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SMITH COLUMN: MSU makes pretty good case for regional host

May 27, 2012


Mississippi State is a hot baseball team right now.

The Bulldogs are certainly turning up the heat on the NCAA Selection Committee.

There are several reasons for the committee to look MSU's way when it comes to awarding host sites for NCAA Regionals today.

With Saturday's 2-1 win over the Kentucky Wildcats in the semifinals of the Southeastern Conference Tournament, the Bulldogs have improved their record to 38-22. They have won 17 of their last 23 games and have seven wins against teams ranked in the top 15 over the last 10 days.

MSU swept Kentucky, second-ranked at the time, in the final SEC series of the regular season, then knocked off No. 14 Arkansas in the first round of the SEC Tournament, defeated No. 2 and top-seeded LSU twice and No. 12 Kentucky.

The recent on-the-field accomplishments for the Bulldogs are enough to get the attention of the committee. Having an on-campus stadium with the potential of holding 15,000 fans like Polk-DeMent Stadium at Dudy Noble Field has to be a feather in MSU's cap. It would be a shame to have a team with the credentials the Bulldogs have put together not to host a regional.

"We want to make things as difficult for the committee as possible," MSU coach John Cohen said on Saturday.

Unfortunately, it doesn't look like the Bulldogs will host even if they are able to win the SEC Tournament.

According to Mark Etheridge of, it may be a case of too much too late for MSU.

Etheridge is plugged into everything that is college baseball in the Southeast so he knows quite a bit about what's going on.

Even though the Bulldogs are one of the hottest teams in the country, Etheridge said that they are probably on the outside looking in as far as a host. He believes MSU is around No. 17 or 18 with only 16 spots available.

The host sites will be announced at 2:30 p.m. today by, the same time the SEC Tournament Championship Game between the Bulldogs and Vanderbilt Commodores starts.

MSU, which hasn't hosted a regional since 2003 and had a Super Regional in 2007, certainly deserves to host again and the fans would welcome the opportunity.

It's just something about the postseason that energizes the Bulldog fanbase. If the squad gives its supporters just a little bit of hope, they show up in great numbers.

Take Saturday for example, the attendance was 9,243 at Regions Park in Hoover, Ala., on Saturday and 90 percent or more appeared to be MSU supporters.

The NCAA committee can't go wrong by giving the Bulldogs a chance to host again.

It just wouldn't seem to be a good idea to have a 15,000-seat venue vacant the next couple of weeks when it could be filled easily.

Danny P. Smith is sports editor and columnist for the Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Daily News or its staff.

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