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Kentucky Wildcats Baseball: 2015 SEC Baseball Tournament Preview

The Wildcats are back in Hoover, AL to make another run in the SEC Tournament. Adding a couple of wins to the resume would help solidify a College World Series bid and that begins with their single-elimination game against Auburn on Tuesday at 5:30.

Tournament Format

  • Tuesday: 4 single-elimination games
  • Wednesday - Friday: Double-elimination phase
  • Saturday: 2 single-elimination Semifinal games
  • Sunday: Championship game

Tournament Bracket


2015 SEC Baseball Tournament Bracket

Kentucky vs

  • Auburn: Did not face this year
  • LSU: Games: 2-1, Runs: 20 - 21
  • Arkansas: Games: 1-2, Runs: 22-16
  • Tennessee: Games: 3-0, Runs: 13-4
  • Florida: Games: 2-1, Runs: 11-16

I'll only list teams on Kentucky's side of the bracket.  I'm perfectly willing to look like a putz for not including the other half should the Cats make it to the championship game.  The good news is that Kentucky had success against most of these squads this season, with series wins against LSU, Florida, and Tennessee.  They did not play Auburn, but had success against the other SEC Tigers this year (4-2 combined) so maybe that will count for something.

The Auburn game is critical - if Kentucky wins they'll get at least two more games to play in the tournament while a loss will end their time in Hoover and leave them on the bubble for the CWS.  Should Kentucky prevail on Tuesday they will play LSU at 5:30 (ET) on Wednesday.

I don't expect Tennessee to beat Arkansas, and a Hogs-Gators game will be a good one.  Arkansas got off to a difficult start in conference play this year, losing 5 of their first 6 games to Vandy and LSU.  The Hogs are finishing strong though, winning 7 of their last 8 conference series with a 1-1 series tie against Tennessee as the other result.  They did not face Florida this year.  The Gators are still in the hunt for a national seed, but need a strong performance in the tournament to get one.

CWS Bid Status

Getting the series win against Missouri was big for the Cats.  They have 14 conference wins which has traditionally been enough to get an SEC team a bid, though the selection committee includes tournament games when looking at overall conference performance and Kentucky's RPI of 56 is dangerously low for a team in a Power 4 conference.  The various baseball sites haven't updated their projected fields since last week, but each had Kentucky in the First 4 Out category prior to their series against Missouri.  I think it's safe to assume that the Cats are still very much on the edge when it comes to getting in.  The good side of the edge, but the edge nonetheless.

I'll say again, Kentucky absolutely must get a win Tuesday to stay in position for a bid.  It's not impossible for them to still make it with a loss, but it would most likely require no upsets in other conference tournaments as well as the committee holding a very favorable impression of those series wins against LSU and Florida.

The good news is that Zack Brown will be on the mound and he has been dynamite for Kentucky.  The offense broke out on Saturday and hopefully that is a harbinger of runs to come.