Tanner's Gamecocks Now Behind The Eight-Ball

Ray Tanner's Gamecocks were dealt a blow in their quest to repeat as Eastern Division Champs by losing the series to the Ole Miss Rebels in Oxford this weekend. Here is how they stand and what they must do for the remainder of regular season in order to repeat, make the SEC Tournament in Hoover, and possibly host a regional ...

The current standings:

UF 10-10-1
SC 10-11
VU 10-11
UT 8-13
UK 6-14
GA 5-16

In the event of a tie South Carolina would win the head-to-head tiebreaker over Florida and Vanderbilt by virtue of winning the regular season series against both programs.

The Gamecocks need to win the Eastern Division Championship and total 40 wins to have any hope of hosting a regional.

There are nine (9) SEC games remaining on the schedule (6 home, 3 away):

Wed 04/30/2003 Wofford Spartanburg, S.C. 7:00 PM
Fri 05/02/2003 Kentucky Columbia, S.C. 7:00 PM
Sat 05/03/2003 Kentucky Columbia, S.C. 4:00 PM
Sun 05/04/2003 Kentucky Columbia, S.C. 1:30 PM
Fri 05/09/2003 Alabama Tuscaloosa, Ala. 7:30 PM
Sat 05/10/2003 Alabama Tuscaloosa, Ala. 4:00 PM
Sun 05/11/2003 Alabama Tuscaloosa, Ala. 3:00 PM
Wed 05/14/2003 The Citadel Columbia, S.C. 7:00 PM
Fri 05/16/2003 Georgia Columbia, S.C. 7:00 PM
Sat 05/17/2003 Georgia Columbia, S.C. 4:00 PM
Sun 05/18/2003 Georgia Columbia, S.C. 1:30 PM

The Gamecocks currently hold an overall record of 28-17. They are favored to win their two non-conference contests verses Wofford and The Citadel. They would need to win seven of their remaining nine SEC contests in order to finish the regular season at 37-19. This would put them within reach of winning three in the conference tournament in Hoover and totaling 40 wins but it would more than likely not be enough to award them a regional hosting site for the NCAA tournament.

By winning seven of their remaining nine conference games, they would more than likely win the Eastern Division crown by virtue of a tiebreaker at the very least. Only the top two teams from the East are assured an invitation to the SEC tournament in Hoover given the strength and overall won/loss records of the Western Division Teams this season.

Both Florida and Vanderbilt have difficult conference schedules remaining so we assume they will both lose more than three games within the conference to finish out the season.

The goal for Tanner's Gamecocks at this point must be to win both of their non-conference games and at least six of their remaining nine conference games. It would behoove them to sweep at home and split the Alabama series on the road.

On a note considered at best a long shot, we are of the understanding that perhaps one, possibly two more non-conference games are "maybe" being added to the remaining schedule. (Editor's Note: We have since found out that this is incorrect - we misunderstood the information that was passed on to us. There will not be two games added so please disregard this possibility. The two games our source was referencing are the Wofford and Citadel games.) If that happens, and if The Gamecocks were to sweep their remaining games both conference and non-conference, there is an outside chance that they could go into the conference tournament with 40 wins under their belts. It is a long shot but it is worth noting because Tanner's club is very capable of getting hot and going on a tear at any given moment.

Remember this about college baseball. Making the tournament is the most important thing at this stage in the season. That means qualifying for the SEC tournament, winning at least two games in Hoover (preferably three), and being invited to a regional somewhere - preferably in the southeast - but anywhere as long as they are playing in the post season. Traditionally it is the teams that "get hot" in the post season that do well. You can throw out all regular season records and start over once post season play begins. And given the Gamecocks' recent post season experience we would assume that Tanner's club would be one of the better mentally prepared teams to challenge in any given regional no matter where it is played.

We are being told that if USC does not host a regional the chances are very good that they will be sent to either somewhere in North Carolina (Chapel Hill/Raleigh depending upon NC State and UNC's final records), Miami or Tallahassee. There is also a chance they could end up being sent to Atlanta but we understand that unless they hit the magic 40 number they will in all likelihood end up in the Tarheel state.

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