Bulldogs Hold Third Place In Hoover Standings

The Diamond Dogs may have lost their latest series, breaking a three-weekend string of successes, and fallen well back in the overall championship hunt. But with the Southeastern Conference season past the half-way point Mississippi State is still sitting pretty in terms of making the league tournament.

The Bulldogs go into the final weekend of the April schedule holding on to third place in the SEC's annual slugfest to earn one of the eight slots in Hoover. It's not a strong hold, and a situation complicated by a couple of league games rained out. Still third is a much stronger status than Mississippi State has been in for the last few years.

State owns a 9-7 SEC record after dropping two of three at Dudy Noble Field to LSU over the weekend, only the second lost series out of six so far. The SEC determines both the regular season league and Division champions as well as tournament seeding by win/loss percentage, and Mississippi State is now at .562. However this gives the Dogs third place, this week, by only sixth-thousandths of a point over the fourth place team. Or, teams, since Ole Miss, Florida, and South Carolina are all 10-8 (.556).

Breaking that tie isn't an issue at the moment, with a month of series left to play, but it won't be done head-to-head because the Rebels and Gators do not meet this season. The Rebels improved their standing over the weekend by taking two of three from South Carolina, which previously won a series against Florida.

The scramble for eighth place is nearly as tight as the contest at third/fourth, with Alabama currently in the Hoover field despite losing twice at Auburn and Kentucky out by a half-game. A tied game at that and one which might come back to haunt the Wildcats, who had to leave Baton Rouge with a Sunday deadlock three weeks ago. Ironically, last spring Alabama and Kentucky tied for the overall SEC title; this year they are battling to get back to the SEC tourney.

Mississippi State knows the feeling too well. In both 2004 and '06 the Bulldogs missed making Hoover, and in 2005 State barely slipped into the field as the eighth seed…and promptly won the event. Only once in the last five years as a MSU team gone to the SEC Tourney seeded in the top half of the field.

With four series left for all, nobody has either clinched a berth in the 2007 tournament or been eliminated. That said, Georgia and Auburn are perilously close already to missing the event, while Arkansas is one good weekend from mathematically locking up a berth. The Razorbacks are a game up on East leader Vanderbilt in the race for the 2007 conference crown.

Division champions earn automatic top-seeds in the respective four-team brackets at the SEC Tournament, even if one loop winner has a poorer record than another Division's runner-up.


1. Arkansas 13-5 .722

2. Vanderbilt 12-6 .667

3. MSU 9-7 .562

T4*. Florida 10-8 .556; Ole Miss 10-8 .556; South Carolina 10-8 .556

7. LSU 8-9-1 .472

8. Alabama 8-10 .444

9. Kentucky 7-10-1 .417

10. Tennessee 6-10 .375

11*. Georgia 6-12 .333

12. Auburn 6-12 .333

THIS WEEK'S SCHEDULE: South Carolina @ Alabama, Arkansas @ Auburn, Florida @ Vanderbilt, Georgia @ Kentucky, Tennessee @ LSU, Mississippi State @ Ole Miss.

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