Gators Should Still Host

Despite going out of the SEC Tournament in three games the Gator baseball team should be one of 16 teams chosen to host NCAA Regional Tournaments when the selections are made at 3:30 Sunday afternoon.

Florida entered Friday's game with Arkansas ranked No. 5 in the Boydsworld RPI and falling to a top 20 team in the Razorbacks shouldn't cause Florida to fall far. The Gators have a history of running first class NCAA Tournaments in all sports so that works in Florida's favor as well.

Kevin O'Sullivan's team also has several factors in its favor that should assure the Gators one of the 16 hosting opportunities.

Third place in SEC ----- This conference is known to be among the nation's best in everything and certainly baseball is no exception. To finish third in this league is no small accomplishment.

39-15 ----- That's the Gators record against teams not names Arkansas. Certainly losing five in a row to the Hogs doesn't make the Gators happy, but if the Razorbacks hadn't messed things up the Gators would be ranked in everyone's top three.

27 games versus top 25 ----- Almost half of Florida's games have comes against teams in the top 25, and if you go to the top 40 you'll find nine more. A 39-20 record against that kind of competition is pretty impressive. Nine of those games were outside the SEC and the Gators won five of those.

All things considered the Gators ought to be a host, and if Florida State doesn't also get a host slot, the Seminoles could be coming to town.

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The Gators went to Birmingham hoping to be seeded in the top eight overall which would let Florida host a Super Regional if they advanced from the Regional round. That might be a big more problematic.

The RPI has been kinder to the Gators than the polls have been and the history for baseball has been to trust an average of the polls over RPI rankings when it comes to seeding teams. The win over Ole Miss on Thursday certainly helps since the Rebels were in that discussion as well but should Arkansas go on and win the SEC Tournament they could move up a lot.

The best guess is that the SEC will get no more than two of the top eight seeds and one is certain to go to LSU. If there's another it will be a close call for sure. Chances are the Gators could be seeded for a Super Regional in Miami if both teams were to advance. However Miami didn't help its chances of a top eight seed with a third day elimination from the ACC tournament and losing a late season series with Bethune Cookman.

It appears the site selections will be announced on the ESPN family of channels on the crawler at the bottom of the screen Sunday afternoon. The entire field for the NCAA Tournament will be announced Monday at 12:30.


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