The SEC baseball tournament starts this Tuesday at Regions Park in Hoover, AL, and SBNation Houston has all of the information you'll need before first pitch.
Click here for a viewable bracket of the 2012 SEC Baseball Tournament
This is the first year of a ten-team field in anticipation of the addition of Texas A&M and MIssouri next season. As a result, the tournament will start on Tuesday instead of the Wednesday as in years past. Tennessee and Alabama shan't be attending, as they went a combined 17-43 in SEC play.
Tell Me About This New Bracket.
Other than the Tuesday start, you'll notice that division winners LSU and South Carolina have a bye on Tuesday. The winners of Game 6 and Game 8 on Thursday won't play again until Saturday. That means if LSU were to go into the championship undefeated, they would only have to play four games, which while tough is still much easier on the bullpen than playing five.If LSU loses on Wednesday, though, they'll have to win twice on Thursday in order to get back into the winner's bracket.
What Teams Have Been Playing Well? Who Is Limping Into The Tournament?
After a bad first half of conference play, Vanderbilt has been, frankly, kicking everyone's ass. They have won series against a then-top five Kentucky, LSU, and swept a ranked Ole Miss team in the last weekend of the regular season. They are 8-2 over their last ten games and will be very dangerous on the South Carolina side of the bracket.
LSU won an insanely huge series at South Carolina this past weekend to win the regular season championship, and Mississippi State travels to Hoover fresh off a sweep of Kentucky behind a starting rotation that has been treating home plate like sniper target practice over the last few weeks.
Despite a great season, Kentucky needs to prove themselves after getting swept last weekend and blowing a shot at a conference title. Ole Miss also got swept and has been, like most of the rest of the field, incredibly inconsistent over the course of the season.
How Will The Tournament Affect NCAA Tournament Bids?
LSU and South Carolina are all but guaranteed to be national seeds at this point. Kentucky is on the bubble, and will probably host but not be a top-eight seed. Florida and Arkansas will also likely host, and everyone else will be a two or three seed.
Venue, Game Times, TV, etc
Regions Park in Hoover has been hosting the SEC Tournament for fifteen years. It's in the middle of the suburbs, and the traffic sucks. Not a great venue. Games are scheduled for 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. for tv, but rarely do any games start on time. SportsSouth and CSS will split coverage Tue-Sat and ESPN2 will broadcast the championship on Sunday. Buy tickets here. Drink beer at The J Clyde and Good People Brewing in Birmingham.