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Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Updated: May 29, 9:47 PM ET
Snapshots for all 16 regional sites

By Teddy Mitrosilis
ESPN.com

There's the crushing case of Campbell, its 49-10 record earning it warm condolences for an early summer but no tournament bid.

There's the bewildered Ohio State Buckeyes, who finished second in the Big Ten only to be told by the NCAA selection committee, we'll take Indiana's conference title and Illinois' RPI and two is enough from your league, thanks.

Even among teams that made the tournament there are gripes, many of which pry at the committee's private love affair with regionalizing the regionals. That's why Clemson goes to Columbia, S.C., and no West Coast team leaves the time zone.

Every bracket concocts its own brand of bickering. So there's your tumbler of it to sip, but now we're done imbibing, because there's a lot to look forward to in this tournament. Good teams and good hosts.

Here are snapshots for all 16 regional sites, beginning with the eight national seeds (in order) and then the other eight sites. Seeds are in parentheses.

Chapel Hill, N.C.

Field: North Carolina (1), Florida Atlantic (2), Towson (3), Canisius (4)

UNC lost its final two ACC series -- to Georgia Tech and Virginia -- but batted its eyes at the selection committee by winning the conference tournament, and the committee rewarded the Tar Heels with the No. 1 overall seed.

Carolina has the ACC Pitcher and Player of the Year (Kent Emanuel and Colin Moran, respectively), offensive balance and a deep pitching staff. It shouldn't have any trouble advancing to the super regionals, where it would face the winner of the Columbia, S.C., Regional.

Canisius, who the Tar Heels face in their first game, does rank third in the country in on-base percentage (.418), but its .430 slugging percentage is plenty of reason for UNC to challenge in the heart of the plate. Florida Atlantic is short on bats and Towson is short on arms, but if there's one Cinderella to root for, it's Towson. It's the Florida Gulf Coast of this regional.

Nashville, Tenn.

Field: Vanderbilt (1), Georgia Tech (2), Illinois (3), East Tennessee State (4)

The Commodores were the nation's most dominant team in 2013. They punked the best conference in college baseball, didn't lose one series all season and reached the title game of the SEC tournament before losing in extra innings to LSU. No shame there.

For the No. 2 overall seed in the tournament, the committee didn't exactly sprinkle bread crumbs for Vandy to follow to the next round. We know Georgia Tech can score runs, pitch and is capable of beating anyone in a short series, but the Jackets aren't the only ones with a stinger in this regional.

In its opening game, Vanderbilt will see East Tennessee State ace Kerry Doane, a right-hander who has a 1.99 ERA and 20 walks in 140 (!) innings. If Vandy thinks it's going to chase Doane early and feast on the bullpen, Doane's dozen complete games are over in the corner blowing kisses. Nothing will jump out about Illinois, but the Illini did go 34-18 with the 40th best RPI in the country. Could they steal a game or two? Sure.

Expect Vanderbilt to advance, of course, but it wouldn't be a surprise if this regional goes to Monday.

Corvallis, Ore.

Field: Oregon State (1), Texas A&M (2), UC Santa Barbara (3), UT San Antonio (4)

They don't have Nike's knight of the Northwest. They don't have the same facilities, the same pop, as their in-state partner. No, all the Oregon State Beavers have is one of the nation's best coaches and most impressive programs tucked far away from baseball's boiling Southern cauldron. Pat Casey has a way with building baseball teams, and here is another iteration of his Beavers, the tournament's No. 3 overall seed.

Many think Texas A&M is way over-seeded at No. 2, UC Santa Barbara is a good story with a poor offense and UT San Antonio finished fourth in the WAC, but is here as the conference's tournament winner.

If there's going to be an upset here, it will be because the Aggies would beat the Gauchos in Game 1 and then throw Daniel Mengden at (presumably) Oregon State in Game 2, in which case they could take pole position in the regional and hope for Oregon State to fall flat at home. I don't see anything else keeping the Beavers from facing the winner of the Manhattan, Kan., Regional in the supers.

Baton Rouge, La.

