Four national seeds advanced to fill out Bracket 1. Huckleberry will be along shortly to tell us how many unique outcomes there are for the bracket. I'll just say that this bracket looks to be ridiculously competitive and well-balanced.
Bracket 1 has two SEC teams, one ACC team and one Big 12 team. Bad news for the Horns is that the SEC (15-9) and ACC (21-11) have dominated national postseason play. All schools not named Texas or A&M in the Big 12 went 2-8. So, uhhhhh....yeah.
UNC vs Vanderbilt is Saturday afternoon. Texas vs Florida is Saturday at 6pm. Both Round 2 games for the bracket will be played on Monday (6-20). Here's a look at the teams in Bracket 1:
North Carolina Tarheels
Record: 50-14 / 20-10
Team ERA: 3.26
Opponent Average: .246
Team Batting: .289
Runs per game: 6.95
Fielding percentage: .979
Season Summary: The Heels ripped through non-con play, only dropping 1 game in their first 14. Had some mixed results in conference play, but considering the strength of the ACC’s Coastal division, 20-10 is damn good.
Quick hits: - UNC has the most postseason wins in the country (37) over the last 5 years.
- The Heels are 12-6 in one-run games.
- UNC has made it to Omaha 5 of last 6 years.
My initial take: This team is like Texas with an offense.
Record: 52-10 / 25-9
Team ERA: 2.38
Opponent Average: .216
Team Batting: .319
Runs per game: 7.13
Fielding percentage: .973
Season Summary: The ‘Dores posted an identical 13-1 record to UNC is non-conference play. They proceeded to wreck shop in the SEC, but it’s noteworthy that they lost both their series to UF and South Carolina. Vanderbilt lost to Florida in the Finals of the SEC tournament.
Quick hits: - This is Vandy’s first CWS.
- Grayson Garvin was named SEC pitcher of the year and Tony Kemp is the SEC's freshman of the year. (But, the SEC picked a Razorback as their scholar-athlete of the year.)
My initial take: No Omaha experience + a reliance on talented freshman = 2 & 'Que.
Record: 50-17 / 26-9
Team ERA: 3.01
Opponent Average: .245
Team Batting: .311
Runs per game: 6.49
Fielding percentage: .975
Season Summary: The Gators’ season results read like DJ Khaled lyrics and considering their strength of schedule, that’s impressive. UF lost their season series against South Carolina in Gainesville, but won the Vandy series (Nashville).
Quick hits: - UF is making its second consecutive trip to the CWS.
- Their trip in 2010 was their first since losing to Texas in the ’05 Championship.
My initial take: Tons of talented arms and the best slugger in the tournament, Mike Zunino. On paper the Gators are the favorites in Bracket 1.
Record: 49-17 / 22-10
Team ERA: 2.27
Opponent Average: .196
Team Batting: .272
Runs per game: 5.22
Fielding percentage: .982
Season Summary: It was a wholly unremarkable season for the Longhorns. This is a team that didn’t lose much, but rarely dominated. The lone series loss of the year came at Oklahoma State.
Quick hits: - This will be the Horns’ 34th appearance at the CWS.
- In addition to their six national championships, Texas has also finished as runner-up at the CWS six times.
My initial take: "You have to know how to win the race, and the race is on." – Augie Garrido
I'll put up Bracket 2 tomorrow and try to get a more in-depth look at the Horns on Friday.