Matt Connolly

NCAA Tournament: The case for and against South Carolina

Holbrook: 'We could win a regional or super regional in a heartbeat'

South Carolina baseball Chad Holbrook is optimistic about the Gamecocks' NCAA tournament chances.
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South Carolina baseball Chad Holbrook is optimistic about the Gamecocks' NCAA tournament chances.

The NCAA Baseball Tournament selection show is noon Monday on ESPN2.

3 reasons South Carolina gets in

1. The Gamecocks have an RPI of 31, which is seventh-best in the SEC, and have the No. 7 strength of schedule in the nation. Carolina also has 11 top 50 RPI wins and 22 top 100 RPI wins. Those numbers are tied for 21st-best and 14th-best in the country.

2. USC finished the season strong with an impressive performance in the SEC tournament, knocking off RPI No. 26 Vanderbilt, No. 49 Missouri and No. 10 Kentucky, with the two losses coming to the Wildcats and No. 6 LSU.

3. South Carolina has been battling injuries all season. Closer Tyler Johnson missed five weekend series and took a while to get going once he was back. Ace Clarke Schmidt made five SEC starts before leaving in his fifth outing and being lost for the season. And position players TJ Hopkins, Chris Cullen and Madison Stokes also missed significant time.

3 reasons South Carolina is left out

1. USC dropped its final eight regular season series and its only series wins are over Tennessee and Alabama, the two worst teams in the SEC.

2. The Gamecocks finished four games under .500 in the SEC in the regular season and were seeded 11th for the SEC tournament after winning only 13 conference games.

3. South Carolina’s best series win is over No. 62 in the RPI Tennessee. USC’s only three top 100 series wins are over the Vols, No. 70 Michigan State and No. 99 Wright State.

South Carolina’s résumé

35-25 record (13-17 SEC regular season); 3-2 SEC tourney record; No. 31 RPI; 11-19 vs. top 50; 22-23 vs. top 100

Past SEC teams with similar résumés that got in during past 10 years

▪  Auburn, 2015: 35-24 (13-17); 1-2 SEC tourney record; No. 22 RPI; 12-18 vs. top 50; 24-22 vs. top 100

▪  Ole Miss, 2015: 30-26 (15-14); 0-1 SEC tourney record; No. 31 RPI; 13-13 vs. top 50; 26-25 vs. top 100

▪  Texas A&M, 2014: 33-24 (14-16); 0-1 SEC tourney record; No. 39 RPI; 15-15 vs. top 50; 21-23 vs. top 100

▪  Texas A&M, 2013: 32-27 (13-16); 2-2 SEC tourney record; No. 34 RPI; 10-21 vs. top 50; 22-26 vs. top 100

▪  Florida, 2013: 29-28 (14-16); 0-1 SEC tourney record; No. 36 RPI; 14-18 vs. top 50; 24-28 vs. top 100

▪  Ole Miss, 2012: 35-24 (14-16); 1-2 SEC tourney record; No. 26 RPI; 14-15 vs. top 50; 24-23 vs. top 100

▪  Mississippi St., 2011: 34-23 (14-16); 0-2 SEC tourney record; No. 30 RPI; 13-18 vs. top 50; 26-21 vs. top 100

▪  Alabama, 2011: 33-26 (14-16); 1-2 SEC tourney record; No. 35 RPI; 13-20 vs. top 50; 18-26 vs. top 100

▪  Vanderbilt, 2009: 34-25 (12-17); 3-1 SEC tourney record; No. 34 RPI; 15-16 vs. top 50; 19-21 vs. top 100

Past SEC teams with similar résumés that were left out

▪  Alabama, 2015: 32-28 (12-18); 2-2 SEC tourney record; No. 44 RPI; 10-21 vs. RPI top 50; 23-28 vs. RPI top 100

▪  Auburn, 2013: 33-23 (13-17); 0-1 SEC tourney record; No. 42 RPI; 11-16 vs. RPI top 50; 22-22 vs. RPI top 100

▪  LSU, 2011: 36-20 (13-17); did not make conference tourney; No. 25 RPI; 11-17 vs. RPI top 50; 27-18 vs. RPI top 100

▪  Auburn, 2011: 29-29 (14-16); 0-2 SEC tourney record; No. 42 RPI; 13-20 vs. RPI top 50; 25-28 vs. RPI top 100

▪  Kentucky, 2010: 31-25 (13-17); did not make SEC tourney; No. 33 RPI; 16-18 vs. RPI top 50; 23-23 vs. RPI top 100

Best RPI teams to not get selected at-large in past 10 years

▪  2016: North Carolina: 34-21 (13-17): did not make conference tourney; No. 19 RPI; 14-16 vs. RPI top 50; 24-19 vs. RPI top 100

▪  2015: North Carolina: 34-24 (13-16); 2-2 in conference tourney; No. 28 RPI; 9-15 vs. RPI top 50; 27-21 vs. RPI top 100

▪  2014: West Virginia: 28-26 (9-14); 1-2 in conference tourney; No. 40 RPI; 6-19 vs. RPI top 50; 20-23 vs. RPI top 100

▪  2013: Notre Dame: 34-24 (10-14); 3-1 in conference tourney; No. 33 RPI; 8-7 vs. RPI top 50; 22-15 vs. RPI top 100

▪  2012: Maryland: 32-24 (10-20); did not make conference tourney; No. 30 RPI; 12-18 vs. RPI top 50; 22-24 vs. RPI top 100

▪  2011: LSU: 36-20 (13-17); did not make conference tourney; No. 25 RPI; 11-17 vs. RPI top 50; 27-18 vs. RPI top 100

▪  2010: Kentucky: 31-25 (13-17); did not make conference tourney; No. 33 RPI; 16-18 vs. RPI top 50; 23-23 vs. RPI top 100

▪  2009: Auburn: 31-25 (8-17); did not make conference tourney; No. 33 RPI; 12-21 vs. RPI top 50; 19-23 vs. RPI top 100

▪  2008: Clemson: 30-25-1 (11-18-1); 1-2 in conference tourney; No. 26 RPI; 7-20 vs. RPI top 50; 23-27-1 vs. RPI top 100

▪  2007: Oklahoma: 34-24 (11-16); 2-1 in conference tourney; No. 23 RPI; 17-14 vs. RPI top 50; 28-22 vs. RPI top 100

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