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Southern College Sports
2002 College Baseball Regional Previews


With play in the 2002 NCAA Baseball Tournament set to begin Friday afternoon, Southern College Sports breaks down the entire tournament, regional by regional, team by team. You’ll find all kinds of stats and breakdowns for each of the sixty-four teams as well as who Jonathan thinks will come out victorious in each regional. Use the links below or scroll all the way through all of the predictions. When you’re finished, drop me an email and let me know what you thought. Enjoy.....

Regional Previews
Tallahassee   |   South Bend   |   Los Angeles   |   Palo Alto   |   Baton Rouge
Houston   |   Austin   |   Mesa   |   Atlanta   |   Tuscaloosa   | Columbia
Gainesville   |   Clemson   |   Wichita   |   Lincoln   |   Winston-Salem

Super Regional Speculations    |    Regional Darkhorses    |    Regional Rankings

Tallahassee Regional
TEAM
RPI
Div.-I
Record
Conf.
Record
Conf.
Finish
(1) Florida State
2
56-12
18-6
1
(2) Central Florida
36
40-20
23-7
1
(3) South Florida
37
33-27
16-14
7
(4) Stetson
23
42-17
19-9
3
Regional Stats
Predicted
Winner
Average
RPI
Average
Record
Florida State
25
43-19 (.694)

Florida State is once again hosting a regional, and once again, they have very high hopes of advancing to the College World Series. Although they’ve tended to come up short in the past, the Noles were given the national number one seed this season and appear ready to take on anyone. They were the ACC regular season champions. Central Florida also comes in as conference champions, but the Knights are from a smaller conference, the Atlantic Sun. South Florida was one of the surprise teams to get into this year’s field but have the potential to make some noise. Stetson is one of the teams that, due to the new geographical rules, undeservedly got a low seed. Although they finished below UCF in the Atlantic Sun standings, they are a team that could make some noise and are my pick for the potential darkhorse of this regional. Florida State should easily prevail in their home regional and move on to the Super Regionals. After FSU, I would rate the remaining teams in this order: Stetson, Central Florida, South Florida.

South Bend Regional
TEAM
RPI
Div.-I
Record
Conf.
Record
Conf.
Finish
(1) South Alabama
18
41-17
17-5
1
(2) Notre Dame
44
43-15
18-8
1
(3) Ohio State
94
35-17
18-11
2
(4) Kent State
80
36-20
18-8
2
Regional Stats
Predicted
Winner
Average
RPI
Average
Record
South Alabama
59
39-17 (.696)

South Alabama, champions of the Sun Belt conference, come into South Bend as the number one seed. They have posted very impressive conference and overall records as well as a strong RPI. Notre Dame, the host team and number two seed, was the champion of the Big East, and although their RPI is the lowest of any host team by far, the Irish have an impressive overall record this season. Ohio State, a team that also has NCAA hosting experience, had a somewhat disappointing season in 2002, which is shown by their low RPI rating. However, they still finished the season second in the Big Ten. Kent State was part of the four-team regional in Columbus, OH a year ago and are back for a return trip to the regionals. The Golden Flashes finished second in the MAC and actually have a better RPI than Ohio State, the three seed. They would be my pick for the potential surprise team in this regional. I think the Jaguars of South Alabama will go on the road and win this regional to advance to the round of sixteen. I would place the other teams in this order: Kent State, Notre Dame, Ohio State.

Los Angeles Regional
TEAM
RPI
Div.-I
Record
Conf.
Record
Conf.
Finish
(1) Southern Cal
30
34-22
14-7
1
(2) Cal State-Northridge
40
40-15
19-5
1
(3) Maine
74
36-15
16-6
T-1
(4) BYU
132
29-29
15-14
3
Regional Stats
Predicted
Winner
Average
RPI
Average
Record
Cal State-Northridge
69
35-20 (.636)

Southern California is hosting a regional once again and will bring good but not great stats into this regional. The Trojans have had a good season but have had better in the past. Surprising Cal State-Northridge comes in as the number two seed and champion of the Big West conference. CSN has very impressive overall and conference records. Maine, the team traveling the farthest of any of the sixty-four teams this season, comes in as the three seed from the America East conference. BYU, thanks to their victory in the Mountain West conference tournament, will be participating in the LA regional as the four seed. The Cougars have stats that would lead you to believe they have no business in the NCAA Tournament. Maine would be my pick for the potential surprise team in this regional, but I think the home-state Cal State-Northridge team will come away as the winners of this four-team bracket. The other three teams would be in this order: Southern Cal, Maine, BYU.