Field: LSU (1), Louisiana-Lafayette (2), Sam Houston State (3), Jackson State (4)

There's something about a Louisiana pitcher named Nola lighting up Alex Box, isn't there? That'd be Aaron Nola, LSU's ace with a 1.94 ERA in 102 innings, and he'll be going in the Tigers' second game after, most likely, lefty Cody Glenn disposes of Jackson State in Game 1. On Sunday, right-hander Ryan Eades will wait for the leftovers and send LSU to the super regionals against the Blacksburg winner.

Oh, this is no disrespect to the other three teams in this regional. Louisiana-Lafayette won 41 games and can score runs, Sam Houston was first in the Southland and has some guys who can pitch, Jackson has some guys who can hit. But to beat the Tigers, you can't just poke at them; you have to maim them. And the only team in this group with the talent for that kind of brutality is LSU.

The Tigers are geauxing to the supers.

Fullerton, Calif.

Field: Cal State Fullerton (1), Arizona State (2), New Mexico (3), Columbia (4)

If you put Cal State Fullerton's pitching staff with New Mexico's offense, you might stumble into the most dominant team in college baseball history. The Lobos lead the country in scoring at 8.4 runs per game, and the Titans rank sixth in ERA (2.56) and first in strikeout-to-walk ratio (4.71). They aren't quiet polar opposites, because I think New Mexico is a better pitching team than it gets credit for because of the launching pad it plays in at home.

Arizona State is dangerous, because the Sun Devils have right-hander Trevor Williams, who is more talented than his his 4.17 ERA. He'll go against New Mexico in Game 1. Fullerton's staff is so deep that it might even throw its No. 3 starter, Grahamm Wiest, against Columbia.

If this regional goes to Monday with Fullerton and New Mexico playing to face the winner of the Los Angeles Regional, the first pitch won't be thrown until 11 p.m. ET. That will make Tuesday morning brutal, but Titans-Lobos in a winner-take-all game is one you don't want to miss.

Charlottesville, Va.

Field: Virginia (1), UNC Wilmington (2), Elon (3), Army (4)

UNC Wilmington ranks 30th in RPI, and I would love to see Mat Batts throw against Virginia. Would UNCW gamble and sit its ace in the first game against Elon? It'd be a brave move, but Batts is the kind of power arm -- 110 strikeouts and 26 walks in 105 2/3 innings -- who would have a chance of shutting down the Cavaliers.

Otherwise, this is a redemption run for Brian O'Connor's Cavs, who shook the stench of losing at home in the 2012 regionals by going 47-10 this season, but even five tomato baths wouldn't wash away the spray of first-round exits at home in consecutive seasons for the Cavaliers. It's not exactly Omaha or bust for them -- although losing to (most likely) Mississippi State at home in the super regionals would still sting -- because they are young and figure to be a top-five team in 2014.

But there's no question Virginia is plenty good to reach the College World Series, and there's no question something will have felt left on the table if it comes up short.

Tallahassee, Fla.

Field: Florida State (1), Alabama (2), Troy (3), Savannah State (4)

If winning a national title is simply a numbers game -- i.e. get to Omaha enough and you're bound to win one -- then Mike Martin could have another shot with Florida State. Paired up with the Bloomington, Ind., Regional, the Seminoles' road to the College World Series is not easy, but it is one of the more favorable ones.

First, of course, FSU has to win the regional, and this is a sneaky-fun group. Alabama feels like an over-seed at No. 2, a group light on arms and woefully light on bats, but it went through the SEC to get here and could steal a game. Troy -- who I like more than Alabama -- features Logan Pierce, Danny Collins and Trae Santos, three guys who should love hitting at Dick Howser. Savannah State's offense won't scare anyone -- it has seven home runs this season -- but Kyle McGowin has a 1.33 ERA with 129 strikeouts and 24 walks in 115 1/3 innings. That's a tough arm for a No. 1 seed to have to face in its first game.

I wouldn't be surprised if there's some funkiness in Tallahassee this weekend.

Eugene, Ore.

