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College Midseason Report - The Regional Chase

April 9, 2004


See Also:   College Midseason Report
Midseason All-America Team

Here's how Baseball America editors Allan Simpson, John Manuel and Will Kimmey size up the 64-team field for this year's NCAA Division I regionals. The regionals will be held at 16 sites June 4-6, with the winners advancing to eight super-regionals June 11-14. Seedings are indicated, with the host school in bold and 30 projected automatic qualifiers indicated by asterisks.

 

1. *Stanford

1. *Long Beach State

1. UC Irvine

1. *Texas

2. Georgia

2. Washington

2. Arizona State

2. Arizona

3. Cal State Fullerton

3. *Loyola Marymount

3. *UNLV

3. *Lamar

4. *Albany

4. *New Mexico State

4. *Cent. Connecticut

4. *Bucknell

 

 

 

 

1. *Rice

1. Texas A&M

1. Nebraska

1. *Wichita State

2. Oklahoma State

2. Florida State

2. Tennessee

2. Oklahoma

3. So. California

3. Florida Atlantic

3. *Minnesota

3. Arkansas

4. *LeMoyne

4. Ohio State

4. *Miami (Ohio )

4. *Oral Roberts

 

 

 

 

1. Mississippi

1. *Louisiana State

1. Miami (Fla. )

1. *So. Mississippi

2. N.C. State

2. Virginia

2. *Central Florida

2. Auburn

3. *Birm.-Southern

3. *Charleston

3. South Florida

3. Pittsburgh

4. *Eastern Kentucky

4. *Southern

4. *Bethune-Cookman

4. *Princeton

 

 

 

 

1. Tulane

1. South Carolina

1. *North Carolina

1. *Notre Dame

2. Florida

2. Clemson

2. East Carolina

2. Vanderbilt

3. Stetson

3. The Citadel

3. William & Mary

3. *George Mason

4. Texas-Arlington

4. Coastal Carolina

4. *George Washington

4. *Illinois-Chicago

REGIONAL ANALYSIS

The Southeastern Conference gets a record nine bids. The committee will recognize the SEC's strength again, just like last year when the league's eighth bid went to Florida even though the Gators didn't make the conference tournament. Seven teams are currently in the top 25 and the other two, Georgia and Arkansas, each have their merits. The Bulldogs (19-10) swept a three-game series at No. 24 Florida for the first time ever, while the Razorbacks (20-10) took two of three games from No. 6 South Carolina. Alabama (19-11) might even have room for argument.

Schedule strength combined with late-season surges should be enough to secure bids for Cal State Fullerton (16-16) and Southern California (15-15). Both teams currently rank among the top 50 in RPI, numbers that should increase as the teams play out their conference slates. The Titans need to finish third or better in the Big West while the Trojans should get in by placing fifth or better in the Pac-10.

The Missouri Valley and Sun Belt Conferences haven't always been thought of as one-bid leagues, but they are this season. Southwest Missouri State and Creighton have made College World Series runs in the past, but aren't up to their normal standards in the MVC. South Alabama is down in the Sun Belt, and Florida International won't challenge New Mexico State for the title.

The last teams out of this 64-team field were Missouri (21-8), Oregon State (18-9), UNC Greensboro (20-7) and Georgia Tech (17-13) with the fifth spot a tossup between Cal Poly (28-12) and UC Riverside (19-13). That last spot was contingent on whether the Big West could get a fourth bid, or could be awarded if Fullerton can't rally in the second half. The Pac-10 likely won't get more than five bids, but Oregon State could factor in if Southern California can't finish strong.

Florida State and Arizona State play host to regionals as No. 2 seeds because of the need for a second Florida site and a third West Coast site because No. 1 seed UC Irvine won't submit a hosting bid.

Look for Princeton to be a tough No. 4 seed. The 12-10 Tigers have a very physical team packed with power at the plate and power arms on the mound. Junior righthander Ross Ohlendorf is a potential first-round pick who could make life very difficult for a No. 1 seed.

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