Vanderbilt's quest for the SEC Tournament title fell short on Sunday with a 5-0 loss to Florida, and the NCAA Selection Committee decided that was enough to drop them out of the top five.
Vandy fans were met with a minor surprise as the Commodores fell all the way to the sixth seed in the NCAA Tournament, despite a 47-10 record and second place showing in the SEC Tournament. Their record was good enough for the #2 ranking in USA Today's Top 25 and nine first-place votes from the coaches who set the poll's order. As a result, their path to Omaha will start in Nashville with a run against Belmont, Troy, and Oklahoma State.
|2) Oklahoma State|
If the 'Dores can get through the double-elimination tournament this weekend, they may have an interesting matchup waiting for them. Oregon State and Georgia both lie on the opposite end of the paired bracket, and if either team advances, Vandy will have a couple interesting storylines to play off of. Commodore fans have become familiar with Oregon State's season through Baseball America's rankings, as the staff there consistently ranked the Beavers more highly than the Commodores throughout the season.
BA's Aaron Fitt seemed to have to defend his ranking decision on Twitter and through the site's weekly chat on a regular basis until the Beavers entered a late season skid. Oregon State dropped from a potential national seed with a five-game losing streak in which the team has only scored eight runs. Time will tell if they'll be able to rebound and win their Regional, or if an upset will be in store out in Corvallis. If the Beavers can win, they may get their chance to prove that they are a better team than the Commodores in 2011.
The Georgia storyline would be an even more familiar one, as the SEC East rivals have faced each other three times this season. Vanderbilt holds a 3-1 edge in the series and have won the last three games, including a 10-0 destruction of the 'Dawgs in the SEC Tournament. Creighton and Arkansas-Little Rock round out the Corvallis Regional.
|1) Oregon State|
|4) Arkansas-Little Rock|
Vanderbilt will start their NCAA Tournament run Friday evening against their crosstown rivals, the Belmont Bruins. Belmont went on a tear to win the Atlantic Sun Tournament, upsetting favorite Stetson in their opening game and rolling to the league title. They've already played at Hawkins Field once this season, falling to Vandy 6-2. We'll run basic breakdowns of the Bruins, Cowboys, and Trojans in the days leading up to the NCAA Tournament opener.