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Is baseball in the NCAA Tournament already?

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The Southeastern Conference Tournament race has been talked about at length on this blog recently. We've broken down the tiebreaker scenario, what Kentucky needs to do make the tournament and what scenarios would put UK in its conference tournament in Hoover, Ala.

All along, the thought was that if Kentucky makes the SEC Tournament, which is widely regarded as the country's best league, the Cats would make the NCAA Tournament as well as an at-large team.

But here's something worth thinking about: After UK's season-changing sweep over defending national champion LSU last weekend, is Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament regardless of its inclusion in its own league tournament? For example, if the Cats for some reason can't clinch an SEC Tournament berth this weekend and land in ninth or 10th in the SEC standings, do they still have a good enough resume to make the field of 64?

It's not that crazy of a question when you look at the team's resume.

Entering Tuesday's final nonconference game of the season against Murray State in Paducah, Ky., Kentucky boasts a very formidable RPI ranking of No. 21. Generally speaking, that gets you in the tournament.

The league as a whole has eight teams in the NCAA's top 25 RPI, and UK has played a total of 10 teams in the RPI top 25. That carries heavy weight for a team firmly on the NCAA Tournament bubble.

Plenty of heartbreaking and questionable losses cloud the Wildcat schedule, including midweek defeats to Lipscomb, Indiana and Evansville, but the so-called "good wins" far outweigh the "bad losses."

With Sunday's come-from-behind win against LSU, UK has won five consecutive games against ranked opponents and has charted three total series wins over ranked teams, including a series win over No. 4 South Carolina last weekend. All told, UK owns 12 wins over ranked foes in 2010.

Just think if UK, the victims of five walk-off losses, could have held on for the handful of come-from-behind losses. This team might firmly be in. There is still a weekend to go and plenty of baseball to be played, but it's worth thinking about.

So what say you? If the season ended today and UK didn't make the SEC Tournament, would it still make the NCAA Tournament?

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