Bracket season still going strong

Published 12:41 am Sunday, May 30, 2010

My desk usually isn’t the cleanest place in the world.

I’m one of those people whose desk looks like it’s in constant disorder, but it’s not. I know where everything is.

But this week, a problem has cropped up in my desk maintenance that is usually a common problem this time of year — brackets.

First it was high school basketball playoff brackets featuring all the local teams that covered my desk.

Then it was the NCAA basketball tournament brackets.

After that was over, high school baseball playoff brackets took over.

And now that all the high school athletics have concluded for the school year, a new type of bracket has overtaken the wood on my desk.

Yes, college baseball tournament season is here in full force.

The conference tournaments wrap up today and the NCAA regionals begin next week.

And thanks to some hot play down the stretch, several local teams have a chance to keep the brackets piled up on my desk for a while.

There are two area teams in the SEC that are bound for regionals, and one of them might just make some unexpected noise when they get there.

Just one week ago, the LSU Tigers were left for dead.

LSU had lost 14 of its last 18 conference games and barely qualified for the SEC tournament, squeaking in as the No. 8 seed with a 14-16 conference record.

But once the Tigers got in the tournament, they started playing like last year’s national championship team.

LSU has breezed through its first three games of the tourney, including an 8-0 victory over Ole Miss in Saturday’s semifinals.

LSU will face Alabama today and with a win would claim its third straight SEC tournament championship, a feat that has never been accomplished.

LSU probably won’t host a regional, but the Tigers will be a dangerous team as a regional No. 2 seed.

Ole Miss is another team that most likely won’t host a regional, but could be a threat to advance to the super regionals, especially with ace Drew Pomeranz.

The Rebels overachieved this season and finished with a 16-14 conference record.

After a 2-2 showing in the SEC tournament, Ole Miss will need to get its bats heated up if it wants to advance to its first College World Series in almost 40 years.

And don’t look now, but Southern Miss is trying to replicate last year’s success, when the Golden Eagles turned a so-so regular season into a College World Series berth by getting red hot down the stretch.

USM needed to win the Conference USA tournament to advance to the regionals with an automatic berth, and the did just that, beating Rice in Saturday’s championship game.

After a very slow start to the season, Southern Miss seems to have momentum going its way, just like it did last year.

So whichever regional the Eagles get put in, the opponents better watch out.

The feel good story of the conference tournaments might just be Alcorn State.

The Braves have never won a SWAC tournament championship, and had a tough road this year as the No. 3 seed from the East Division.

However, the Braves have taken two come-from-behind victories in the tournament and now are just one victory away from their first tourney title and an NCAA regional berth.

So with the great success of the area college baseball teams, it looks like my desk might be a little more cluttered for another week or two.

But I don’t mind. And I’m sure the fans of our area college teams don’t mind either.

Jeff Edwards is the sports editor for The Democrat. He can be reached at sports@natchezdemocrat.com, or by phone at 601-445-3632.