Palo Alto Regional
TEAM
RPI
Div.-I
Record
Conf.
Record
Conf.
Finish
(1) Stanford
12
40-16
13-8
T-2
(2) Long Beach State
21
37-19
14-7
T-2
(3) San Jose State
51
41-15
18-9
2
(4) Cal State-Fullerton
24
35-20
14-7
T-2
Regional Stats
Predicted
Winner
Average
RPI
Average
Record
Stanford
27
38-18 (.679)

The Stanford Cardinal, one of two teams hosting a regional in California, are definitely hosting the tougher of the two regionals. The Cardinal have impressive stats and finished tied for second in the PAC 10. Long Beach State, the two seed, comes in from the Big West with plenty of past tournament experience, including a trip to the CWS. San Jose State, who finished second in the WAC this season, has the lowest RPI of the four teams but isn’t a bad team. They posted over forty wins overall this season. Cal State-Fullerton, who went to the College World Series just one year ago, are the fourth seed. They are another team that is suffering from a low seed thanks to the new geograpical rules. The Titans tied with LBSU for second place in the Big West. The only reason the Dirt Bags got the better seed was the fact that they have an RPI that is three points better. There’s really not a potential surprise team in this regional, but CSF is the lowest seed, and they have a legitimate shot at winning this regional and moving on. However, I think Stanford will come out on top at their home field in Palo Alto and move on to the Super Regionals. Here’s how I would place the remaining three teams in this regional: Long Beach State, Cal State-Fullerton, San Jose State.

Baton Rouge Regional
TEAM
RPI
Div.-I
Record
Conf.
Record
Conf.
Finish
(1) LSU
6
40-19
19-10
4
(2) Louisiana-Lafayette
16
37-21
17-7
2
(3) Tulane
54
35-25
17-13
5
(4) Southern
75
41-8
29-3
1
Regional Stats
Predicted
Winner
Average
RPI
Average
Record
LSU
38
38-18 (.679)

LSU is hosting a regional again, and this season they’ll meet up with Tulane one round sooner. Last year, the two in-state rivals met up in the Super Regional round in New Orleans, but the Tigers will get a chance for redemption on their home field this year. The Tigers finished as the fourth place team in the SEC and have the sixth best RPI rating in the country. Tulane finished fifth in CUSA and is the third seed in the Baton Rouge regional. The second seeded LA-Lafayette Rajun’ Cajuns come into Baton Rouge with the 16th-best RPI in America. They are coming off a CWS trip just a few seasons ago. Southern, the fourth seed, would get my vote for the potential darkhorse team in this regional. They lead the nation in batting average and actually have a hitter hitting over .500 for the season! The Jags were hoping to avoid the LSU regional but were not able to do so. I think that LSU, as they always do this time of year, will step up in the postseason and make it to the Super Regional round. The other three teams in order: LA-Lafayette, Southern, Tulane.

Houston Regional
TEAM
RPI
Div.-I
Record
Conf.
Record
Conf.
Finish
(1) Rice
7
47-11
25-2
1
(2) Texas Tech
25
40-18
16-11
2
(3) Washington
79
30-24
13-8
T-2
(4) Harvard
190
19-24
13-7
T-1
Regional Stats
Predicted
Winner
Average
RPI
Average
Record
Rice
75
34-19 (.642)

Rice is hosting in Houston this season and will bring in in-state rival Texas Tech as the number two seed. The Owls have the seventh-best RPI in the nation and are the WAC regular season champions. The Red Raiders of Texas Tech finished second in the Big XII, a strong baseball conference, and reached the forty win mark this season, as did Rice. Washington received an at-large berth although their RPI is only 79 and they are only 30-24 on the season. The Huskies, however, did finish tied for second in the baseball-strong PAC 10. Harvard, a member of the Ivy League, comes in as champs of that conference. They also, however, bring a number 190 RPI as well as a losing overall record. This is basically a two-team regional between Texas Tech and Rice. The home field should be enough to allow the Owls to move on. The remaining three in order: Texas Tech, Washington, Harvard.

