Mississippi State started off their trip to Hoover with a 4-1 win over Alabama, but it soon turned sour for the Bulldogs. State went on to drop a 6-2 decision to LSU on Thursday and got eliminated with a 12-2 run rule at the hands of Florida.
This leaves the number one seed heading home before the semifinals. But, this isn't a bad thing for State. Sure, we really didn't play that well in Hoover. Sure, we got annihilated by two teams we beat in the regular season. Not winning the SEC Tournament as a one seed is disappointing. But, this isn't anything to worry about.
I'm not going to straight up say that the SEC Tournament doesn't matter, but it matters less to a team like State. We're the regular season SEC champions. At this point, we're pretty much locked up for a national seed. I don't think that our seed will drop due to our performance in Hoover, but if it does, it won't be earth shattering. Regardless of if we went 0-2 or won the tournament, we're still going to be a national seed.
The only teams that need to perform well in Hoover are clubs that are fighting for a NCAA Tournament berth, host spot, or a national seed. This year, examples are schools like LSU, Vanderbilt, or Ole Miss. LSU and Ole Miss are both performing particularly well because they have an incentive or which to play.
With the exception of a game one win over Texas A&M, Vanderbilt didn't play well in Hoover, but we've seen that they can rebound from that with a decent showing in the NCAA Tournament the last couple of years. And that's what we need to do. We need to get Hoover behind us, because in our case, it isn't important. What truly matters is what starts next week: the NCAA Tournament. Our team is capable of reeling off a long postseason run, and Hoover isn't a part of that.
We've seen teams in the past struggle in Hoover but excel in the NCAAs. The road ahead of us is what actually matters. Get Hoover behind us and just win.