Mississippi State got the weekend off to a great start by beating No. 4 Kentucky on Thursday, 3-1 (CLICK HERE). And what that means is we get to examine the SEC standings and assess where the Bulldogs stand in regards to the SEC Tournament and an NCAA regional bid.
Here are last night's other results:
• Arkansas 8, Tennessee 0
• Florida 6, Auburn 0
• Georgia 8, Alabama 4
• Vanderbilt 3, Ole Miss 0
• LSU at South Carolina, ppd. rain
Every one of those results impact the race for a good seed. Let's look at the updated standings now:
T1. Kentucky, 18-10
T1. South Carolina, 17-9
3. Florida, 17-11
4. Georgia, 14-13
5. Vanderbilt, 14-14
6. Tennessee, 8-20
1. LSU, 17-10
T2. Ole Miss, 14-14
T2. Arkansas, 14-14
T2. MSU, 14-14
5. Auburn, 12-16
6. Alabama, 7-21
So we have a four-way tie for sixth in the overall standings. As it stands now, the tie-break method to be employed here would be each of the four teams' record against the No. 1 tournament seed, which right now would be Kentucky – or South Carolina, if you go by winning percentage.
Without getting into the mind-bending tie-break details, I can tell you that MSU would be either the six or seven seed right now, and I think it's possible to clinch at least a six seed with a win today (dependent on other results, too). Two games remain, of course, so a lot of things could change, but that's where it is at the moment.
My boy Matt Stevens has been coaching me through this, so if I'm wrong on anything, it's his fault. … Yeah.
What about the NCAA tourney? Could MSU possibly host a regional with a sweep of Kentucky? The players sounded hopeful after last night's win that hosting might be in the cards.
"It's still in the picture as long as we take care of business here and make some noise in Hoover," pitcher Chris Stratton said.
Last night's win gave State a nice RPI boost. According to BoydsWorld.com, the Bulldogs are 38th in the RPI rankings. WarrenNolan.com has them at 36th. Last projection I saw had MSU as a No. 2 seed in the Eugene, Ore., regional. Perhaps a strong finish could indeed propel it to host status, but it's kind of a long shot.