Austin Regional
TEAM
RPI
Div.-I
Record
Conf.
Record
Conf.
Finish
(1) Texas
9
46-14
19-8
1
(2) Baylor
31
32-23
13-13
T-5
(3) Lamar
91
35-22
16-11
3
(4) Central Connecticut St.
194
34-21
18-9
3
Regional Stats
Predicted
Winner
Average
RPI
Average
Record
Texas
81
37-20 (.649)

The Longhorns of Texas are hosting a regional as the number one seed. They won the Big XII regular season title and now look to move on in the NCAA Tournament. UT has an impressive top-ten RPI as well as good overall and conference records. The second seed is also a Big XII opponent. The Baylor Bears come into Austin for this weekend’s regional. They finished tied for fifth in the Big XII with a .500 conference record. Lamar University, who won the Southland Conference Tournament, will be the three seed. They will match up with Baylor in the first round. The fourth seed is Central Connecticut State, one of the teams making their first-ever appearance in the NCAA Baseball Tournament. A not-so-stellar RPI of 194 also comes with CCSU, the tournament champs of the Northeast Conference. This regional is also basically a showdown between two Texas teams, Texas and Baylor. The Horns should come out on top. The other three teams will look like this: Baylor, Lamar, Central Connecticut State.

Mesa Regional
TEAM
RPI
Div.-I
Record
Conf.
Record
Conf.
Finish
(1) Houston
8
44-15
22-7
1
(2) Arizona State
28
35-19
12-9
3
(3) San Diego
89
37-21
18-12
T-1
(4) New Mexico State
90
34-22
10-14
6
Regional Stats
Predicted
Winner
Average
RPI
Average
Record
Houston
54
38-19 (.667)

Although the Houston Cougars proabably deserved to host a regional, the NCAA Committee felt that UH and Rice could not host successfully in the same city. Because of that, the Cougars must travel to Mesa, AZ for the regional hosted by Arizona State. The Cougars will be the one seed, coming off their regular season CUSA championship. ASU will be the two seed. The Sun Devils came in third place in the PAC 10 and have an RPI of 28. San Diego, another team making its first-ever appearance in the tournament, is from the West Coast Conference and is the three seed. New Mexico State, also making its first-ever tournament appearance, won the Sun Belt tournament although they had only a 10-16 conference record this season. This is yet another regional that appears to be a two-team race, this one between ASU and UH. I think the Cougars will come out on top, continuing their stellar season to another weekend. The other three teams: Arizona State, San Diego, New Mexico State.

Atlanta Regional
TEAM
RPI
Div.-I
Record
Conf.
Record
Conf.
Finish
(1) Georgia Tech
5
44-14
14-9
5
(2) Georgia
20
29-25
15-15
T-5
(3) Louisville
41
39-16
21-9
2
(4) Coastal Carolina
29
43-17
16-5
1
Regional Stats
Predicted
Winner
Average
RPI
Average
Record
Georgia Tech
24
39-18 (.684)

Georgia Tech is hosting this year and will welcome their most hated rival, the Georgia Bulldogs, into Atlanta. The Yellow Jackets came in fifth in the ACC, but have a very impressive RPI rating of 5. UGA finished tied for 5th in the SEC but also have a good RPI at number 20. The Dawgs struggled down the finish but were just good enough to get into this season’s field of sixty-four. The third seed is the Louisville Cardinals, who finished second in the CUSA regular season. They are making their first-ever appearance in the NCAA Baseball Tournament. Finally, the fourth seed is Coastal Carolina, a team that made some noise in the regionals last season. They are the regular season champ of the Big South conference and bring an impressive RPI rating of 29 into Atlanta. They would definitely be my pick for a possible darkhorse in this regional. I think Georgia Tech will come out on top in Atlanta, but I think CC will give them a hard-fought battle to survive to the round of sixteen. The order of the three remaining teams: Coastal Carolina, Georgia, Louisville.

