The Book of Mike

"This is no junior college. This is the notorious University of Miami.” -- Marlins starter Dontrelle Willis, after getting knocked around for six runs in 2 1/3 innings by the Canes.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Tourney Time

Pairings for the 64-team NCAA regionals were announced over the long weekend. As always, there were a few surprises, but for the most part things went as expected. Miami was awarded an at large berth. This marks the 33rd straight trip to college baseball's post-season. That's the longest current NCAA post-season streak in any sport (and Florida State fans are quick to note that the Noles are right behind the Canes, having appeared in 28 straight regionals).

Miami and FSU were amongst the 16 teams who were awarded number one seeds and who will host their regionals this coming weekend (oddly, no number one seeds will travel to other schools this weekend, as has been the case in recent years). Neither Miami nor FSU received a national seed though. The top 8 seeds are:
  1. Tulane
  2. Georgia Tech
  3. Nebraska
  4. Baylor
  5. Mississippi
  6. Cal-State Fullerton
  7. Florida
  8. Oregon State

Don't feel too badly if some of those schools surprise you. There have been a lot of twists and turns throughout this year. Traditional powers like LSU and Stanford have been down. North Carolina didn't live up to expectations. Miami faltered badly at the end of the year.

I'm going to go the easy route with my prognostications for the regionals and take all of the #1 seeds, with a few exceptions. I'll take NC State to take out Nebraska (maybe I'm just hoping for that as it would allow Miami, should they win this weekend, to host a Super Regional).

I also like North Carolina to come out of the Florida regional. Go ahead and accuse me of being ACC-biased, but UNC has a lot of pitching and pitching wins this time of year. The Gainesville regional is a tough one though - Notre Dame and Stetson are no slouches.

I'll also take Southern California to come out of Long Beach State's regional.

I also like Winthrop to take the Tennessee regional. The Vols have no business being a number one seed. Winthrop does.

So that leaves me with 12 number ones plus NC State, UNC, Southern Cal, and Winthrop in the Super Regionals.

Random thoughts:

  • I'm not sure why Nebraska was rewarded with a national seed, let alone #3 overall. Should things play out as the Canes hope this weekend, that should set up about as favorable of a Super Regional as the Canes, mired in a six-game losing streak, could expect - even if they do have to travel for it.
  • Florida and Florida State are set for a Super Regional matchup. That could be a classic. I'm just glad that Miami didn't get paired with Florida. I would have hated to see the Canes season end against the Gators - although with all the pain the Canes have inflicted upon the Gators in recent years, I suppose Miami is due to find themselves on the short end of things.
  • Auburn will make things tough for the Noles this weekend.
  • No one did Rice any favors. They travel to LSU this weekend. Alex Box Stadium is about as tough of a college venue to win in as there is. If they survive, they'll likely face Tulane in the super regionals. It sure feels like that bracket was set up to guarantee a favorable Super Regional for television, as it will most likely feature Tulane versus LSU or Rice. It might not seem like a marquee matchup to some folks, but in college baseball those are three premier teams, especially when they play each other.
  • Clemson also didn't catch a break with their regional. They likely deserved a national seed - certainly above Nebraska. To make matters worse, they get the College of Charleston in their regional, which is a legit top ten club. The one bright spot for Clemson is that CoC might be knocked into the loser's bracket early by Oral Roberts, which features some good pitching.

6 Comments:

  • At 1:22 PM, May 31, 2005, Anonymous wiggins said…

    Doesn't Coastal Carolina have to go out to Tempe as a number one seed? That seems cruel.

    Maybe they and East Carolina can carpool...

     
  • At 1:29 PM, May 31, 2005, Blogger Mike said…

    You know, I think you're right. The official bracket that I got from the NCAA site lists Coastal Carolina as the #1 seed with an asterisk, indicating that they are also the host.

    I'd read elsewhere that ASU is hosting their regional, so I guess my bracket isn't 100% correct.

    That was one of the picks I struggled with. That should be an interesting series (I have a hard time with that one always, as I grew up on ASU baseball).

     
  • At 1:38 PM, May 31, 2005, Anonymous wiggins said…

    Unfortunately for me - I'm so far removed from being able to keep up with this stuff anymore that I have absolutely now feel for who is good, and why. I just have to root for FSU from afar and then watch what I can of whatever is on TV (the CWS, mostly, I guess - I hope the Noles make it that far, but They might be lucky just to make it to UF, from what I gather).

     
  • At 1:48 PM, May 31, 2005, Blogger Mike said…

    I don't think it's just you. I don't think anyone has a great idea as to who the final 8 are going to be this year. There seems to be more depth, or maybe it's parity, this year.

    I actually like FSU's chances to make it through this weekend better than UF's. UF is probably the better team right now, but North Carolina is in their regional and they have a lot of pitching. Notre Dame could make things difficult for the Gators too.

    It's so tough to say though. Between the weather, kids being tired (or not), and any number of other things, it's hard to say what will shake out. Still, this is my favorite tournament/post-season of all - college or pro.

     
  • At 1:51 PM, May 31, 2005, Blogger Mike said…

    Oh, and Coastal Carolina's fate even things out, to some degree, for Arizona State. Last year or the year before - while their ballpark was under construction - they were sent to Cal-State Fullerton. ASU was a national seed that year.

     
  • At 1:51 AM, June 01, 2005, Anonymous craig said…

    I would have naturally preferred Rice to be at home and against easier opponents but this is not as bad as it seems. LSU and Tulane are no mysteries and it is just a renewal of old rivalries. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't but it is always a great contest.

     

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