A look at the eight-team field set to play in Rosenblatt Stadium's final CWS.
Over the past few years much discussion centered around the future site of the College World Series, with the tournament outgrowing aging Rosenblatt Stadium. Omaha will continue to host the tournament into the foreseeable future, but it will move out of Rosenblatt next season and to the new, $128 million TD Ameritrade Park. Although neither Texas—winner of the first CWS at Rosenblatt in 1950 (as well as the last held at another site, 1949 at Wichita)—nor its coach Augie Garrido, who has won more CWS games at Rosenblatt than anyone--won’t be present, traditional powers, Florida State, Arizona State, Clemson, and South Carolina will be. TCU, UCLA, Florida, and Oklahoma round out the field.
While 14 of the 16 top seeds made the super-regional round, only three of the top eight national seeds will be making the trip to Omaha. Most notably, two of the nation’s top three teams throughout the regular season—Texas and Virginia—lost their super-regionals to underdogs TCU and Clemson.
A look at the four best-of-three series in the NCAA Tournament that begin Saturday.
The first three days of the NCAA Tournament went largely as planned, with nine top seeds advancing and five of the seven regional finales featuring the top two seeded teams. St. John’s and Minnesota were the only three and four seeds to finish the weekend 2-1 and force their regional hosts—Virginia and Cal State Fullerton—to play on Monday. Moreover, all of the top seeds made it past the first weekend, and only one national seed dropped one of their first two games, thereby having to win twice Sunday, and it wasn’t much of a test for Coastal Carolina as it drubbed Stony Brook 25-6. Two other hosts dropped their opening games and were forced to play sudden death doubleheaders Sunday as Auburn ousted Southern Mississippi and Cal State Fullerton finished of New Mexico in their respective first matchups of the day. Then, Auburn, Fullerton, and Coastal Carolina all won their nightcaps against rested foes, each forcing decisive Monday finales for their respective regions. Louisville, Miami, Arkansas, Virginia, and Georgia Tech each failed to win their only games on Sunday that could have punched their tickets to a super regional. While Coastal Carolina and Virginia managed to return to form on Monday and advance, regional host Auburn, as well as national seeds Louisville and Georgia Tech lost again Monday. Arkansas’ loss doesn’t change any travel plans, but with the brackets established to result in the winners of the Auburn and Atlanta regional meeting in the second round, No. 2 seed Clemson will host fellow 2 seed Alabama, despite not hosting a regional.
Here is the look at the four best-of-three super regionals that will be played Saturday-Monday.
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A look at the four best-of-three series that begin Friday.
Friday's four super regional matchups in the NCAA Tournament feature seven of the eight regional top seeds, and the eighth team—No. 2-seeded Vanderbilt—upset Louisville by the narrowest of margins, a 3-2 victory in the decisive seventh game of the regional. Overall, this year has been as expected—no three or four seeds advanced, only one second seed is hosting a super regional, and six of the eight national seeds are, as expected, hosting a super regional. Today, I’ll break down Friday’s super regionals in Austin, Tallahassee, Los Angeles, and Gainesville. Tomorrow the Tempe, Clemson, Myrtle Beach, and Charlottesville super regionals, which start on Saturday, will be previewed.
To win one of the 16 four-team regional tournaments and thereby progress to a best-of-three super regional, a team must win three games—either finishing 3-0 and wrapping up its business on Sunday evening, or 3-1 and winning a single winner-take-all Monday matchup against a team to which it has already lost. This year, eight teams (Oklahoma, Arizona State, South Carolina, TCU, Texas, Florida State, UCLA, and Florida) all top seeds—finished their regional undefeated.
Breaking down one half of the field of 64, which was announced Monday.
As discussed last week, the top five national seeds were guaranteed with Florida’s late surge and Coastal Carolina’s domination of their conference, leaving TCU, South Carolina, Louisville, UCLA, Auburn, Cal State Fullerton, and Georgia Tech vying for the final three national seeds. Prior to the conference tournaments, UCLA, Fullerton, and South Carolina seemed to be the front runners, though South Carolina cooled during the final week and seeding both UCLA and Fullerton seemed unlikely. Largely as expected, national seeds went to Arizona State, Texas, Florida, Coastal Carolina, Virginia, UCLA, Louisville, and Georgia Tech.
