SEC CHAMPS!!! Second ranked South Carolina (44-12, 22-8 SEC) broke out of the gates with an early two-run lead and behind solid work from starter Colby Holmes and three relievers the Gamecocks defeated Alabama (32-24, 14-16) 3-2 on Saturday afternoon to claim at least a share of the SEC Championship. It is the school's third SEC Championship in baseball and the first since the 2002 regular season. Carolina also claims a share of the SEC Eastern Division title, the school's fifth (1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2011). South Carolina heads to Hoover, Ala. for the SEC Tournament as the No. 1 seed and will face the No. 8 seed Auburn at 5:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday May 25 at Regions Park. The Gamecocks will also likely take the top spot in the rankings tomorrow after UNC throttled UVa over the weekend.
My impression is that this is mainly motivated by (1) the lack of balance between the two divisions and the inability of the Western Division teams to make the NCAA Tourney due to low RPIs and (2) the bizarre seeding practices in the SEC Tournament, where occasionally a crappy team gets a first-round bye by finishing second in one division while a great team from the other division has to play the extra game. I am generally behind this idea, although I kind of wonder how scheduling will work. If this results in a scenario where, say, Arkansas plays Florida twice in one season but only plays Ole Miss or LSU once, that would be a bit of a problem. I'm sure there's a way to deal with that, though. One thing's for certain--divisions don't play the valuable role in basketball that they do in football.