It is that time of year again for college baseball fans. The conference tournaments can make you or break you, upsets occur, and good baseball is played. Teams will be playing for 64 spots just like the basketball tournament; however, those that get hot in a four/five day stretch can knock someone out that has won the conference regular season title. Of course, there are the teams that have already locked in bids regardless of what happens this week. Still up for grabs are those precious “National Seeds”, which guarantee a Super Regional host. Who will come out unscathed or smelling like roses?
SEC TOURNAMENT - Hoover, AL - Bracket Play (1-4-5-8 and 2-3-6-7)
Seeding: 1-Georgia, 2-LSU, 3-Florida, 4-Kentucky, 5-Alabama, 6-Vanderbilt, 7-South Carolina, 8-Mississippi
Last year's tournament champion, Vanderbilt, comes in to this year's tournament on a losing streak that saw them drop from the #3 seed to the #6 seed. There stock is down from a few weeks ago and could certainly use a victory or two. Georgia has never won the SEC Tournament since the conference reinstituted it in 1979. They have probably their best opportunity to do so; however, pitching has to be a concern after Trevor Holder left last Friday in the 2nd inning and the team gave up 37 runs in three games this past weekend.
Teams that are locks for the NCAA: Georgia, LSU, Florida, Kentucky
Teams that are kind of safe (a win wouldn't hurt) for the NCAA: Alabama and Vanderbilt
Both South Carolina and Mississippi need to win at least two to help their cause for the NCAA. Arkansas is sitting at home hoping that they did enough to get into the NCAAs. If Mississippi goes 0-2 in the tournament, they just might. My pick for SEC Champion: Kentucky
ACC TOURNAMENT - Jacksonville, FL - Pool Play (1-4-5-8 and 2-3-6-7)
Seeding: 1-Miami, FL, 2-Florida State, 3-North Carolina, 4-NC State, 5-Georgia Tech, 6-Virginia, 7-Wake Forest, 8-Clemson
Last week, the Tar Heels took two of three from the Hurricanes to grab the top spot in the Fab 15 this week. As has been the case over the last month or so, national seeding is on the line for the top three teams in the league. It is not whethere they will get one but which team will end up with which seed. I mentioned last week that the Tar Heels could face the Hurricanes again at the tournament. If they do meet it will be for the ACC Championship.
Teams that are locks for the NCAA: Miami, Florida State, North Carolina, NC State, Georgia Tech
Team that is kind of safe (a win wouldn't hurt) for the NCAA: Virginia
If Clemson or Wake Forest want to make it to the NCAAs, then winning their pool and the Championship is in order. They are both on life support and need to have a great tournament to make it. My pick for ACC Champion: North Carolina
CUSA TOURNAMENT - New Orleans, LA - Bracket Play (1-4-5-8 and 2-3-6-7)
Seeding: 1-Rice, 2-Southern Mississippi, 3-Tulane, 4-Houston, 5-East Carolina, 6-Marshall, 7-Central Florida, 8-UAB
Regional hosting possibilities exist in Bracket Two, with Southern Mississippi and Tulane looking to garner one of the host sites next weekend. If either make it to the championship game, they just might do it. Both teams are happy that they have to play Rice at most one time this weekend. This conference is top heavy and the top four seeds should make it to the semifinals.
Teams that are locks for the NCAA: Rice, Southern Mississippi, Tulane
Teams that are kind of safe (a win wouldn't hurt) for the NCAA: Houston and East Carolina
It appears that CUSA will get at least four bids with a possible fifth. This tournament should go to form but hey it is baseball. My pick for CUSA Champion: Rice
BIG XII TOURNAMENT - Oklahoma City, OK - Pool Play (1-4-5-8 and 2-3-6-7)
Seeding: 1-Texas A&M, 2-Oklahoma State, 3-Nebraska, 4-Missouri, 5-Texas, 6-Baylor, 7-Kansas State, 8-Oklahoma
The Aggies were on a roll until they went to Lincoln and dropped two of three. Last weekend, they were swept by rival Texas and have lost six in-a-row. Missouri was the favorite to win the conference and looked like it last weekend in sweeping Nebraska. There are some intriguing matchups in the pool play but for the most part one of the top five will win the title.
Teams that are locks for the NCAA: Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, Nebraska, Missouri, Texas
Teams that are kind of safe (a win wouldn't hurt) for the NCAA: None
Baylor started out the year very well but faded in league play. They could be the sleeper of the tournament, especially with the pool play format. My pick for Big XII Champion: Oklahoma State
Automatic Qualifiers Already
Ivy League: Columbia (22-25 overall)