With the college baseball regular season winding down, it’s time to take a look at how the SEC and other top 25 teams are faring. At the time of this blog there are six teams remaining in the SEC tournament: Vanderbilt, Texas A&M, LSU, Arkansas, Alabama, and Florida.
Vanderbilt, Texas A&M, LSU, and Arkansas, are the four teams that are currently undefeated. Alabama and Florida may have a long road ahead in the tournament, but by no means are they out of it. Although… Alabama may have to win the SEC tournament to get a solid seed in the NCAA regional.
Alabama’s record coming into the tournament was 30-26 and were sitting in the 46th spot, according to ncaa.com, in the national rankings. After winning earlier today against Missouri they will be taking on the loser of Vanderbilt and Texas A&M out of the loser’s bracket.
The Arkansas Razorbacks came into the tournament with a 33-20 overall record. With two close games over Tennessee and Florida, the Razorbacks are riding the momentum wave. Of course, I may be partial to the Razorbacks since they were my sleeper pick at the beginning of the year to win the SEC tournament. They are another team that needs a strong finish for a high ranking in the NCAA regional.
Vanderbilt, Texas A&M, LSU, would love to win the SEC tournament, but it isn’t necessary for them since they are all ranked inside the national top 10. They are all almost guaranteed a high ranking in the upcoming regionals.
Now let me speak to some excellent teams that have made tremendous strides throughout the year. Dallas Baptist surprised many this year with their play. This man however, was not surprised. I’ve had the privilege to coach alongside with some of their staff, as well as coach a number of their players in collegiate summer leagues. Each individual associated with this club has always been first class. I wish nothing but the best for Dallas Baptist as they head into their conference tournament and regional play.
UCLA is another team that has continued their dominance this year. Their pitching staff has been downright lights out, posting a team ERA of 2.09. In college baseball, that is outrageous. Probably a more telling stat; and one that is better determined when looking at a quality pitching staff, is their formidable 1.03 WHIP ratio.
Illinois has been a big surprise to me as well. You don’t ordinarily see northern teams have much success as of late, but with forty five regular season wins I imagine they would disagree. I will keep an eye on the big ten tournament to see how they finish. But they will no doubt make the regional.
I would like to focus on these teams as well: Missouri State, TCU, Miami, UC Santa Barbara, and Louisville. There are plenty more teams to watch, but these teams are the ones I will be watching outside of the SEC.