Monday, May 28, 2007

NCAA Baseball pairings announced...

...there will be MUCH more to come this week. I'll be reading and posting about the other teams in the region, and hopefully trrip will have a decent amount to say too. In the meantime, I'll just post the pairings for Big 12 teams and share some initial thoughts...

Columbia, MO Regional
1 Missouri vs 4 Kent State
2 Miami-FL vs 3 Louisville

I kind of figured we'd end up with a Missouri Valley team or something simply for the sake of attendance. They surprised me, however, by setting up a regional where Louisville is the closest team. Miami-FL is the big name in the bracket, and I assume a few people will be predicting them to win this regional. I haven't read much about Louisville or Kent State, but Miami's played a lot of big names this year, winning and losing their share. They had a very strange ACC Tournament, falling to Clemson in extra innings, beating Florida State...and then losing to 8-seed Wake Forest.

For Columbia Regional ticket information, click here.

I will say that, if Missouri makes it out of this regional, they lucked out very much getting a possible matchup with Arkansas in the Super Regional. Arkansas is the 7-seed, and it's close enough that a few Missouri fans might travel.

And speaking of the Fayetteville Regional...

Fayetteville Regional
1 Arkansas vs 4 Albany
2 Creighton vs 3 Oklahoma State

Creighton ended up in Fayetteville instead of Columbia, and I thought OSU might still have a shot at a 2-seed. Arkansas is obviously the favorite here, but OSU will travel well, and 10 days ago, they were one of the hottest teams in the country. Six straight losses (including four to Mizzou) later, they're one of the coldest teams in the country. Strange. Who knows what to expect out of them?

Houston Regional
1 Rice vs 4 Prairie View A&M
2 TCU vs 3 Baylor

Baylor's won 6 of 7 and 10 of 14, and they will take on a TCU team with an insane record (46-12). The winner of that matchup will be rewarded with a game against the #2 overall seed. Baylor is hot, and they have experience against both higher-seeded teams in the region (they lost to TCU, 6-3, and Rice, 7-0), but I'm not altogether optimistic about their chances because, even though they've played plenty of solid teams, they haven't beaten many. If Baylor does emerge from this region, they might face a pretty familiar foe, Texas A&M.

College Station Regional
1 Texas A&M vs 4 Le Moyne
2 UL-Lafayette vs 3 Ohio State

ATM found themselves at the last possible moment. A loss to Nebraska on the first day of the Big XII tournament gave them five losses in six games, and they had no chance of hosting a regional or getting a 1-seed. But then they broke off three straight dominating wins, beating Texas, Kansas State, and Baylor by a combined 28-11 and winning the Big XII Tournament. They ended up getting (I think) the #15 overall seed and will face probably the toughest challenge from UL-Lafayette, a team who had a decent case for a 1-seed themselves.

It stinks that these four Big XII teams are paired together the way they are (Missouri/OSU, ATM/Baylor). If all four teams win win their respective regionals (not that that will actually happen), only a maximum of two of the four would make it to Omaha.

Austin Regional
1 Texas vs 4 Brown
2 UC-Irvine vs 3 Wake Forest

Big XII (sorry, Big 12) Champ Texas ended up with the #4 overall seed, and they've drawn a pretty favorable regional here. They didn't play all that well in the Big 12 Tourney, giving up 10 runs to K-State (they did score 19, however), getting whooped by ATM, and squeaking by Nebraska. However, I figure the odds are pretty good that an Augie Garrido team won't go 2-and-done two years in a row (they hosted a regional last year and quickly lost to Stanford and NC State). Chances are, they'll win this region pretty easily. If they win, they'll face the winner of the Wichita Regional (1 Wichita State, 2 Arizona, 3 Oral Roberts, 4 New Orleans) in the Super Regional.

Tempe Regional
1 Arizona State vs 4 Monmouth
2 UC-Riverside vs 3 Nebraska

Nebraska limped to a 5-8 finish, and their 30-25 record is far from impressive. However, they got credit for a) playing a brutal schedule, b) finishing 14-13 in the Big XII and c) being Nebraska. I wouldn't expect them to advance here, but you never know. UC-Riverside is obviously good (ESPN had some good commentary about all the emerging mid-major teams on the West Coast during the selection show today), but you can never know what to expect with highly-ranked mid-major teams. If the Huskers can take the first game, they'll be in pretty good shape...though they'll still have to beat the #5 overall seed, Arizona State, twice.

If they do win this regional, they'll face the winner of the Oxford Regional (1 Ole Miss, 2 Southern Miss, 3 Troy, 4 Sam Houston).

The notable snub in the Big XII was Oklahoma. They played well in the Big XII tournament, and they hoped that (and their decent 34-24 record) would get them into the NCAA's, but an 11-16 conference record probably did them in.

Alright, more to come in later days, but I figured that might whet everybody's appetite...