Basketball coverage is slim pickings this time of year, but a whole new season of college baseball starts tomorrow with the Southeastern Conference tournament. Kentucky did themselves no favors over the weekend, being swept for the first time this season to Mississippi State — a formidable foe, but a series they should have taken. The potential was there for the Cats to nab the No. 1 seed in the ten-team tournament, but instead dropped all the way to a four-seed. They will play the nine-seed Ole Miss tomorrow in game one, bright and early at 9:30 in the morning. With a win over the Rebels, it will jump them ahead to a Thursday showdown, most likely with LSU. You can see these games on Fox Sports South.
The bracket set-up is a little funky. The first-round game opposite Kentucky is six-seed Arkansas and seven-seed Mississippi State. The lowest seed to win in this four-team set will advance to play a Wednesday game against LSU. The two losers will square off in an elimination game. The highest seed to advance won’t play until Thursday against the winner of the LSU and low-seed winner game. You can see the full bracket here.
The Tigers are certainly a team to worry about, but this bracket sets up nicely for Kentucky to make a run. South Carolina, Florida and Vanderbilt are all on the bottom half of the bracket, which are several of Kentucky’s biggest threats at a title. All but one will eliminate themselves.
Nothing is easy in the SEC, but if everything goes according to play Kentucky will see LSU on Thursday; a win would be huge to stay on top of the double-elimination bracket. It would put them just one win away from the Championship game. If the Cats can win four straight games they will be SEC Tournament Champions for the first time in school history, and that doesn’t sound too crazy when you consider, outside of their final series slip-up, the Cats have beaten all of these teams — in some cases pulled off a three-game sweep.
A last couple tidbits of baseball news: Head coach Gary Henderson was named SEC Coach of the Year. It is a well-deserved honor after leading Kentucky to a school-record number of wins. The expectations for this team were near rock bottom, and he steered this season to make it a memorable one. He had a lot of help from freshman sensation Austin Cousino, as well. He was named SEC Freshman of the Year for his work in leading the Cats in nearly every offensive category.