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Southeastern Conference Baseball Tournament expanded to 10 teams

 

Matt Stevens

 

STARKVILLE - Last season the NCAA baseball tournament selection show was finished and every coach in the Southeastern Conference had one similar question.  

 

'Didn't we forget LSU?' 

 

LSU, who finished the season 36-20, 13-17 in Southeastern Conference play and ranked 26th in the ratings percentage index but did not receive an invitation due mostly to failing to make the conference tournament. 

 

The league is going through the steps to make sure this scenario doesn't occur any longer.  

 

In Tuesday's edition of The Dispatch, you'll see an in-depth look at what a 10-team tournament will not only look like but what it will be for NCAA bids after speaking with MSU coach John Cohen and Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco.  

 

"It's a combination of the addition of two new teams to the SEC in 2013 (Texas A&M and Missouri) and where we stand going forward in regards to the NCAA Tournament," SEC spokesperson Chuck Dunlap stated. "We obviously already have a very strong league in the sport of baseball, which will now only get stronger. Texas A&M for example was in Omaha last June. So there was a desire to increase the number of teams coming to Hoover due to changes in the conference." 

 

The 2012 event will be held May 22-27 at Regions Park. Tickets will go on sale in February. 

 

The SEC announced a remodel to the conference tournament in Hoover, Ala. to allow for 10 teams to qualify for the event this season in a 12-team league for a one-year trial basis. In 2013, SEC baseball will have the University of Missouri and Texas A&M University join the league and the postseason format will be reevaluated.  

 

Under the new format, the tournament will continue to follow a format that is modeled in a similar fashion to previous SEC Tournament and College World Series brackets. The 10 teams are seeded 1-10 with the two divisional champions guaranteed of the top two seeds and first-round byes.  

 

In an interview with The Dispatch, Bianco cited the arguments in the room of the NCAA selection committee last season when NCAA chairman NCAA selection committee chair Tim Weiser commented to the media specifically of the debate among two bubble teams St. John's and LSU.  

 

Games played from Tuesday thru Friday are double elimination with single elimination starting on Saturday. The tournament field will include the top teams from the SEC's Eastern and Western Divisions plus eight at-large bids seeded 3-10 based on conference winning percentage. 

 

The league announcement Monday marks the first major change to the event's format since 1996. 

 

 

 

All of the Dispatch MSU Sports Blog readers: feel free to follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/matthewcstevens for up-to-date Mississippi State coverage. 

 

 

 

 

 

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