The regular season has concluded, and the South Carolina baseball team is right where it needs to be to land a top eight national seed when NCAA tournament bids go out next Monday.
... The Gamecocks (42-14) climbed four spots to No. 8 in the NCAA’s official RPI rankings this week after a road series win against Vanderbilt. Those rankings play a key role when it comes to the teams being considered for the top eight national seeds, which ensures home games in NCAA play until the College World Series in Omaha. USC begins play in the SEC tournament Wednesday night.
... Baseball America projects this week that the Gamecocks are on the bubble for a national seed but now most likely in. Here’s what college baseball analyst Aaron Fitt wrote in his weekly stock report.
“The SEC also has a chance to land three national seeds, especially if Louisiana-Lafayette or Miami (Fla.) falters. Florida is the only lock in the SEC, but South Carolina and Ole Miss each have very strong cases, and Vanderbilt could get back into the mix (even after losing a home series against the Gamecocks this weekend) if it can make a deep run in Hoover.
“The Gamecocks are 8-7 against the top 25, while the Rebels are 5-7. South Carolina’s better high-end series wins (at Vandy, vs. Ole Miss, vs. Alabama) trump Mississippi’s one-game edge in the standings. The Rebels’ best series wins are at Kentucky, at Texas A&M, at Mississippi State and vs. Arkansas — all quality series wins, but no elite series wins. So we’ll go with South Carolina, but there isn’t a large gap between these teams, so how they perform in Hoover could play a significant role.”
... In Perfect Game’s NCAA projections this week, South Carolina is not listed as a national seed. But writer Kendall Rogers says the Gamecocks are likely battling Ole Miss for that eighth spot.
“As for the final national seed race between Ole Miss and South Carolina, to say it was an easy decision is very much an understatement. After all, South Carolina definitely has a compelling case. For starters, the Gamecocks won the season series against the Rebels, albeit at home in a very even series. Meanwhile, the Gamecocks have A) more wins against RPI Top 25 teams and B) a 15-9 record vs. RPI Top 50, as opposed to 14-11 mark for the Rebels. However, the Rebels have a better road mark and finished higher in the SEC standings, winning the SEC West Division and earning the No. 2 seed in this week's conference tournament. Whoever performs better in Hoover, Ala., likely gets a national seed. The other? It will need Indiana or ULL to slip up.”
Rogers predicts the Gamecocks to host a regional with Texas Tech, Georgia Tech and College of Charleston. In his view, the winner would face the winner of the Miami regional, with the Hurricanes hosting at the No. 6 national seed.