Here's a brief look at each of the match-ups set for Hoover today. All games are also available online at ESPN3.
ALABAMA vs. OLE MISS // 10:30 a.m. ET // SportSouth // ELIMINATION GAME
Each team won its game in the single-elimination round of the tournament (duh) only to lose their first outing in the double-elimination round. Ole Miss got edged by Arkansas in a 10-inning game early Wednesday, while Alabama was blanked by LSU in game that started about a half hour after the Rebels' loss. Alabama could probably use one more win to feel confident that it will make the NCAA tournament, and Ole Miss doesn't need that win -- but both are probably bound for the next stage of the postseason anyway. In any case, give me Ole Miss.
SOUTH CAROLINA vs. VANDERBILT // About 30 minutes after Alabama-Ole Miss // SportSouth // ELIMINATION GAME
Very few people would have seen both of these teams losing their first game of the tournament, but one of them will end Thursday as the last SEC East team standing in Hoover. Vanderbilt got hammered by Texas A&M on Thursday, while South Carolina continued its Hoover slump by losing in weird fashion against Mississippi State. Neither team needs a win to get into the tournament, though South Carolina at least needs to put up a valiant fight to secure a regional hosting spot. My heart says South Carolina, but my head picks Vanderbilt.
ARKANSAS vs. LSU // 5:30 p.m. ET // SportSouth
The final two games of the day aren't worth nothing. Not only does the winner stay in, well, the winners' bracket, but they get a valuable bye on Friday as four other teams play elimination games. Again, Arkansas outlasted Ole Miss and LSU shut down Alabama. Neither team can change their stock too much with a win here, though Arkansas could bolster its case for hosting a regional. But LSU is probably just a better team right now.
MISSISSIPPI STATE vs. TEXAS A&M // 30 minutes after Arkansas-LSU // SportSouth
This could have more far-reaching implications for the NCAA field than maybe any of the other games played Thursday. Mississippi State is already making a case to host a regional, and Texas A&M is still trying to make a case for getting into the tournament to begin with. The Bulldogs took down South Carolina in dramatic style Wednesday night, while the Aggies delivered the tournament's first real upset against Vanderbilt. But until I see Mississippi State lose a game in this tournament, I'm not picking against them.