Tuscaloosa Regional
TEAM
RPI
Div.-I
Record
Conf.
Record
Conf.
Finish
(1) Alabama
11
47-13
20-10
T-2
(2) Auburn
34
34-24
15-15
T-5
(3) Florida Atlantic
42
43-18
22-8
2
(4) Southeast Missouri St.
93
33-18
16-5
1
Regional Stats
Predicted
Winner
Average
RPI
Average
Record
Alabama
45
39-18 (.684)

The Alabama Crimson Tide, the second place team from the SEC in the regular season, will be hosting a regional in 2002. They are an impressive 47-13 overall with a 20-10 league record. Seeded first, they also have a stellar RPI of 11. The second seed will be Bama’s SEC West and in-state rival Auburn. The Tigers finished tied for fifth in the SEC with a .500 record. These two teams could not meet until Saturday’s action at the earliest. Florida Atlantic will be traveling to Tuscaloosa as the third seed. FAU finished in second place in the Atlantic Sun conference this year with a 22-8 record in conference play. The fourth seed is Southeast Missouri State, champs of the Ohio Valley conference. They come in with an RPI of 93 and an overall record of 33-18. Florida Atlantic could be a surprise team in this regional, but I think the Tide will win this one fairly easily. The other three teams in order: Auburn, Florida Atlantic, Southeast Missouri State.

Columbia Regional
TEAM
RPI
Div.-I
Record
Conf.
Record
Conf.
Finish
(1) South Carolina
4
48-14
21-8
1
(2) North Carolina
13
39-19
17-7
3
(3) James Madison
22
43-13
15-5
1
(4) VA Commonwealth
62
38-25
13-8
5
Regional Stats
Predicted
Winner
Average
RPI
Average
Record
South Carolina
25
42-18 (.700)

South Carolina, the regular season champions of the SEC, will be hosting a regional at Sarge Frye Field in Columbia. The Gamecocks have an RPI rating of 4 and were 21-8 in SEC play this season. The second seed, North Carolina, also has a great RPI at 13. The Heels finished third in the ACC with a 17-7 league record. James Madison and Virginia Commonwealth, both of the Colonial Athletic Assocation, will be the third and fourth seeds, respectively. James Madison has a stellar RPI of 22 and won the regular season conference title. VCU came in fifth in the regular season but won the conference tournament. This is one of the more impressive regionals, and the top three seeds all have a shot at pulling out the win. I expect USC, with major challenges from UNC and James Madison, to win this regional and advance though. The other three teams in order: UNC, James Madison, Virginia Commonwealth.

Gainesville Regional
TEAM
RPI
Div.-I
Record
Conf.
Record
Conf.
Finish
(1) Florida
10
42-17
20-10
T-2
(2) Florida International
27
41-18
13-11
4
(3) Miami
19
30-26
--
--
(4) Bethune-Cookman
63
36-17
16-2
2
Regional Stats
Predicted
Winner
Average
RPI
Average
Record
Florida
30
37-20 (.649)

The Florida Gators, under first-year head coach Pat McMahon, are hosting one of the sixteen regionals this year. The Gators finished tied for second in the SEC regular season standings and have an RPI of 10. The second seed is Florida International, the fourth place team from the Sun Belt. FIU has an RPI of 27 and finished 41-18 in 2002. The third seed is last year’s National Champion, the Miami Hurricanes. UM has an RPI of 19 and finished 30-26 this season. Bethune-Cookman, the representative from the MEAC conference, had an impressive 16-2 league record. BCU also had an overall record of 36-17. The Gators will have very stiff competition from FIU and Miami. I would look for FIU to make some noise and possibly have a chance to advance on Sunday. However, I predict Florida will come out on top and advance to the round of sixteen. The next three teams: Florida International, Miami, Bethune-Cookman.

