SEC standings this year.

The Gators seem comfortably in the NCAA Tournament, and they have no chance to host. Despite their mediocre record, their RPI is still excellent at #23 and they have the #1 strength of schedule in the country.

Georgia did beat Georgia Tech again this week by a score of 14-13. That means that in their last two games against Georgia Tech, the Dawgs have scored 31 combined runs. That's crazy because they are a really bad baseball team. It doesn't seem THAT long ago when Georgia was in the College World Series finals, does it? It's crazy how quickly things can change.
Prediction: Florida Sweeps

Kentucky (29-22, 10-17) @ Missouri (16-30, 8-19)

Kentucky has been a train wreck over the last month and a half. At one point, they were 6-3 in SEC play, ranked high, and feeling pretty good about themselves. They are just 4-14 since then, and that includes a sweep at the hands of Vanderbilt last weekend. They face a weak Missouri team this weekend, and they almost need to sweep as they find themselves squarely on the bubble. Even a sweep only gets them to 13-17 in the conference, and they may still need to do some work in Hoover to make it.

In their favor is a RPI of #29 and a strength of schedule of #6.

Missouri isn't playing for anything but pride, but even their pride has been crushed at this point.
Prediction: Kentucky Wins 2 of 3