South Carolina Gamecock fans should try to relax since it’s Memorial Day, but we understand if you’re a little nervous waking up this morning.
If losing to LSU 11-0 in the SEC semifinals wasn’t a sour enough way to end the season for South Carolina, things could either get a lot worse/better come noon. On ESPN2 at 12 p.m. ET sharp the NCAA selection show for the NCAA baseball tournament will start and South Carolina is one of the anxious teams currently riding the bubble.
According to Baseball America, South Carolina is one of the first four teams out along with UConn, Gonzaga and Maryland. As the piece by Michael Lannana and Teddy Cahill goes:
...South Carolina all have RPIs in the 30s. The Gamecocks, however, lost eight straight SEC series to end the season and could’ve benefited from another win in the Southeastern Conference Tournament.
You really can’t put it any better than that in less than 35 words. Losing eight conference series in a row — including Missouri and Georgia — is going to be hard to overcome even with a favorable RPI and strength of schedule. Take a gander at the Gamecocks tournament resume coming into today’s selection show:
South Carolina’s Tournament Resume
|Record vs top 50
|Record vs. top 100
|Record vs top 50
|Record vs. top 100
All of the RPI numbers and strength of schedule rankings are going to be what keeps the Gamecocks alive in the minds of the selection committee. The selection committee loves solid RPI, SOS and have been known to favor big name brands like South Carolina whether it’s justified or not.
If South Carolina were to be left out, it’d be the second time in three years the Gamecocks would be sitting at home come tourney time. The last time that happened was 1997, Ray Tanner’s first year on the job after taking over for June Raines. To put that into perspective, Carlos Cortes was born just a couple of weeks after LSU won the 1997 National Championship.
Whether or not this puts any actual heat under the hiney of Chad Holbrook is unknown. It’s no secret the fans have had enough of the Holbrook era. If you can get on Michael Baumann’s bad side — a noted SC baseball fan and Ringer writer — you’d been doing something wrong.
@MJ_Baumann I'm well aware of that, but you know better than to think there isn't a strong contingency of people who want that to be so.— Chris Stanley (@theTEXAStanley) May 27, 2017
@MJ_Baumann I clearly need to start reading more of your SC tweets then— Chris Stanley (@theTEXAStanley) May 27, 2017
Holbrook served as Ray Tanner’s top assistant from 2009-2012 before taking the reins in 2013. He’s been to the tournament three times, been to two super regionals and has missed the tournament once. Even as he led South Carolina to one of their better SEC tournament runs in a decade after a season with horrible injury luck and a flakey bullpen — his overall job security may hinge on today’s selection.
If selected, South Carolina could wind up at one of 16 regional sites which were announced Sunday night. They are the following:
National Seeds: Corvallis (No. 1 Oregon State), Chapel Hill (No. 2 North Carolina), Gainesville (No. 3 Florida), Lubbock (No. 4 Texas Tech), Louisville (No. 5 Louisville), Baton Rouge (No. 6 LSU), Fort Worth (No. 7 TCU), Palo Alto (No. 8 Stanford).
Other sites: Clemson (The bad guys), Hattiesburg (Southern Miss), Winston Salem (Wake Forest), Houston (Houston), Lexington (Kentucky), Tallahassee (Florida State), Fayetteville (Arkansas), Long Beach (Long Beach State).
As to where South Carolina would wind up, any of the southeastern regionals would be a solid guess. But we won’t know for sure until noon ET, so grab a memorial day beer and buckle up because there’s either going to be a lot of questions or a lot of relief this afternoon.