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Take One

I'm taking a break from French Open Coverage. Yeah, I watch tennis. So? C'est bon!

During my break, I used Nickel's blueprint and broke into Cubicle a la Carnivale and found a note from Sailor. I think it read, "Why are you here?", but can't be sure because it was written in hieroglyphs. I was never good with pictures.

Below is a first look at the NCAA postseason baseball field - the Road to Omaha, if you prefer. It was just announced, so it's too early for solid analysis. According to the mainstream media, timeliness is much more important than accuracy. Just ask their sources. Confirmed!

Here's a quick breakdown of the field of 64. I am sure to blather throughout the week on the topic, so if you don't like this one, there's that. Or the French Open, if you prefer.

Regional Site: Tempe, AZ
1. Arizona State (National #1)
2. San Diego
3. Hawaii
4. Milwaukee
FanTake FirstTake: Gift-wrapped by the committee. The Sun Devils have earned it in many minds. They should breeze at home.

Regional Site: Austin, TX
1. Texas (National #2)
2. Rice
3. Louisiana-Lafayette
4. Rider
FanTake FirstTake: There were 2 teams that I had no interest coming to Austin….LSU and Rice. Neither one was going to be intimidated by the Horns. We now know the Owls are coming to Austin. Even though this is not a typical Rice team, they are playing well and will be a tough out. Texas is still the pick, but there will be pucker moments.

Regional Site: Gainesville, FL
1. Florida (National #3)
2. Florida Atlantic
3. Oregon State
4. Bethune-Cookman
FanTake FirstTake: The Gators can be had in my opinion. The Beavers are more of a threat than FAU, who will cower when they see the big, bad team from their home state in the other dugout. OSU can do everything well when they are focused. Gators and Beavers will be wrasslin’ in the final game.

Regional Site: Myrtle Beach, SC
1. Coastal Carolina (National #4)
2. College of Charleston
3. North Carolina State
4. Stony Brook
FanTake FirstTake: Personally, Coastal is a fraud this high. They can play, but their schedule was horrendous. Even Boise State thinks they played a soft schedule. NCSU is good, but inconsistent. I know very little about CoC. Less about The Brook. Begrudgingly, my call is Coastal Carolina…..but they will lose once.

Regional Site: Charlottesville, VA
1. Virginia (National #5)
2. Mississippi
3. St. John’s
4. VCU
FanTake FirstTake: UVA is good. Real good. Ole Miss potentially has the best player in the tournament, but he is not enough to beat the Hoo’s by himself. Cavaliers advance.

Regional Site: Los Angeles, CA
1. UCLA (National #6)
2. LSU
3. UC-Irvine
4. Kent St.
FanTake FirstTake: Did Rip Van Winkle trip over LSU and wake them up? The last 10 days indicate LSU is peaking at the right time. UCLA will not go quietly, as they have an outstanding collection of pitchers. The early pick is UCLA, but LSU is tempting.

Regional Site: Louisville, KY
1. Louisville (National #7)
2. Vanderbilt
3. Illinois State
4. St. Louis
FanTake FirstTake: I simply do not trust Louisville to play well enough to emerge here, despite a rather weak Regional. Illinois State has some talent, but I expect Vandy to be the team to give the Cardinals problems. The Commodores held their own in the SEC and that will serve them well here.

Regional Site: Atlanta, GA
1. Georgia Tech (National #8)
2. Alabama
3. Elon
4. Mercer
FanTake FirstTake: Buzz is like the hometown Atlanta Braves – great in the regular season and the team everyone wants to play in the postseason. Alabama is hotter than August and will travel well to Atlanta. I like the Tide to go undefeated and emerge from this Regional.

Regional Site: Norwich, CT
1. Florida State
2. Connecticut
3. Oregon
4. Central Connecticut
FanTake FirstTake: FSU is harder to figure out than a woman, so I stopped trying. Connecticut is good, but were not solid enough to win their own conference tournament. The Ducks are capable and Central Connecticut is a four seed. Reach in and pick a name out and you’ll be as accurate as a prediction here.

Regional Site: Auburn, AL
1. Auburn
2. Clemson
3. Southern Miss
4. Jacksonville State
FanTake FirstTake: If you like offense, this is your Regional. If you like competitive games, this is your Regional. If you want to pick a team that is going to lose in the Supers, this is your Regional. I will guardedly take Auburn.

Regional Site: Coral Gables, FL
1. Miami (FL)
2. Texas A&M
3. FIU
4. Dartmouth
FanTake FirstTake: This is a pretty favorable draw for the Aggies. Miami is good, not great. FIU will attract all the media attention because of Garrett Wittels, but their run is done. And Dartmouth? Well, at least they made it this far. Take A&M but don’t bet their farm.

Regional Site: Norman, OK
1. Oklahoma
2. California
3. North Carolina
4. Oral Roberts
FanTake FirstTake: The Sooners played their way into a host site, but that came courtesy of a weak Big 12. The only thing consistent about California is how mediocre they are. North Carolina has the postseason experience and it appeared that their young team finally started to click late in the season. ORU is the second-best fourth seed. Pick a team, any team. But pick without confidence. My pick is UNC.

Regional Site: Fullerton, CA
1. UC-Fullerton
2. Stanford
3. New Mexico
4. Minnesota
FanTake FirstTake: The Titans played poorly early in the season and then closed as one of the country’s best teams. If they had played early like they did late, then they would be a national seed. Minnesota is the strongest fourth in the field. This is a competitive bracket, but UC-F is too good.

Regional Site: Columbia, SC
1. South Carolina
2. Virginia Tech
3. Citadel
4. Bucknell
FanTake FirstTake: The Gamecocks are a solid club. The Hokie baseball team takes too many pointers from Frank Beamer – a few great pieces, but not enough good ones to finish the job. Citadel and Bucknell are innocent bystanders in Columbia. In the nation’s best mascot battle, it will be Hokie Bird vs Cocky for the title.

Regional Site: Ft. Worth, TX
1. TCU
2. Baylor
3. Arizona
4. Lamar
FanTake FirstTake:
Dear TCU,
We’re very sorry we didn’t give you a national seed. Please accept these three teams as our condolence gift.
The Selection Committee

Regional Site: Fayetteville, AR
1. Arkansas
2. Washington State
3. Kansas State
4. Grambling
FanTake FirstTake: This will be another ultra-competitive Regional. If Grambling had more pitching, they would scare these teams. Look for lots of runs to be scored in Fayetteville. Pigs will win, but will be tested in every game.