Sunday Summations- The Home Sweet Home Regional Edition

"Just when things went right
doesn't mean they're always wrong
just take this song and you'll never feel left all alone
just one more night and i'm coming off this long and winding road."
- Motley Crue, "Home Sweet Home"

(Sorry, I don't usually quote sappy heavy metal ballads. I'll do better from now on)

NCStateStadium.jpg
(Surprise! North Carolina State was awarded a home regional and will play in their fairly new revamped confines this weekend in the NCAA tournament)

When the post-season comes around, this is the way teams across the country feel about being rewarded for playing well and having a good season. They love playing at home. And until college baseball becomes like college basketball and can make things more fair by playing neutral site regionals, I guess we're stuck with these lucky SOBs playing at home this coming weekend:

ACC:
- Miami
- Florida State
- North Carolina
- North Carolina State

Big 12:
- Nebraska
- Oklahoma State
- Texas A&M

Big West:
- Cal State Fullerton
- Long Beach State

Pac 10:
- Arizona State
- Stanford

SEC:
- Georgia
- LSU

Others:
- Coactal Carolina
- Michigan
- Rice

Those are your 16 regional sites for the 2008 NCAA tournament. Love 'em or leave 'em.


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BEFORE THE 64-TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT IS MADE IN THE MORNING---
A couple things to keep in mind before they announce the tournament field tomorrow:

1- The Selection Committee
Here are the guys deciding our happiness or anger following tomorrow's announcement:
John Anderson, Minnesota coach
Michael Cross, Princeton AD
John D'Argenio, Siena AD
Dave Heeke, Central Michigan AD
Pat Murphy, Arizona State coach
Brian Quinn, Cal State Fullerton AD
Bobby Staub, Louisiana-Monroe AD
Larry Templeton, Mississippi State AD
Lynn Thompson, Bethune-Cookman AD
Tim Weiser, Big 12 commissioner

Three things immediately come to mind:
- There are only two head coaches on the committee and both of those are long-time antagonists to the NCAA selection committee and their past ways and means. Will probably bode well for the Northern and Western teams. 'Course that's just my gut reaction.

- No ACC representation

- Mostly Northern locales represented here. Think they'll give better treatment to the mid-majors than those old Southern and SEC-heavy committees used to? We'll soon find out.

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2- North Carolina State was awarded a regional before Georgia Tech was.
Tech won the only head-to-head match between the two (10-9), has a (slightly) better RPI and for the love of Pete at LEAST tried to play a decent team over a weekend by beating Coastal Carolina two games to one. For the record, NC State lost to CCU. The Wolfpack's only decent non-conference game in pre-ACC play was a 3-1 loss to Louisville. Weak. Very weak.

And with UNC already hosting a regional in the Research Triangle area, it seemed more logical for Tech to serve as a regional host.

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3- Only two SEC teams playing at home.
I think this is the one time where the NCAA selection committee finally sees a chance to make the SEC teams do the majority of the traveling. And why not? They're the programs that have all the money in college baseball. Since they've been having the luxury of staying at home most of these years, it's their turn.

And I don't mean just playing at N.C. State or at Coastal. I'm talking do like they've done to Western and Northern teams for years. Send an SEC team to Michigan. Send one to Long Beach. Send one to Stanford. Get them playing teams out of their region.

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4- No. 2 seeds hosting?
Mr. Templeton wouldn't go so far as to say that there would be a No. 2 seed hosting a regional, but it looks like Michigan and maybe even Stanford may end up as 2-seeds.

In 1999, there were five two-seeds hosting. In 2000, there were four. Fast-froward to last year and there were no 2-seeds hosting. So if that holds true, maybe the 16 host sites are going to be No. 1 seeds after all.

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5- I hope the committee uses common sense more than the RPI
I know, I know, I crab about the RPI an awful lot. But stitch-heads, it's only because I care and because it sucks. But I can't imagine why it is that teams that have played mostly nobodies, nearly all at home, in the pre-conference are the ones that have been handsomely rewarded. You know who you are out there.

Also, are Georgia Tech and North Carolina State really Top 10 teams? I don't see it. They're both living huge off of their games with the ACC heavy monsters at the top of the polls.

