Mississippi State and Vanderbilt are going to complete their postseason run with wins against higher-ranked opponents today, and they will meet in the 2012 SEC Baseball Tournament Final.
Baseball is one of a few sports where winning during the regular season doesn't mean squat once the postseason begins, and there isn't any clearer example than what's been going on at during this tournament.
LSU and South Carolina dominated the SEC West and SEC East during the regular season, but in the end they were overcome by teams who got hot at the right time—something we see in baseball time and time again.
We all saw Moneyball, right? The regular season is ultimately determined by a broad scope of statistics that can be more-or-less predicted, but the postseason is completely unpredictable.
Getting hot when the postseason arrives is the only thing that matters—especially in this case—considering that 10 out of the 12 teams in the conference get into the postseason tournament.
So, it's no surprise to me that the hottest teams in the SEC conference are Mississippi State and Vanderbilt, although to be fair, only the Bulldogs can truly claim Cinderella's shoe.
Mississippi State (7) will face Kentucky (4), a team they must be getting tired of looking at after the two sides have competed against one another five times in the last 10 days. Kentucky beat the Bulldogs earlier in this tournament due to a strong pitching performance by Jerad Grundy, but after winning two games against LSU it's hard to bet against Mississippi State.
Vanderbilt (5) takes on Florida (3) 30 minutes after the first game is completed. They are undefeated so far in this tournament and have already dispatched the Gators once before. Mr. Commodore won't be denied, and this team will ride their hot streak to the championship round.
Both underdogs will prove that the only thing that matters in college baseball is getting hot at the right time.