SEC Baseball Tournament 2012: Breaking Down the Entire Bracket

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMay 21, 2012

South Carolina Celebrating Its College World Series Win In 2010. Courtesy of The Associated Press
South Carolina Celebrating Its College World Series Win In 2010. Courtesy of The Associated Press

With the Major League Baseball Draft just weeks away, college baseball is moving into the national spotlight with the start of conference tournaments this week.

The premier conference in all of baseball, the SEC, will feature several elite talents who will hear their name called on draft day, but right now all of the focus is on winning the conference tournament and a national championship. 

We will break down the field of 10, and tell you who and what to watch this week at Hoover Park in Regions, Alabama. 

Where: Hoover Park in Regions, AL

When: May 22 to May 27

Watch: Charter Sports Southeast; SportSouth Channel; ESPN 2 (Championship Game)

Live Stream: All Games On ESPN3.com

 No. 1  LSU Tigers (42-14, 19-11)
 No. 2   South Carolina Gamecocks (39-15, 18-11)
 No. 3   Florida Gators (40-16, 18-12)
 No. 4  Kentucky Wildcats (41-15, 18-12)
 No. 5   Vanderbilt Commodores (29-25, 16-14)
 No. 6   Arkansas Razorbacks (39-17, 16-14)
 No. 7  Mississippi State Bulldogs (34-21, 16-14)
 No. 8  Georgia Bulldogs (31-24, 14-15)
 No. 9   Mississippi Rebels (34-22, 14-16)
 No. 10  Auburn Tigers (30-26, 13-17)


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South Carolina Gamecocks

Courtesy of AP Photo/The State, Tim Dominick
Courtesy of AP Photo/The State, Tim Dominick

Though they finished one-half game behind LSU in the conference standings thanks to a head-to-head loss on Saturday, South Carolina has been the best and most dominant team in the SEC all season. 

The Gamecocks surprised a lot of people when they won the College World Series in 2010 and were able to prove their staying power by winning the whole thing again last year. They started out 2012 on fire, with 15 wins in 16 games, albeit against mostly inferior competition. 

Prior to losing the final series of the year, the Gamecocks had a 6-0-1 record in their previous seven SEC series. 


Mississippi State Bulldogs

Courtesy of Business Wire
Courtesy of Business Wire

An inconsistent season overall has taken some of the shine off the Bulldogs, but an impressive finish to the regular season, which included a three-game sweep over Kentucky, has this team dreaming big heading into the conference tournament. 

The starting rotation, led by likely first-round pick Chris Stratton, has been stellar this season. The offense has been spotty at times, but when you have quality pitching you don't have to score a lot to win games. 

 May 22  Game 1: No. 4 Kentucky vs. No. 9 Mississippi
 May 22  Game 2: No. 6 Arkansas vs. No. 7 Mississippi State
 May 22  Game 3: No. 3 Florida vs. No. 10 Auburn
 May 22  Game 4: No. 5 Vanderbilt vs. No. 8 Georgia
 May 23  Game 5: Game 1 Loser vs. Game 2 Loser
 May 23  Game 6: No. 1 LSU vs. Lowest-Seeded Winner From Game 1 & 2
 May 23  Game 7: Game 3 Loser vs. Game 4 Loser
 May 23  Game 8: No. 2 South Carolina vs. Lowest-Seeded Winner From Game 3 & 4
 May 24  Game 9: Game 6 Loser vs. Game 5 Winner
 May 24  Game 10: Game 6 Winner vs. Highest-Seeded Winner From Game 1 & 2
 May 24  Game 11: Game 8 Loser vs. Game 7 Winner
 May 24  Game 12: Game 8 Winner vs. Highest-Seeded Winner From Game 3 & 4
 May 25  Game 13: Game 9 Winner vs. Game 10 Loser
 May 25  Game 14: Game 11 Winner vs. Game 12 Loser
 May 26  Game 15: Game 10 Winner vs. Game 13 Winner
 May 26  Game 16: Game 12 Winner vs. Game 14 Winner
 May 27  Game 17 (Championship): Game 15 Winner vs. Game 16 Winner

MLB Draft Prospects To Watch

Kevin Gausman, RHP, LSU Tigers

Courtesy of Tiger Hype
Courtesy of Tiger Hype

Gausman has been the best starter in college baseball this season. He has had the raw stuff to intrigue big league scouts in the past, but a refined approach to go along with an improved breaking ball have put him in the mix to be the No. 1 player taken in June's Draft. 

Mike Zunino, C, Florida

Courtesy of SEC Digital Network
Courtesy of SEC Digital Network

Like Gausman, Zunino also has a chance to be the No. 1 overall pick. He doesn't boast a lot of projection for professional baseball, but he offers a solid, wide-variety of tools that will make him at least an above-average big leaguer. 

Chris Stratton, RHP, Mississippi State

Courtesy of MSU Athletics
Courtesy of MSU Athletics

Stratton has been a revelation for the Bulldogs this spring. He has a low-90s fastball and a very good slider that has become his go-to pitch. His crowning achievement came against LSU and Kevin Gausman earlier this year, when Stratton struck out 17 Tigers. He is likely a mid- to late-first-round pick.