With the SEC Tournament nearing, LSU baseball is slumping at the wrong time.
After going the entire season without losing a single SEC series, LSU has dropped two series in a row and fallen from the No. 1 spot in the D1 Baseball rankings to No. 5. Both series losses came against unranked teams at the time.
As LSU prepares to take on Georgia, how can this weekend’s games impact the SEC standings and LSU’s seeding in the SEC Tournament?
Despite the disappointing last two series, LSU can still secure the top seed in the SEC West.
LSU baseball made its return to the field after a disappointing weekend series against Mississippi State over the weekend. But on Tuesday nigh…
Seeding is important for the SEC Tournament. The SEC Tournament is made up of 12 teams seeded one through 12. The SEC East and West winners are given the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, and teams three through 12 are decided by conference win percentage.
Getting a top four seed is crucial. The top four seeds are given a first-round bye and are guaranteed to play at least two games, while seeds five through 12 will play a day early in single elimination games.
If the SEC Tournament started today, LSU would be the third seed and play the winner of Kentucky vs. Missouri, seeds six and 11. LSU narrowly won its regular season series against Kentucky this season, but Kentucky knocked LSU out of the SEC Tournament last season. LSU has not played Missouri this season.
However, all current top four seeded teams, Arkansas, Florida, LSU and Vanderbilt, are within two games of each other, and LSU can still earn the SEC West title.
It isn’t a secret that LSU baseball has the key components needed to make a run through the College World Series.
Arkansas has a difficult series against No. 12 Vanderbilt. If Vanderbilt wins the series against Arkansas and LSU wins against Georgia, LSU can move into first place in the SEC West and guarantee a top two seed, a first-round bye and at least two games in the tournament.
If Arkansas loses its series 0-3, LSU will only need to win 2-1. If Arkansas loses 1-2, LSU will need to sweep Georgia to take the number one spot in the SEC West.
However, LSU’s most important goal of the weekend is to maintain a top four seed and ensure it keeps its first-round bye.
If LSU drops its series against Georgia and South Carolina wins its series against Tennessee, tiebreakers will be needed. LSU currently has a conference record of 17-9 while South Carolina is 15-11. If LSU loses its series 0-3 and South Carolina wins 2-1 or LSU loses 1-2 and South Carolina wins 3-0, both teams will have the same conference win percentage and have a 1-1 record against each other.
The next tiebreaker for teams not in the same conference is “won-lost record of the two teams versus the No. 1 seed using common opponents only,” according to the SEC. LSU hasn’t played Florida or Vanderbilt, so the highest-seeded opponent that both teams share is Arkansas.
LSU won its series against Arkansas 2-1 while South Carolina lost its series 1-2. That means that if LSU at least matches South Carolina’s record, it cannot fall below South Carolina. Winning just one game against Georgia will guarantee LSU finishes above South Carolina.
Kentucky is 15-12 in conference play, but since LSU has played fewer conference games due to its series finale against South Carolina getting canceled, and the seeding is done by win percentage, LSU will be seeded above Kentucky if it has the same number of wins. Just one win against Georgia would also guarantee LSU doesn’t fall behind Kentucky.
The only other teams that can catch LSU in the race to the top four seeds are Auburn and Tennessee, both with 14-13 conference records. However, both teams face the same problem as Kentucky: LSU has played fewer conference games and will have a better win percentage if it finishes with the same record.
If LSU is swept and Auburn and Kentucky both sweep their series, LSU will have a win percentage of .586 while they will each have a win percentage of .567.
As long as LSU wins at least one game over Georgia, it can guarantee itself a top four seed.