Field: Oregon (1), Rice (2), San Francisco (3), South Dakota State (4)

The Rice Owls rank 11th in the nation in ERA, but do they have enough offense around Michael Aquino to make it out of Eugene? The San Francisco Dons can pitch some and so can South Dakota State, with Layne Somsen and his 1.92 ERA leading the rotation.

But this regional feels a bit like Charlottesville, where the host has some simmering hostility saved from last season's disappointment. Oregon got to the super regionals last season, but losing at home to Kent State wasn't the second act of the play George Horton wrote. For these Ducks, like any Horton team, will pitch their way to wins, with a quality starting rotation leading to closer Jimmie Sherfy, who has a 1.67 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 37 2/3 innings.

From the Ducks to the Dons and everything in between, Eugene figures to be a regional about the arms.

Columbia, S.C.

Field: South Carolina (1), Clemson (2), Liberty (3), Saint Louis (4)

The Saint Louis Billikens aren't your beaten-down 4-seed, not with Alex Kelly hitting .340/.427/.546 to lead the offense and a stingy bullpen backing up a sturdy if not spectacular starting rotation. If an underdog is going to emerge from this regional, I think Saint Louis is the pick. The committee is giving Clemson No. 3 Liberty in its first game, which means it didn't give the Tigers death; they should handle Liberty quite easily.

But in brutal honesty, any game featuring Liberty and Saint Louis in this regional is going to feel like wasting time, not because of their unworthiness but because of the fervor for a South Carolina-Clemson final to advance to the supers. Some folks around those parts aren't happy the committee sent the Tigers to Columbia in the regional round, but after the moaners finish their final sentence, what we'll have is potentially one of the most charged fields among the regionals.

Raleigh, N.C.

Field: North Carolina State (1), Ole Miss (2), William & Mary (3), Binghamton (4)

NC State walked like a national seed, talked like a national seed … but alas, no national seed. The Wolfpack deserved one, but if we can cut through the thick layer of woe around Raleigh, the committee did the next-best thing: It handed the Wolfpack a fairly cookie-cutter regional. It will save ace Carlos Rodon for Game 2, which probably will come against Ole Miss. The Rebels rank 27th in ERA and had the nation's 20th-best RPI, and I see them as only a marginal threat to NC State here.

This has the feel of Rodon's show, doesn't it? After underperforming a bit (for him) this season, Rodon reminded us of everything he is by allowing one hit and striking out 14 in 10 innings against UNC in the ACC tournament semifinals. It was utter dominance delivered cold, the sort of helpless embarrassment Rodon can inflict on any team. He's the name to know in this regional, and if NC State comes out of it, it will likely be headed to Eugene to play Oregon in the supers, in which case Rodon will try to silence a few quacks and get the Pack to Omaha.

Los Angeles, Calif.

Field: UCLA (1), Cal Poly (2), San Diego (3), San Diego State (4)

This is the most balanced regional, in my opinion. UCLA's pitching is probably too deep and too good, with a terrific starting rotation leading to David Berg (0.70 ERA, 64 strikeouts and 7 walks in 64 innings) at the back of the bullpen. However, there is upset potential if the Bruins' offense whimpers this weekend.

Cal Poly finished second in the Big West and has enough arms to get through a regional, and San Diego State deserves credit for winning the Mountain West tournament, the only path for the Aztecs to the tournament. But I like No. 3 San Diego as the sleeper pick. Kris Bryant (.340/.500/.860, 31 homers) may just do it all himself, but the Toreros also have some arms, beginning with PJ Conlon (1.65 ERA in 82 innings). I can see USD pushing UCLA here.

Blacksburg, Va.

Field: Virginia Tech (1), Oklahoma (2), Coastal Carolina (3), Connecticut (4)

Blacksburg gets postseason baseball in its own yard, a terrific accomplishment for Virginia Tech and a refreshing development for college baseball. The Hokies reached the championship game of the ACC tournament, where they lost to UNC, but it was an indelible mark of accomplishment for this program, a validation of its place in the upper tier of a superior conference.

