UPDATE: Arkansas got a run in the eighth inning and two in the ninth in Thursday’s third game at the Southeastern Conference tournament to beat LSU 4-1.
As mentioned below, this is a big boost for Arkansas’ hopes of hosting an NCAA tournament Regional, and could put a dent in South Carolina’s hopes of hosting.
It’s hard to definitively say that Arkansas’ win Thursday will result in the Razorbacks hosting and USC not hosting. But Arkansas is now 2-0 in Hoover, Ala., where USC went 0-2 with losses to Mississippi State and Vanderbilt on Wednesday and Thursday.
Aaron Fitt of Baseball America said earlier Thursday that if Arkansas lost to LSU, USC would almost certainly host. The Gamecocks, who were swept by Arkansas in the regular season, still might host. But they certainly don’t want Arkansas to continue winning.
The upshot is: Because Arkansas beat LSU, nothing is set yet for the Gamecocks.
LSU was projected be the No. 3 national seed in the NCAA tournament, so this was a big win for the Razorbacks, who could face LSU again in Hoover — another chance to polish the resume. LSU will now play Alabama in Friday’s first of two games. The winner of that game will face Arkansas in Saturday’s first semifinal — a single elimination game. The Razorbacks are off Friday.
As mentioned in the rest of this entry, there are a bunch of variables for USC’s chances of hosting a Regional, including what Clemson does in the ACC tournament. The Tigers lost their tournament opener to North Carolina State and play Friday against North Carolina, which was projected entering this week as the No. 2 national seed in the NCAA tournament.
But the fact that USC went 0-2 in Hoover and Arkansas is now 2-0, with perhaps another game coming against LSU, does not bode well for the Gamecocks.
The Regional host sites will be announced Sunday night. The rest of the NCAA tournament field will be revealed at noon Monday on ESPNU.
Really, all USC needed to do to lock down Regional hosting rights was not go 0-2 in Hoover and not see Arkansas make a deep run there. Now, the former has happened and the Razorbacks look like a team capable of reaching Sunday’s final. Win on Saturday against the victor of Alabama-LSU, and the Razorbacks will play for the title — and the Gamecocks will have another reason to worry on Sunday evening.
Now, South Carolina waits – and possibly sweats.
The Gamecocks went 0-2 at the Southeastern Conference baseball tournament, courtesy of Thursday’s 4-3, 10-inning loss to Vanderbilt, the nation’s top-ranked team and the likely overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
USC will not receive a top eight national seed to the tournament, so they are not guaranteed of hosting a Super Regional, if they advance that far. Of course, they could still host a Super Regional if a national seed in their part of the bracket falls in its Regional. (More on that below.)
Entering the SEC tournament, USC was projected to host a Regional, despite going 1-2 at Mississippi State to close the regular season. That’s largely because Arkansas went 1-2 at Auburn in its regular season finale series.
Probably all USC needed to do to lock up Regional hosting was win one game in the SEC tournament. Certainly, a win Thursday over Vanderbilt would have done it.
But now, Arkansas already has a win over Mississippi at the conference tournament, and in a few minutes will play LSU. If Arkansas wins that game, it would be a quality victory for the Razorbacks’ resume because LSU is projected as the overall No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament. Even if Arkansas loses, it gets another game in Hoover, against Alabama on Friday.
Continue reading “USC goes 0-2 at SEC tournament. Examining where that leaves the Gamecocks entering NCAA tourney.” »