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Is baseball in or out? (part 2)

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BSB 09_10 UK_USC Game3 Web - GRAD 09_10 51.jpgOne week they're in, the next week they're out. So goes the rollercoaster season of college baseball.

After winning five games in two weekends against top-25 teams, it looked as if the Kentucky baseball team had played itself back into the NCAA Tournament. Now, after dropping two of three games to cellar-dwelling Georgia, UK not only finds itself outside of the Southeastern Conference Tournament but maybe out of the NCAA Tournament as well.

Kentucky will have to wait through a week of conference tournaments and hope that a few things goes its way. The team will continue to practice this week as though it is going to the NCAA Tournament before the NCAA Tournament field is released Sunday Monday at 12:30 p.m. on ESPN.

Below is a list of the reasons the NCAA committee will be looking to include or not to include Kentucky into the NCAA Tournament. The list of reasons of why to include Kentucky in the 64-team tournament is actually pretty strong.

Why UK could be included:

- First and foremost, UK boasts an RPI of 29 in the latest projections by BoydsWorld.com. Since 2007, there have only been four teams ranked in the top 34 in the RPI that did not make the NCAA Tournament, one of which came from the SEC.

- Playing the seventh-toughest schedule in college baseball, UK owns a total of 16 wins over teams ranked in the top 47 in the latest NCAA RPI, including nine wins over teams in the top 15 in the NCAA RPI. Several of those wins also came out of conference, with wins against the likes of Coastal Carolina (No. 3 in the latest NCAA RPI), San Diego (No. 22), Louisville (No. 6) and Virginia Tech (No. 12 in latest Baseball America top 25). The Cats also rank eighth in the nation in total top-50 RPI wins. 

-  Kentucky ranks second in the SEC with a total of 12 wins over top-25 opponents, and during a middle-of-the-season stretch, UK played a ranked opponent in 22 of 24 games, including a stretch of 16 consecutive games against a ranked foe.

- When UK did lose, a good portion of them were close. UK suffered a total of 13 losses by one or two runs, including four walk-off losses on the road to top-14 teams in the NCAA RPI.

- Kentucky played without one of its three weekend starting pitchers in four of 10 conference weekends.

- The Cats also faced a tough-luck schedule. The lone team UK did not play in the 2010 SEC schedule was Mississippi State (6-24 in the SEC), the 11th-place team in the conference, which lost 14 of its final conference games. Alabama and LSU, which ended up in the seventh and eighth spots in the SEC Tournament ahead of UK, had the good fortune of playing the struggling Bulldogs.

Why UK could be left out:

- A 31-25 overall record.

- Two of three losses to last-place Georgia on the final weekend of the season with the team's postseason hopes on the line, including a 20-0 loss Friday.

- Nonconference losses to Lipscomb, Murray State and Evansville, none of which boasts an RPI higher than 99, according to BoydWorld.com.

- If you don't make your conference tournament, do you deserve to be in the NCAA Tournament, a question the NCAA Tournament committee will almost certainly ask Sunday. (In favor of the Cats, the NCAA selection committee has elected to include the SEC's ninth-place team into the tournament in two of the last three years.)

There is no doubt that anxiety will be high for the rest of the week. UK boasts both extremely impressive numbers along with very disappointing ones.

The bottom line is the Cats are still squarely on the bubble and face about a 50-50 shot of getting in. Kentucky's name will be brought up Sunday during the selection process and the numbers will be laid out on the table.

Now that you know what the committee will look at it, is the UK baseball team in or out?

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1 Comment

You say the Cats were unlucky to not play Mississippi State. They couldn't even beat Georgia, who was worse than MSU. What makes you think they would be able to beat Mississippi State? If you can't beat the worst team in the SEC when they have nothing to play for, then you don't deserve to be in the NCAA Tournament.

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  • Bob: You say the Cats were unlucky to not play Mississippi State. They couldn't even beat Georgia, who was worse than read more
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