There are so many whacked RPI rankings out there it's not even funny.


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PUTTING THE BOOB IN BOOB-TUBE---
Before CBS Sports College Sports Tonight went on hiatus for the summer (which is horribly ill-timed for stitched-ball freaks like you and I), they had me on one last time to digest the home regional announcements, the national seeds and day-before bubble teams.

OnWithAmsinger.jpg
(My ugly mug on with Greg Amsinger on the College Sports Tonight show. Greg is a real cool dude and, believe it or not, he actually knows a good bit about college baseball and is very enthusiastic about our beloved sport. He's always fun to work with. On another note, I could use a tanning booth.)

So with assurances that I'm going to be wrong on a count or two or three, here's who I listed as my expected national seeds:

- Miami
- North Carolina
- Florida State
- Arizona State
- Rice
- LSU
- Nebraska
- Cal State Fullerton

I realize the Titans are might not be a top five RPI team, but they deserve a No. 1 seed and host site for playing another great schedule and being the co-Big West champions.

They asked me who I was most-suprised about receiving a home regional and of course, I mentioned the N.C. State thing. I wasn't sure that the Research Triangle would be able to score two regionals, much less support them. But Templeton pointed out that "it didn't come down to two ACC teams. The committee felt that their overall record, finish in the conference and their financial bid was enough to put them over the edge to get the home bid over Georgia Tech." So there you go.

Finally, I was asked about a couple of bubble teams and their chances at getting into the NCAA tournament.
1- Alabama.
I said that they would be OUT in my book. Take away a win over Dallas Baptist and they haven't beaten anyone worth a flip in weekend non-conference games. They haven't played anyone worth a damn either.
2- Arkansas.
The Hogs SURE don't deserve a bid. Ninth place finish in the conference? That's bad enough, but a 1-6 record against teams like Texas A&M, Nebraska, Oral Roberts and Arizona State means they don't deserve a bid. But I DID make sure to give the Razorbacks credit for at least trying to play good teams outside the SEC. Wish their mates would follow suit.
3- New Orleans.
Yes, they deserve a bid. No doubt about it. The Privateers went 2-0 at Alabama. 'Nuff said.
4- Oregon State.
I said they should be in. Not just because they are defending national champs. But just too many quality wins (beat SEC champ Georgia twice, won twice at Arizona State, etc.). And plus there is always the fact that they get waaaaay underrated in the RPI. That's why they've won two national titles despite having RPIs in the 20s and 30s going into the post-season.
5- Tulane.
I've struggled with them. But in the end, at least they tried to play good teams, with wins over TCU and UC Irvine. They also got a pair of wins vs. Southern Miss and a sweep at East Carolina. They're in. to hell with their No. 48 RPI.


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SOME PEOPLE STILL DON'T GET IT---
During the teleconference with NCAA selection committee chairman Larry Templeton, Michigan's selection as a host site was questioned by one of the members of the national media (the name will remain anonymous to protect the guilty). This was by the same writer that said "Michigan had no business winning the regional at Vanderbilt." My God, people don't seem to want to believe that good baseball is played by teams in the North.

Just to remind you, but yes, Michigan is that team that went to Vanderbilt last June and eliminated David Price, Pedro Alvarez, Ryan Flaherty and company. Ummm, they're good. In fact, even though they can't play the greatest schedule because of their location, they still went to places like Arizona, North Carolina and South Carolina, looking for good teams to play. You can't say that about a lot of the top teams out there.

At least they're not scared.

If you want to hear Mr. Templeton's press conference and the questioning of Michigan's worthiness to be a post-season host (it's at the end), just dial this number for a replay of it. But do it quick because it goes away after 24 hours:

402.220.1017

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It's about nine hours away from announcement time. I should get my 40 winks. Hope you're happy with the results.

G'night

Comments

Could they have put the #1 overall seed in a tougher bracket? Oh well... Miami is used to the competition. Bring it Crow!!!!

Any idea why CBS College Sports has opted not to televise a regional this year?

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Eric Sorenson Eric Sorenson
Eric Sorenson is CSTV.com's National Baseball Columnist, and also appears on CSTV as a baseball expert