The NCAA Baseball Selection Committee released their announcement of the postseason field of 64 teams on Monday. ESPN dedicated an entire 30 minute television show. I watched the French Open.
It's not quite the hoopla of March Madness...okay, so it's not even in the same multi-verse. However, this is an extremely level field of teams and I'm expecting a month of competitive baseball.
On to what matters, Austin was named a Regional host and the Longhorns were tabbed as the No. 7 national seed. Joining Texas in the Austin Regional are: Texas State, Kent State and Princeton. If you're looking for a a remake of the Punic Wars, find another Regional.
I opined earlier that Regional play could be trickier for this Texas squad than a traditional three-game series (like the Horns should see in a Super Regional). That was before this troika was gift-wrapped and sent to Austin.
It's not that Texas State and Kent State are bad. It's that they are precisely the types of teams that Texas needed in their bracket. Two small schools without a deep enough roster to pose a major threat.
Texas State won the regular season Southland Conference title and their tournament. Kent State won the MAC tournament for the third straight year. But, beyond Carson Smith (Texas State) and Andrew Chafin (Kent State), neither team poses a serious threat to sweep through three or four games against this level of competition. MLB scouts will be watching when Smith faces Chafin on Friday, but both teams need to burn their superstar arm to advance into the winner's bracket.
Six Big 12 teams made the tournament (Baylor, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Texas), which is only one shy of the 7 the ACC and SEC are sending (highest number for any conference). In addition to the Longhorns, the Aggies are the only other Big 12 team to host a Regional (Arizona, Seton Hall & Wright State).
Notably, Rice and TCU are also hosting Regionals. Lots of quality hardball being played across the state next weekend.
As the national No. 7 seed, Texas is guaranteed to host a Super Regional if they don't choke away the opportunity. The Longhorns would face the winner of the Tempe Regional which consists of Arizona State, Arkansas, Charlotte and New Mexico.
Gametime for Texas vs Princeton has been set for Friday evening at 6:30 PM. I'll have a more detailed look at the Austin Regional later in the week.