Potential rematches loom for LSU, many others in NCAA baseball bracket
While many are lamenting the fact that the NCAA baseball tournament pairings have the seeding potential to have a slew of conference matchups in the Super Regional round, is that such a bad thing for LSU?
If form hold in the opening weekend regionals, LSU will end up traveling to a familiar location in Athens to take on SEC rival Georgia in the super regional round.
The Tigers have already played the Bulldogs in Athens this season. In a conference weekend series March 22-24, LSU won game one by a 1-0 margin behind a brilliant pitching performance by Zach Hess before losing 2-0 and 9-7 in the final two games.
There is familiarity. There would be no fear.
As you look around the regional matchups this weekend, Pac 10 rivals UCLA and Oregon State are seeded to face each other in Los Angeles in the super regional round. Big 12 rivals Oklahoma State and Texas Tech are seeded to meet in the super regional round in Lubbock. ACC rivals Georgia Tech and North Carolina are No. 1 seeds who could meet in Chapel Hill in the round of 16.
Then, there is the SEC.
Aside from LSU and Georgia, Arkansas and Ole Miss are seeded to square off in Fayetteville.
Do not rule out Vanderbilt and Texas A&M meeting in the super regional round in Nashville as well.
The seeding process was not weighted to have conference rivals meeting for the right to go to Omaha. It was simply a matter of how the seeds worked out, based on merit.
The SEC tied the all-time record with 10 teams in the 64-team field and tied the record with four top eight national seeds. There is little doubt as to which conference is the best.
Interestingly, while Louisiana has three teams in the tournament, all three Division I playing baseball programs in the state of Nebraska made the field (Creighton, Nebraska, Omaha).
Many have lamented the presence of TCU in the tournament.
I have no problem with the Horned Frogs being in.
Their schedule was significantly tougher than the teams they competed with to get into the field. They have battled injuries. They have a proven track record. They have a ton of wins over top 50 programs (RPI).
West Virginia is hosting a regional for the first time since 1955.
Florida A&M (27-32) is the only team in the field with a losing record.
As for predictions, I have not seen UCLA play. I am sure the Bruins are quite good but it is hard for me to imagine that there is a more complete team than Vanderbilt, my pick to win it all.
3. Georgia Tech (First time hosting in eight years. Have not been to CWS in 13 years)
5. Arkansas (Runner-up a year ago)
6. Mississippi State
7. Louisville (Eighth straight NCAA appearance. Played toughest schedule in the ACC)
8. Texas Tech (Have been in CWS three of last five years)
12. Ole Miss
16. Oregon St.
Regional pairings, notes:
Los Angeles Regional
1 UCLA (47-8) vs. 4 Omaha (31-22-1)
Loyola Marymount (32-33) vs. Baylor (34-17)
1 Oregon St. (36-18-1) vs. 4 Cincy (30-29)
Michigan (41-18) vs. Creighton (38-11)
**All Pac-12 Super Regional possibility with seeds
OKC Regional at Bricktown Ballpark
1 OSU (36-18) vs. Harvard (27-14) 83 home runs for Cowboys
Nebraska (31-22) vs. U-CONN (36-23)
1 Texas Tech (39-17) vs. 4 Army (35-24)
Florida (33-24) vs. Dallas Baptist (41-18)
**All Big 12 Super regional possibility with seeds
Arkansas (41-17) vs. Central Connecticut (30-21)
TCU (32-26) vs. California (32-18)
Ole Miss (37-25) vs. Jacksonville St. (37-21)
Clemson (34-24) vs. Illinois (36-19)
**All SEC Super regional possibility with seeds
Baton Rouge Regional
LSU (37-24) vs. Stony Brook (31-21) 2012 rematch
USM (38-19) vs. Arizona St. (37-17)
Georgia (44-15) vs. Mercer (35-27)
FSU (36-21) vs. Florida Atlantic (40-19) Mike Martin retiring after 42 years
**All SEC Super regional possibility with seeds
Vanderbilt (49-10) vs. Ohio St. (35-25)
McNeese (35-24) vs. Indiana St. (41-16) First appearance in 16 years for the Cowboys
West Virginia (37-20) vs. Fordham (38-22) First time hosting for WVU since 1955.
Duke (31-25) vs. Texas A&M (37-21-1)
**Do not discount all SEC Super Regional
East Carolina (43-15) vs. Quinnipiac (29-27) ECU has never been to Omaha
Campbell (35-19) vs. North Carolina St. (42-17)
Louisville (43-15) vs. Illinois-Chicago (29-21) Top 8 national seed for fourth time in 5 years for Cards
Illinois St. (34-24) vs. Indiana (36-21) 90 home runs for Hoosiers
Mississippi State (46-13) vs. Southern (32-22) 1st NCAA in 10 years for Jaguars
Central Michigan (46-12) vs. Miami (39-18)
Stanford (41-11) vs. Sacramento State (39-23)
Fresno State (38-14-1) vs. UC Santa Barbara (45-9)
**All California regional at Stanford
Chapel Hill Regional
North Carolina (42-17) vs. UNC Wilmington (32-29)
Liberty (42-19) vs. Tennessee (38-19) Liberty has a win over UNC. First NCAA for Vols since 2005
Georgia Tech (41-17) vs. Florida A&M (27-32)
Coastal Carolina (35-24-1) vs. Auburn (33-25) CC won national title in 2015
**All ACC Super Regional if seeds hold
SEC ties tournament record with 10 teams and four Top-8 national seeds.
FSU with 42nd straight appearance in Mike Martin’s final season.
All three Division I baseball playing schools in Nebraska are in the field.
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