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SEC Baseball Tournament 2016: Bracket, Schedule, Format, Team Rosters, Standings

Brian Marron@@brianmarron398Featured ColumnistMay 16, 2016

CORAL GABLES, FL - FEBRUARY 26: Teammates congratulate Peter Alonso #20 of the Florida Gators after he hit a two run home run against the Miami Hurricanes on February 26, 2016 at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field in Coral Gables, Florida. Florida defeated Miami 5-0. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

The focus of the Southeastern Conference sporting world will shift to Hoover, Alabama, next week as the conference's baseball tournament is set to kick off. 

The 2016 SEC Baseball Tournament will begin on May 24 and run until the championship game on May 29. The event will feature some of the best teams in the nation, as the SEC accounts for seven schools ranked in the Top 13 in the USA Today Top 25 rankings

The competition features the 12 teams with the best conference record and a combination of single- and double-elimination play. Take a look below at the essential tournament information before the teams take the diamond.

Bracket

An official tournament bracket is available at SECSports.com

Standings

With the regular season not concluding until May 21, and with so many teams within a game or two of each other, the conference standings are not yet final. Here are the SEC standings for each division as of May 15.

SEC East Standings
SeedTeamOverall RecordConference Record
TBAFlorida42-917-8
TBASouth Carolina37-1316-9
TBAVanderbilt37-1415-11
TBAKentucky29-2313-14
TBAGeorgia25-269-17
TBAMissouri25-268-18
TBATennessee26-257-19
SECSports.com
SEC West Standings
SeedTeamOverall RecordConference Record
TBATexas A&M39-1018-8
TBAMississippi State36-1417-9
TBAMississippi39-1317-10
TBALSU35-1616-10
TBAAlabama29-2114-12
TBAAuburn22-298-18
TBAArkansas26-247-19
SECSports.com

Florida is the top-ranked team in the country and the East Division leader, but South Carolina is nipping at its heels at only one game back. The two teams do not play again in the regular season. The Gators close their season out against 13th-ranked LSU, while the Gamecocks have an easier series against Alabama. If South Carolina can sweep, it could challenge for the top spot in the division.

Mississippi State is only a game back of Texas A&M, so the top seed in the West is also not a foregone conclusion. The Bulldogs take on Arkansas next, while the Aggies get Ole Miss, which also has a slim shot at a division title at only two games back. This should make for an exciting final series of play in the West.

Schedule

Again, the seedings will not be finalized until the end of the regular season. Below is the schedule of play that shows the road each seed must take to win the tournament.

2016 SEC Baseball Tournament Schedule
DateGameMatchupTime (CT)Watch
May 241No. 6 vs. No. 119:30 a.mSEC Network
May 242No. 7 vs. No. 10TBDSEC Network
May 243No. 8 vs. No. 94:30 p.m.SEC Network
May 244No. 5 vs. No. 12TBDSEC Network
May 255No. 3 vs. Game 1 Winner9:30 a.m.SEC Network
May 256No. 2 vs. Game 2 WinnerTBDSEC Network
May 257No. 1 vs. Game 3 Winner4:30 p.m.SEC Network
May 258No. 4 vs. Game 4 WinnerTBDSEC Network
May 269Game 5 Loser vs. Game 6 Loser9:30 a.m.SEC Network
May 2610Game 7 Loser vs. Game 8 LoserTBDSEC Network
May 2611Game 5 Winner vs. Game 6 Winner4:30 p.m.SEC Network
May 2612Game 7 Winner vs. Game 8 WinnerTBDSEC Network
May 2713Game 9 Winner vs. Game 11 Loser3 p.m.SEC Network
May 2714Game 10 Winner vs. Game 12 LoserTBDSEC Network
May 2815Game 13 Winner vs. Game 11 WinnerNoonSEC Network
May 2816Game 14 Winner vs. Game 12 WinnerTBDSEC Network
May 2917Game 15 Winner vs. Game 16 Winner2 p.m.ESPN2
SECSports.com

Rosters

The rosters for each team can be found on SECSports.com's baseball page. Click on the "Teams" tab and click on each school to view its personnel.

Format

The tournament starts with single-elimination. 

Seeds five through 12 square off in play-in situations. Win, and the team advances to the double-elimination portion. Lose, and the school's SEC season is over.

The next portion of the tournament plays out in a double-elimination format until the semifinals. From there, the four remaining teams play in a traditional one-loss knockout procedure to decide a champion.

The SEC boasts a deep conference field, which is highlighted by SEC Baseball's Twitter account:

SEC Baseball @SEC__Baseball

Teams that make the NCAA if it ended today: Florida Texas A&M South Carolina Mississippi State Ole Miss LSU Vanderbilt Kentucky Alabama

Yet the seven teams ranked among the nation's Top 25 are the clear cream of the crop and the safest choices. Their conference and overall records speak for themselves, which the rest of the league cannot boast. Within those schools, picking a favorite is not a clear-cut task.

Florida, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt have not dropped out of the Top 10 all season, with the Aggies and Gators having been within the Top Five the entire year. LSU and South Carolina were Top Five teams earlier in the season, and Mississippi State and Ole Miss have emerged as College World Series contenders.

Florida and Vanderbilt hold a slight edge due to their pitching prowess. The Gators are ranked 10th in the nation with a 2.84 ERA, while the Commodores are a spot behind with a 2.88 ERA.

However, Texas A&M is not far behind with a 3.07 team ERA, good for 16th nationally. The Aggies are also batting .320, which is the highest in the SEC.

In the eyes of D1Baseball's Kendall Rogers, the Aggies, Commodores and Gators are among the nation's best teams but not ahead of LSU:

Kendall Rogers @KendallRogers

1 LSU 2 Texas 3 Vanderbilt 4 Florida 5 Texas A&M or UCLA https://t.co/NBspsQIB6L

The Tigers have won this tournament 11 times, but they struggled against the conference's top teams all season.

Texas A&M looks to be the most complete team, and it should be confident following consecutive series wins over South Carolina and Vanderbilt. The Aggies are the team to beat in Hoover.

All statistics courtesy of NCAA.com 

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