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Around the Bases: Baseball is Finally Here


Previewing the best of the weekend and a couple of the season's storylines

FOURTH IN A ROW? If there's a sport in which the SEC is probably actually as dominant as it appears in football, it's baseball. Last year's seven teams in the NCAA tournament was a little low given recent history; just the same, the SEC had three of the eight teams that went to Omaha and two of the teams in the finals. Florida, South Carolina and Vanderbilt were all national seeds. And South Carolina took home its second trophy in as many years and the third straight for the SEC. For now, a lot of folks are going with Florida as the favorite this year.

EAST VS WEST: It wasn't as pronounced as the divisional gaps in some of the other SEC sports over the last few years, but there was a pretty profound difference between the SEC East and the West last season. Okay, it was probably just as bad as the gap between the divisions in the other sports. Nice seasons by Mississippi State and Alabama didn't quite offset down years by perennial powers LSU and Ole Miss, and the SEC West struggled a little bit as a result. This year, they look to get back on more equal footing.

BEST BET OF THE WEEKEND: VANDERBILT AT STANFORD: Yes, if this were a football game from five years ago, there would be no reason to regret it's not on television. But Vanderbilt and Stanford are both Top 10 teams according to Baseball America -- the Cardinal are No. 2 and the Dores check in at No. 10 -- and there's not a television camera to be found, so this is only the best bet if you don't mind Gametracker.

BACKUP: FLORIDA VS. CAL STATE-FULLERTON: Another matchup of ranked teams, the opening game of this one is on television for those who get Fox Sports Florida. Tune in at 7 p.m. ET to see the favorites for this year clash with one of the most consistent teams in college baseball. Ole Miss also plays TCU if you can find a radio that gets that one.