In the end, the biggest controversy wasn’t Georgia Tech receiving the final national seed over South Carolina, but Virginia being pushed down to fifth behind not only a surging Florida squad but also Coastal Carolina. Moreover, geographic necessities provided Connecticut with a regional as the only team north of the Mason-Dixon line, despite significantly stronger resumes from Florida State (the No. 1 seed in the Norwich regional), Vanderbilt, and Clemson.
Winnowing the wheat from the chaff out in the grain belt.
With the draft now in the rear-view mirror, college baseball's focus returns to the diamond in the weekend ahead, as eight programs have made the annual trek to Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Nebraska for the College World Series. Four months ago, when I released my Pre-season NCAA Top 25, half of the CWS teams were in the top eight: Louisiana State, Texas, Cal State Fullerton, and North Carolina. I said then that "six programs stood out as the cream of the crop," and 60 games later, two-thirds of those praised programs validated the rankings. Arizona State, who found a home at #23 near the bottom of the rankings, as well as Arkansas, Virginia, and Southern Miss, proved themselves consistently during the season to make it this far. In Omaha, as Fresno State proved a year ago, all teams are equal.
With 16 quartets squaring off, a quick overview of the matchups and likely outcomes as college baseball's postseason gets in gear.
Tomorrow the second season begins in college baseball, kicking off a few weeks that will give scouts a final chance to grade prospects, give many players their final hurrahs, and give fans some of the most dramatic baseball available. Since the bracket was released in full on Monday, we've had time to lodge complaints about the mistreatment of Virginia, the snubs of Rhode Island and Eastern Illinois, and the bids handed to Oklahoma State, Baylor, and Southern Miss. All that can be put to rest tomorrow, as Virginia faces put-up or shut-up time against Steven Strasburg, and the lucky bubble teams have a chance to prove that they belong.
With post-season play getting underway on college diamonds, we get that much closer to learning who's in and who's out.
The college game's postseason began in earnest across the nation last night, as conference tournaments kicked off their action from the Atlantic Ten to the Sun Belt, and from Honolulu to Trenton. With rainy season finally coming to a close in the north, it looks like we should have a clean weekend filled with baseball to carry us through to Selection Sunday. The road to the College World Series begins with regionals in one week, which will take us straight through to Omaha in June.
A broad scan of the college conferences and all the teams that are in, on the bubble, and vying for an invitation to June Madness.
Don't worry, I'm not going to make an argument that it's as good as March Madness. For fans of college baseball, though, May and June allow for a degree of projection and anticipation similar to what the college basketball tournament offers us every March. With just two weeks of regular season and one week of conference tournament play to go, college baseball's postseason is right around the corner. For some teams, the year is essentially over, and for others, it's time to sleep until the May 29 regionals. For the rest, the next three weeks are of the utmost importance, and during that time, we'll do our best to narrow the field.
Halfway into the college season, sorting through who might be seeded where, and how they can improve their lot.
There is no All-Star break in college baseball, so the halfway point of the season isn't some in-season pause that everyone can see. It's been seven weekends since the season began, however, and we have seven more weeks to endure before we start arguing about the field of 64. For now, the best tool that we have to use as a measuring stick is Boyd Nation's simulation of the NCAA Ratings Power Index (RPI), which ranks by a formula using 25 percent win percentage, 50 percent opponents net win percentage, and 25 percent win percentage of opponents' opponents (along with a weighting for home and away games). When the committee hosts its conference call to explain their reasoning for specific choices within the field of 64, no numbers are cited more often than those of the RPI.
Is this the best TCU team yet? Plus matchups and early-season weekend showdowns from the college game.
When coach Jim Schlossnagle leaves Fort Worth, dominance in the Mountain West Conference notwithstanding, the caliber of pitchers that have passed through Texas Christian University is likely to be his most important legacy. Consider that in the last four June amateur drafts the Horned Frogs have seen six pitchers taken in the first five rounds. In 2005, Lance Broadway became the school's first-ever first-round pick, a feat duplicated last year by Andrew Cashner. In 2007, ace Jake Arrieta fell to the fifth round before signing for first-round money.