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SEC Baseball weekend preview: May 17-20

Last week of the regular season, time to put up or shut up.

2017 Division I Men's College World Series - Florida v LSU - Game 2 Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images

Tennessee at Missouri

A big series for both teams, as both want to make the SEC tournament. Tony Vitello returns to his alma mater to close the regular season. With the state Tennessee baseball was in, this was a very good first season under Vitello.

Mizzou needs the series for different reasons. The resume and the RPI is there for a regional, but the 10-17 conference record and missing the conference tournament would be a back breaker. A series win and then winning a few in Hoover would give them a regional berth.

Prediction: Missouri

LSU at Auburn

The Tigers have made a run in recent weeks to get themselves back into the regional talk. Auburn is safely in, and the Tigers should play with nothing to lose. The LSU Tigers, that is. One win gives LSU an even conference record, which would look good in the committee’s eyes.

Auburn is playing for seeding at this point. A series win would look nice, but the real chance to make an impact is in Hoover next week. The edge goes to the more desperate team here.

Prediction: LSU

#6 Arkansas at #16 Georgia

Arkansas has locked up a host, and is just playing the games on the schedule right now. Dave Van Horn just does his thing year in, year out.

Georgia keeps on winning. They are right on the edge of hosting range, and could really use another win over another top ten team. They have rose to the occassion multiple times this year, so what’s another time? Dogs.

Prediction: Georgia

#5 Ole Miss at Alabama

The conference season mercifully comes to an end for the Crimson Tide. At 7-20, they end with a top 5 juggernaut. There were signs of progress for Brad Bohannon, but they are not at this caliber yet.

Ole Miss is going to host a regional, barring a surprise by the committe and will use this as a tune up for the SEC tournament. Going forward, it will be curious to see how the Rebels handle late game pitching. Reliever Dallas Woolfolk left the team unexpectedly, which could hurt the bullpen come postseason play. The Rebs have depth, but Woolfolk has been a mainstay in the bullpen during his three years.

Prediction: Ole Miss

#1 Florida at Mississippi State

Florida is looking to go the entire season without losing a series, and all they have to do is win two games at Dudy-Noble field this weekend. There isn’t a whole lot to say about the Gators that hasn’t been said already, the defending champs will likely get the top overall seed in the NCAA Tournament as well.

The Bulldogs are in good shape with the RPI. If they can win even win one game here, and then one game in Hoover, they are a team to watch on Selection Monday. If Andy Cannizaro was still with the Bulldogs, their chances would be a little better here, but he’s not.

Prediction: Florida

#25 South Carolina at Texas A&M

Earlier in the season, Coach of the Year was a competition between Scott Stricklin and Kevin O’Sullivan. Mark Kingston has definitely entered the mix. Now being in the top 25, a top 40 RPI, and at least a .500 SEC record, they look in prime shape to make a regional. Throw in the 12th best SOS and their chances get a lot better. Win the series against the Aggies and that should about seal their bid. What a coaching job.

Texas A&M is in limbo this weekend. They aren’t going to host, and their regional spot is already locked up. They want to get to Hoover, and the edge goes to the hotter team.

Prediction: South Carolina

#19 Kentucky at Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt could really use this series win. The RPI and SOS is there, but 28-24 isn’t exactly appealing to a lot of people. Win this series against Kentucky and win a game or two in Hoover and they should be safe.

Kentucky will not host, barring a run in Hoover. Much like Texas A&M, they are already in, but won’t host, and can’t really move the needle much. The home team gets the advantage here.

Prediction: Vanderbilt