Talk Cheap At This Time Of Year

FAYETTEVILLE — At this point, it's all about talk. When the Southeastern Conference Tournament begins at 10 a.m. today in Hoover, Ala., nothing anyone has said before really matters.

Talk is cheap.

However, in the hot, humid and muggy atmosphere in Regions Park, an SEC champion will be born over a five-day scenario as the heated arguments begin.

But words won't get it done. It's play on the field that counts.

It could be the regular-season kingpin, or the last-place also-ran prancing around the field with a trophy when it's all said and done.

This is ... baseball!

After 30 SEC regular-season games, some team will walk the walk as the king of the hill.

Some teams have their backs against the wall, some are hitting the wall, like running a marathon in the 20th mile, but they keep on running toward the finish line.

Pounding calculators or looking at RPIs for evidence of worth won't cut the mustard.

Arkansas and Alabama start things off on the first day of fighting for the crown two hours before noon. Ole Miss and Mississippi State put the finishing touches on it, starting at 8 p.m. today.

"We're coming off a win on the road to end the season," Alabama coach Jim Wells said. "I think we're playing well right now. We're happy to be in the tournament and we're hoping to do well in the tournament this year."

Seventh-seeded Alabama brings a 31-24 record into the tournament. Arkansas, the No. 2 seed and Western Division champion, is 38-18.

Top-seeded Vanderbilt is a sure lock for a top eight national seed but Commodores coach Tim Corbin sounds like it's just a joy to even be in the SEC Tournament.

"We're excited to be back at Hoover," Corbin said. "It worked out that we are at the top of the league, but you don't start the season saying you want to win every game, you say you want to be at Hoover.

"We're thankful to be playing in the tournament again, and we're looking forward to playing."

Enough said.

Setting The Barr High

Reserve catcher Brandon Barr, a former walk-on, might not have played much in his career at Arkansas but it's his off-the-field contributions which have earned him the most glory.

Barr, a 5-foot-9, 181-pound junior from Corpus Christi, Texas, recently was named a member of the SEC Community Service Teams for all 20 league-sponsored sports.

Barr twice visited veteran homes around the Northwest Arkansas area. He is also a member of Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Barr spent last Thanksgiving at a retirement home in Fayetteville serving dinner.

Barr was twice named to the Lon Farrell Academic Honor Roll with a 3.0 grade-point average or better. Barr actually finished his college degree in business administration with a perfect 4.0 GPA.

Oh, by the way ...

Barr, whose father, William, played Triple-A baseball for the Philadelphia Phillies, posted a 4.0 GPA in both the spring and fall semesters in 2006.

This season, Barr has only one at-bat and he walked.

Did You Know?

Anyone wanting to attend the SEC Tournament should carry a pocket full of money, or a credit card with a zero balance.

Tickets for the SEC Tournament are $100 for reserved box seats and $75 for a general admission book. Fans may also purchase reserved single session tickets for $17 or general admission single session tickets for $12.

Tickets went on sale Saturday.

On The Tube

FSN South will televise five games from the SEC Tournament. Coverage on FSN South begins at 3 p.m. Friday and concludes with the championship game at 3 p.m. Sunday.

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