Clemson Regional
TEAM
RPI
Div.-I
Record
Conf.
Record
Conf.
Finish
(1) Clemson
1
47-14
16-8
4
(2) East Carolina
33
41-18
16-13
6
(3) Elon
45
34-21
13-8
2
(4) Georgia Southern
92
38-23
18-11
4
Regional Stats
Predicted
Winner
Average
RPI
Average
Record
Clemson
43
40-19 (.678)

The Clemson Tigers come into the NCAA Tournament with the best RPI rating in the country. Although they finished fourth in the ACC regular season standings, the Tigers have an impressive 47-14 overall record. The second seed is East Carolina, a team that hosted a regional just one season ago. The Pirates came in sixth in CUSA but have a good RPI of 33 and overall record of 41-18. Elon, an at-large team from the Big South, got in although none of their stats are overly-impressive. This is Elon’s first ever trip to the NCAA Baseball Tournament. Georiga Southern, a team that made much noise in the tournament last season, is the fourth seed. They finished fourth in the regular season standings while competing in the Southern Conference. They were able to win their conference tournament and secure a bid to this year’s tourney. Clemson is obviously the best team in this regional. GSU is experienced and could sneak up on someone, but I think the Tigers will march on at least one more weekend. The remaining three in order: East Carolina, Georgia Southern, Elon.

Wichita Regional
TEAM
RPI
Div.-I
Record
Conf.
Record
Conf.
Finish
(1) Wichita State
17
45-15
23-9
1
(2) Oklahoma
26
35-25
15-12
5
(3) Arkansas
35
27-26
13-14
8
(4) Oral Roberts
141
41-16
16-2
1
Regional Stats
Predicted
Winner
Average
RPI
Average
Record
Wichita State
55
37-21 (.691)

The Wichita State Shockers will host a regional and be the number one seed. WSU, who won the Missouri Valley Conference’s regular season title, had an RPI rating of 17 and an overall record of 45-15. Oklahloma is the number two seed. The Sooners, who have a number 26 RPI, finished fifth in the Big XII this season with a 15-12 league record. Arkansas, one of the last teams chosen for the field of sixty-four, is the three seed in Wichita. The Razorbacks have an RPI of 35, but they are just one game over .500 overall at 27-26. Oral Roberts rounds out the four-team field in this regional with a 141 RPI. They were the champs of the Mid-Continent Conference with a league record of 16-2. Wichita State is definitely the best team of the four, though OU will provide good competition. The bottom two teams are far worse than the top two teams. WSU should advance to the Super Regionals. The next three teams: Oklahoma, Oral Roberts, Arkansas.

Lincoln Regional
TEAM
RPI
Div.-I
Record
Conf.
Record
Conf.
Finish
(1) Nebraska
14
41-18
16-11
2
(2) Southwest Missouri St.
39
41-19
19-13
3
(3) Marist
56
39-12
22-5
1
(4) Wisconsin-Milwaukee
134
32-18
15-8
2
Regional Stats
Predicted
Winner
Average
RPI
Average
Record
Nebraska
61
38-17 (.691)

Nebraska, a College World Series participant from one season ago, is hosting a regional again this year. The Cornhuskers finished in second place in the Big XII with a 16-11 league record. They also have a 14 RPI and a 41-18 overall record. Southwest Missouri State, from the Missouri Valley Conference, is the two seed. SMS has a good RPI at number 39 and is 41-19 overall. They will meet the three seed, Marist, in the first round. Marist is the champion from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, thanks to a 22-5 league record. Wisconsin-Milwaukee, from the Horizon League, is the four seed. Their stats, including a number 134 RPI, are not that great. Nebraska is the best team here, but SMS and Marist both have good stats. The winner of the first round game between SMS and Marist will give Nebraska a very tough game on Saturday. I think the Huskers will come out on top with the next three shaping up this way: Southwest Missouri State, Marist, Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Winston-Salem Regional
TEAM
RPI
Div.-I
Record
Conf.
Record
Conf.
Finish
(1) Wake Forest
3
44-11
17-6
2
(2) Richmond
15
49-10
22-2
1
(3) Navy
173
22-22
13-7
T-1
(4) George Washington
59
42-21
17-7
2
Regional Stats
Predicted
Winner
Average
RPI
Average
Record
Richmond
63
39-16 (.709)

Wake Forest, the second place team from the ACC, is hosting at Winston-Salem this season. The Deamon Deacons have an RPI ranking of 3. Their overall record (44-11) and conference record (17-6) are both impressive. Richmond, the champion from the Atlantic 10, is the two seed. The Spiders have an RPI of 15 and an overall record of 49-10. Navy seems to be no threat to any of these teams, coming in with an RPI of 173 and overall record of 22-22. They did, however, win the Patriot League. The only reason George Washington is the four seed is because their fellow conference member, Richmond, is the number two seed. GW finished second in the Atlantic 10 and has a 42-21 overall record. With the exception of Navy, this should be a very competitive regional. I think Richmond will pull the upset of the Deamon Deacons and move on to the Super Regionals. The next three in order: Wake Forest, George Washington, Navy.


