The LSU Tigers entered the 2012 SEC Baseball Tournament as the No. 1 seed and favorites to take the crown, but they are going to face some stiff competition.
The Tigers are the fifth-ranked team in the nation in the USA Today/ESPN rankings, and they received two first-place votes in that poll.
They are a complete squad, and they have a tremendous track record in this tournament. Coming into this tournament, they had won 13 of their past 14 tournament games and captured the title three straight years before falling short last year.
They lost their tournament opener but bounced back in a big way taking down Ole Miss 11-2 in their second game. They are clearly ready to go on another run.
If they fall short again, it will be because one of these teams beat them.
The Gamecocks narrowly missed out on the regular-season conference title by losing two of three games to LSU in the final weekend of regular-season play.
The Tiger clinched their conference winning by beating the Gamecocks in a thrilling extra-inning game to close out the season.
These two teams are obviously closely matched, and the Gamecocks are ranked even higher at No. 4 in the USA Today/ESPN poll.
Like the Tigers, South Carolina lost their tourney opener, but this team is more than capable of putting it behind them and going on a long run.
Florida got off to a great start in this tournament by taking down Auburn, 6-1. The Gators struggled with their bats down the stretch, but they have clearly awoken just in time for the tournament.
They also have to be excited about the performance of sophomore pitcher Jonathon Crawford in the opener.
He pitched 5.2 innings and allowed only two hits and one unearned run. He struggled with control at times in this outing but got stronger as the game went on.
The Gators have the pitching to win this tournament, and if their bats build on the momentum established in this game, they will be tough to beat.
The Wildcats limped to the finish line of the regular season when they were swept by Georgia. However, they have turned it on for the tournament.
Kentucky, who hadn't made the semifinals in the SEC tournament during the modern era, have already secured that berth in this year's tourney.
This team is looking great as players have stepped up their game for the tournament. In their last outing, pitcher Jerad Grundy turned in his best effort of the season. He allowed just four hits and one run while striking out nine.
Also boding well for the 'Cats is Thomas McCarthy breaking out of his slump. He went 4-for-5 with three doubles in his last game.
If he can keep producing for this offense, they have a clear shot at the title.
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