South Carolina took two of three from Vanderbilt, and the Gamecocks got a little help to secure a Top Four seed for this week’s baseball tournament in Hoover. Under the current format 12 teams make the tournament. The eight lowest play a single elimination play-in game on Tuesday, and then a modified, double elimination tournament begins.
South Carolina’s fourth place finish gives them a bye into the double elimination round. Late on Wednesday night they will play the winner of the Mississippi State – Georgia game.
The team’s goal, of course, will be to win the tournament, and failing that as many games as possible. Another goal is to secure a national seed. To do that Carolina needs to win, but a little help wouldn’t hurt either. Here’s who USC should be pulling for:
Mississippi State USC would prefer to play the Bulldogs from Starkville instead of the Bulldogs from Athens. That’s not because UGa took two of three from Carolina. It’s because of RPI, a major factor in determining national seeds.
The NCAA’s official RPI came out this morning, and South Carolina is #8. Mississippi State is #30, and Georgia is #55. Playing (and beating) Mississippi State would be better for Carolina’s resume
Tennessee The Volunteers play Vanderbilt in one of Tuesday’s play-in games. The Commodores are currently #6 in the RPI and could be a national seed themselves. If the committee is looking to give the SEC 2 slots (as many think they will) then Vanderbilt and USC will be competing for one of those slots. Although USC’s win on the road should go a long way to settling that score, an early Vandy exit would help as well.
Not Ole Miss The Rebels are in good shape to get a national seed, and if they are awarded one, it might be at USC’s expense. Like Vanderbilt, Ole Miss has a series loss to USC, but they are very much alive in the national seed race and could take Carolina’s spot.
South Carolina will be the last team to play on Wednesday night in a game that will start around 8:30 or so. The game will be on CSS and ESPN3. If the Gamecocks lose, they’ll have to turn around for a midday game on Thursday on SportSouth/ESPN3. Should the Gamecocks win, they’ll play in the late on Thursday on CSS/ESPN3.