Three Louisiana schools in NCAA baseball field; can Cajuns make it four?
Monday morning at 11, the NCAA baseball selection committee will reveal the 64-team bracket for its 2023 tournament.
When it comes to Louisiana, some things we know, while others are awaiting answers.
LSU was a foregone conclusion to not only be in the field, but to host a regional for the first time in four years at Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field. The biggest question now is what seed will the Tigers get; even with their late-season falloff, Jay Johnson’s team is still expected to be a top eight seed, which would put LSU in position to host a super regional as well.
Two other Louisiana schools are assured of hearing their names called.
Nicholls is in the field for the first time in a quarter-century after winning the tournament championship of the Southland Conference Saturday, a week after the Colonels took home the league’s regular-season title.
Tulane – despite setting a school record for losses in the regular season and a seventh-place finish in the American Athletic Conference – put it all together this week to capture the American tournament title Sunday over the top seed, East Carolina.
That’s what we know.
Firmly entrenched on the proverbial bubble are the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns, who made a run to the championship game of the Sun Belt Conference tournament, losing to Southern Miss on Sunday.
With two wins over Texas State and then a dramatic doubleheader sweep of Coastal Carolina to reach the final, the Cajuns raised their RPI more than 20 spots. They were No. 46 at the start of the day and are unofficially No. 48 now.
Will 40 wins, including three over Coastal and one over LSU, and a tie for third in the Sun Belt – the fifth-ranked league in the RPI – be enough to land one of the last spots in the field?
Ironically, Tulane’s win shrunk the bubble by one team. Charlotte winning the Conference USA title over Dallas Baptist reduced it even further.
D1Baseball projected the Cajuns as the last team in on Sunday morning.
Nicholls and Tulane are almost certainly No. 4 seeds, which means they are headed to different destinations. Baton Rouge and fellow SEC West host sites Tuscaloosa and Auburn are possibilities for the Colonels and Green Wave. Ditto for the Cajuns if their name is called, most likely as a No. 3 seed.
Remember that the NCAA will try to keep teams within 400 miles of their home site, not just to help fans reach the games, but to allow them, by rule, to send teams by charter bus instead of air.
The announcement of regional sites Sunday night was mostly without drama. South Carolina came as a surprise to some, which gave the SEC a record eight regional hosts.
Southern Miss was certainly in the host mix after defeating Louisiana for the Sun Belt title on Sunday, but the Golden Eagles will be on the road as a No. 2 seed, most likely at an SEC site.
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Lenny was involved in college athletics starting in the early 1980s, when he began working Tulane University sporting events while still attending Archbishop Rummel High School. He continued that relationship as a student at Loyola University, where he graduated in 1987. For the next 11 years, Vangilder worked in the sports information offices at Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and Tulane;…