Aaron Fitt and John Manuel blog while watching the announcement of the NCAA baseball tournament, live from the BA Breakroom, catered by Bojangles . . .
John: Before the broadcast begins, let’s reset our 16 regional hosts, listed by conference:
ACC (4): Florida State, Miami, North Carolina, North Carolina State
Big 12 (3): Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M
Big West (2): Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State
Pac-10 (2): Arizona State, Stanford
SEC (2): Georgia, Louisiana State
Big South (1): Coastal Carolina
Big Ten (1): Michigan
Conference USA (1): Rice
We’re tickled to have two regionals here in Wake County, North Cack-a-lack, which should afford us prime regional viewing. Now we want to find out who we’ll get to see up-close and personal.
We’ve got a couple of leaked regionals and rumors to report, though. We hear the Top Eight national seeds are: Miami, North Carolina, Arizona State, Florida State, Cal State Fullerton, Stanford, Louisiana State and Georgia. The obvious shocker there is Stanford as the No. 6 seed and Rice not in the top eight seeds. That said, no top eight seed has won the national championship since Rice in 2003, so it might be a good thing for the Owls.
We’ve also heard about the regional fields at Tallahassee and Raleigh (N.C. State). Florida State, Florida, Tulane and Bucknell will be seeds one through four in Tallahassee, while N.C. State has South Carolina (2), Charlotte (3) and James Madison (4) coming to town.
Aaron: Of course, that’s why they are called rumors. Stanford was NOT a top eight national seed, and Rice was. Here’s the top eight: Miami, UNC, Arizona State, Florida State, CS Fullerton, Rice, LSU and Georgia.
Arizona as the No. 1 seed to Michigan is the first big news. UC Davis and Arkansas are off the bubble and in the same regional. The Aggies getting in probably is a bad sign for Oregon State; those teams had similar resumes, UC Davis had the higher RPI and higher finish in its conference, but both were in the bottom halves of their conferences.
John: My current hometown, Cary, N.C., gets an interesting regional with UNC Wilmington and Elon as the 2 and 3 seeds at North Carolina’s home away from home, the USA Baseball National Training Center. Coastal Carolina as a one-seed is impressive; Coastal’s administration did what it had to do to make a regional happen at home for the Chanticleers.
What a story LSU is, and New Orleans gets in as a No. 3 seed, so the Privateers are off the bubble. St. John’s also in, so the Big East gets two bids. How about Dallas Baptist a 2 seed? Not only are the Patriots the first independent team NOT named Miami to get in since 1992, but they are a No. 2 seed. Amazing.
Aaron & John: Oklahoma gets in as a 3 seed, but not Oregon State. Unbelievable frankly. Hard to believe Oklahoma gets in but not hard to believe Oregon State was left out for me. The Beavers won 28 games, and that’s not enough. How it’s OU over Oregon State, well, that’s one that has Aaron and me scratching our heads. College of Charleston is the team that seems to have been left out, with only one Southern Conference team getting in.
Oklahoma coach Sunny Golloway really thought his club should get more respect nationally, he’s strident in that regard when it comes to the Top 25 rankings and also when it comes to NCAA tournament regionals. Coach Golloway really has no room to make that argument anymore after this team gets in with a 9-17 conference record, the worst league record I can recall since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in ’99.
So Charleston went 39-20, 18-9 in the SoCon. It looks like the big problem for the Cougars is a lack of quality wins outside the SoCon—the Cougars lost every time it played teams such as Clemson, Coastal Carolina and South Carolina.
What a fast-paced show on ESPN, and always good to see BA alum Will Kimmey on the broadcast alongside the voice of god, Kyle Peterson. (But "Buster Posey is the avocado?" Come on Will . . . ) Little more focus on players this year at the end of the show than in past shows, as ESPN tries to get regular baseball fans, not just college baseball fans, to tune in. It’s pretty easy to do considering the recent graduates who have gone from Omaha to the big leagues in short order.
We’ll have much more formal reaction coming up after the teleconference.