And yet, would anyone here be surprised if Oklahoma wins this regional? Anyone? With Jonathan Gray and Dillon Overton, the Sooners have a clear path to an undefeated Sunday, where they'd be one win from matching up with the Baton Rouge winner. Connecticut has a Stony Brookish feel and Coastal Carolina can take a team out to sea and drown it, but Oklahoma is the true threat lurking in this regional. I bet the Sooners hold Gray for Game 2, in which he figures to mow through the Hokies.

Louisville, Ky.

Field: Louisville (1), Miami (FL) (2), Oklahoma State (3), Bowling Green (4)

Interesting group here. The Hurricanes seem a bit over-seeded at No. 2, but they have enough arms to be dangerous in a condensed season. Oklahoma State may have the best 1-2 rotation punch in this regional, with Tyler Nurdin (1.83 ERA) and Jason Hursh (2.65). There's some light at the end of this regional for those clubs.

Still, Louisville is a powerful pest. The Cardinals' offense is built around on-base skills and thievery. Adam Engel has 40 stolen bases on a club that ranks third in the nation with 142 total bags. On the mound, starters Chad Green (2.09 ERA) and Jeff Thompson (2.09) are two healthy options. If you want to shorten the game and make it about bullpens, Louisville coach Dan McDonnell has closer Nick Burdi (0.88 ERA, 56 strikeouts, 30 2/3 innings) and his 100 mph fastball warming up right now, in fact.

The winner here probably goes to Nashville to play Vanderbilt in the supers, and that should be Louisville.

Manhattan, Kan.

Field: Kansas State (1), Arkansas (2), Bryant (3), Wichita State (4)

A new Big 12 host is refreshing, and Kansas State representing the league -- as opposed to a Texas or Oklahoma -- is a good thing for the sport. The Wildcats won 41 games, finishing first in their conference, and they can hit a bit. Bryant won 44 ballgames in the NEC and ranks 10th in ERA, and Wichita State is a good name.

But I'd be more than surprised if Arkansas doesn't come out of this regional. The Hogs are heated for not hosting, and the nation's top team in ERA didn't need any more kindling on its fire. Barrett Astin likely goes against Bryant in Game 1, with Ryne Stanek held back to face the Kansas State-Wichita State winner in Game 2. I like Arkansas in both of those games and as the team that heads to Corvallis to play Oregon State in the super regionals.

Bloomington, Ind.

Field: Indiana (1), Austin Peay (2), Florida (3), Valparaiso (4)

The third feel-good story in this tournament is more than just that. Unlike Virginia Tech and Kansas State, both of which have legitimate giants stuffed into the back pocket of their regionals, Indiana not only gets to host postseason baseball in Bloomington, it also is clearly the best team in its regional.

Sure, Florida is a big SEC name and lurks at No. 3, but the Hoosiers are the most talented team here and a legitimate College World Series contender. Kyle Schwarber is hitting .374/.459/.670 with 16 home runs, and Will Coursen-Carr (1.81 ERA) and Aaron Slegers (1.93) are only the appetizers on a loaded pitching staff that ranks seventh in the country in ERA.

Indiana should be the team headed to Tallahassee in the super regionals, and it wouldn't be an upset to see the Hoosiers in Omaha.

Starkville, Miss.

Field: Mississippi State (1), South Alabama (2), Mercer (3), Central Arkansas (4)

I pick Starkville as the regional with the most upset potential, because none of the underdogs can be overlooked. Central Arkansas ranks 15th in ERA and 12th in on-base percentage. Mercer ranks 13th in OBP and 16th in slugging percentage. South Alabama joins the OBP party at 22nd in the nation.

Mississippi State, at 28th, would rank last in this field in OBP. Oh sure, nobody else can claim Hunter Renfroe, and Jonathan Holder is nearly as good as it gets in the late innings, but the Bulldogs are vulnerable. They have talented starting pitchers but not dominant ones, and you'd expect a No. 1 seed to have at least one of those. At 43-17 and coming out of the SEC, you can't argue Mississippi State's place among the 16 hosts, but you can question its ability to survive the first weekend.

Today in Omaha: High of 84 degrees, isolated thunderstorms, 18 days until CWS Game 1.