I got a text message from John Cohen on Saturday, in which he pointed out a very notable stat that, quite honestly, hadn’t crossed my mind. But it’s a good one.
Four SEC teams went undefeated versus non-SEC foes during this current NCAA baseball tournament: Florida, South Carolina, Vanderbilt and … Mississippi State.
The Bulldogs, of course, swept through the Atlanta Regional (Southern Miss, Austin Peay and Georgia Tech) to draw Florida in the Super Regional. The Gators pulled it out in three games, rallying late in the finale to advance to the College World Series.
And now, the team MSU had on the ropes is playing for a national title starting tonight. Florida beat Vanderbilt in the semifinals for the right to face South Carolina in a best-of-three series that begins at 7 p.m. on ESPN (and ESPN3.com).
UF, South Carolina and Vandy were the three SEC teams to reach Omaha and were a combined 6-0 against non-SEC teams at TD Ameritrade Park. Vandy’s only two losses came against Florida. On the postseason as a whole, those three teams plus MSU were a combined 22-0 against non-conference opponents. Talk about your domination. (Jon Solomon writes about it, so click that link at left.)
If you’re an MSU fan, this has to make you feel good about the direction of the program, which is probably what Cohen was getting at with his text message. The Bulldogs went 4-9 against Florida, South Carolina and Vanderbilt this season, and that’s a pretty good record to have against arguably the top three teams in the country.
It makes you think MSU is on the verge of rejoining college baseball’s elite class. It’s got a foot in the door, that’s for sure.