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SEC Weekend Preview: April 21st-23rd

May 25, 2016 – #5 LSU vs #4 Florida

A wacky year continues in the SEC as the conference doesn’t have a single team in the top eight but could have 10 teams in the NCAA Tournament.

While there is not a powerhouse team in the conference this year, the parity in the SEC this season has been fun to watch.

Through nearly 40 games the Kentucky Wildcats are atop the SEC East, and Arkansas is on top of the SEC West with Auburn and Mississippi State right behind them.

No one could have predicted that coming into the season.

However, the gap between first and fifth in the East and first and sixth in the West is minimal. Anything can happen in the last month of baseball.

It’s reaching a critical state for teams like Missouri, Vanderbilt and Ole Miss who all have losing records in the SEC right now. Every weekend is important as we head down the stretch.

Weekend Schedule:

Tennessee (15-23, 4-11) at Texas A&M (26-12, 8-7)
The Aggies have really come on strong as of late winning their last five SEC games. They did drop a head-scratcher at UT-Arlington this week though. However, they host one of the worst teams in the SEC this weekend in Tennessee. Texas A&M has to take advantage of this matchup at home and at least come away with two wins. The Volunteers showed life with a couple of wins on the road against Florida a few weeks ago, but then dropped 2-of-3 at home to Auburn.
Prediction: Texas A&M 3-0

LSU (26-12, 9-6) at Kentucky (26-12, 10-5)
This will be the best matchup of the weekend, and a battle for the top spot in the SEC. They are ranked nine and 10 in the poll coming into this weekend. After dropping a home series to Texas A&M, the Tigers have won back-to-back series and seven of their last nine. LSU is third in the conference in hitting, while Kentucky is first. Meanwhile, LSU is sixth in pitching and Kentucky is eighth. It will be exciting to see whether or not Jared Poche and Alex Lange can slow down the Kentucky offense.
Prediction: Kentucky 2-1

Vanderbilt (23-15, 7-8) at Georgia (15-23, 4-11)
Vanderbilt is about to catch a huge break as they play Georgia this weekend and Tennessee the next. The Commodores have struggled all season, but they have a chance to get back in this thing. Georgia has been one of the worst teams in the conference all year, and they’ve lost their last five SEC games. If Vanderbilt is ever going to get on track, it has to be this weekend. They really should get a sweep over Georgia, but if they somehow don’t win at least two games, then I give up on them.
Prediction: Vanderbilt 2-1

Arkansas (31-8, 11-4) at Auburn (28-11, 10-5)
The battle for the SEC West will take place on the Plains this weekend with Arkansas traveling to play Auburn. The Tigers are just a game behind the Razorbacks. Arkansas is the only team in the conference with 30-plus wins. The Razorbacks have won six in a row, including a sweep over Georgia last weekend. Auburn has won four of its last five, with that lone loss being a 1-run loss at Tennessee. Arkansas might be the most complete team in the conference as they’re second in hitting and fifth in pitching. They lead the conference by a wide margin in home runs. Meanwhile, Auburn pitching has given up the third fewest home runs in the conference all year. This should be a fun one.
Prediction: Auburn 2-1

South Carolina (23-13, 8-7) at Florida (25-12, 8-7)
This will be a fun matchup for second place in the SEC East as the two are tied for that position at the moment. You expect both of these teams to be at the top of the conference, and perhaps whoever wins this series springboards themselves into taking back the East. After an embarrassing series loss at home to Tennessee, the Florida Gators bounced back to win a series at Vanderbilt last weekend. South Carolina on the other hand has lost three straight series. These two pitching staffs are two and three in the conference, and their offenses are both in the bottom four. If you like low scoring games, this is the series for you.
Prediction: Florida 2-1

Missouri (26-12, 7-8) at Ole Miss (23-14, 7-8)
If you want to watch an entertaining series between two teams on the NCAA Tournament bubble, here you go. Ole Miss is one of the last teams in right now, while Missouri is one of the first teams out. The winner of this series could definitely boost their resume for the tournament. Missouri has really struggled as of late losing three of their last four and 10 of their last 15. Ole Miss has actually picked it up lately with wins in seven of their last eight, including a sweep over Alabama. Ole Miss has the best pitching staff in the conference, but the worst offense. Needless to say, this is a huge weekend for both teams.
Prediction: Ole Miss 2-1

Alabama (15-22, 2-13) at Mississippi State (25-14, 10-5)
The Crimson Tide has really fallen on hard times losing seven straight conference games and 12 of their last 15 games. Plus, it looks like they’ll be without their best pitcher in Jake Walters for the foreseeable future. After getting swept to start the season, Mississippi State has been on a tear winning 10 of their last 12 SEC contests. I was really down on the Bulldogs entering SEC play, but this young group has certainly figured it out. Brent Rooker continues to lead the conference with a .423 batting average, .937 slugging percentage, .520 on-base-percentage, 60 hits, 58 RBI, 19 doubles, 16 home runs, 133 total bases and 15 stolen bases. Those numbers should get a boost this weekend. If you haven’t already, enjoy the season Rooker is having for Mississippi State.
Prediction: Mississippi State 3-0

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