Following Thursday’s exit from the SEC Tournament, Mississippi State can only get back to work and wait for word of an NCAA Regional bid on Monday. The 64-team field – which includes 34 at-large bids – will be announced live on ESPN at 11:30 a.m.
MSU shouldn’t have too much to worry about, even though its RPI has slipped to 31 as of this morning, according to BoydsWorld.com. That’s still plenty high enough to warrant a bid, and a 34-23 record (14-16 in the SEC) shouldn’t give selection committee members much pause.
Also worth considering is that Auburn, at 29-29 after being eliminated by Georgia yesterday, cannnot qualify for an NCAA berth, because a team must be at least one game over .500. Speaking of Georgia, it’s also 29-29 and is very much in danger of also being left out. Certainly the absence of one or both of those teams might not directly benefit MSU – more than likely, it opens the door for bubble teams – but it doesn’t hurt.
The guys at SEBaseball.com, who have been offering regular regional projections, have MSU as No. 7 in the SEC pecking order (as of yesterday), just behind LSU and just ahead of Ole Miss, which could benefit from Auburn (and possibly Georgia) not qualifying.
The latest projection from SEBaseball.com – posted today – has MSU in Hattiesburg as a No. 3 seed.
Making the NCAA field would be a huge step for the program, and a nice parting gift for the seniors who’ve suffered through so much losing.
“Hopefully they’ll look at (Wednesday’s) game, and we were one play away from winning that game by a few runs,” senior Jarrod Parks said of the 7-5 loss to Florida. “We played Arkansas good twice at their place; I still think we’re just as good as them. We’re playing in the best conference in the country.”