SUPER REGIONAL SPECULATING
Projected Super Regional Matchups
South Alabama at Florida State
Cal State-Northridge at Stanford
LSU at Rice
Houston at Texas
Georgia Tech at Alabama
Florida at South Carolina
Wichita State at Clemson
Richmond at Nebraska

The winners of each of the sixteen regionals will meet in pre-determined matchups the weekend after the regionals. The Super Regionals are like most of the conference weekends many of the conferences around the country have, best-of-three weekends, with one game each on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The NCAA will decide where the series will be held, but it is guaranteed to be at the remaining national top eight seed if there’s one left. Here are the national top eight seeds, as established by the NCAA last Monday: (1) Florida State, (2) Clemson, (3) Alabama, (4) Rice, (5) Texas, (6) South Carolina, (7) Wake Forest, (8) Stanford. To the right, then, would be the Super Regional matchups if my predictions were 100% correct.


THE DARKHORSES

When you look at the bracket, there are some obvious upset picks. There are those teams who seem vulnerable when you look at the matchups they have. Plus, some teams have a history of flopping or over-achieving in the Tournament. So, below, are a few teams I believe could put it all together, knock off the big name team(s), and advance to the Super Regionals.....
Stetson: They have a good record and a good RPI, not to mention playing at FSU. The Noles have a history of under-achieving in the NCAA Baseball Tournament.
Southern: This team hits the ball all over the field, and you know they’ll be motivated when the head in to play LSU. If the Tigers get rattled early, the Jags from SU can pile up runs in a hurry.
Coastal Carolina: This team made noise last year and has the numbers to back it up this season (29 RPI and 43-17 overall). This, however, is one of the tougher regionals, mainly because this is one of the best four seeds in the tournament.
Florida International: FIU plays in the Sun Belt, which is a fairly strong baseball conference. They have a good RPI at 27, and Florida is not historically that great of a team in NCAA play.
Richmond: The Spiders have played great all season long, and their RPI (15) shows that. A tough regional with Wake Forest and fellow Atlantic 10 member George Washington will make the upset difficult, but I believe the Spiders will pull it off.


REGIONAL RANKINGS
Regional Comparison
By Average RPI Ratings By Average Winning %
(1) Atlanta
24
(1) Winston-Salem
39-16 (.709)
(t2) Tallahassee
25
(2) Columbia
42-18 (.700)
(t2) Columbia
25
(3) South Bend
39-17 (.696)
(4) Palo Alto
27
(4) Tallahassee
43-19 (.694)
(5) Gainesville
30
(5) Lincoln
38-17 (.691)
(6) Baton Rouge
38
(t6) Atlanta
39-18 (.684)
(7) Clemson
43
(t6) Tuscaloosa
39-18 (.684)
(8) Tuscaloosa
45
(t8) Palo Alto
38-18 (.679)
(9) Mesa
54
(t8) Baton Rouge
38-18 (.679)
(10) Wichita
55
(10) Clemson
40-19 (.678)
(11) South Bend
59
(11) Mesa
38-19 (.667)
(12) Lincoln
61
(t12) Austin
37-20 (.649)
(13) Winston-Salem
63
(t12) Gainesville
37-20 (.649)
(14) Los Angeles
69
(14) Houston
34-19 (.642)
(15) Houston
75
(15) Wichita
37-21 (.638)
(16) Austin
81
(16) Los Angeles
35-20 (.636)

Now that the NCAA has instituted these new geographical regionals, there are some brackets that are obviously stronger than others. It always happens, but now it appears it will happen more often and be more obvious as long as these standards stay in place. To the right are two ratings of each regional, one based on the average RPI rating of each of the four teams, and the other based on the average record of each of the four teams and the corresponding winning percentage.

It’s obvious that several of the regionals stick out in their difficulty. The Tallahassee regional appears to be a quality regional. So do the regionals in Palo Alto and Baton Rouge. Three other regionals in the southeast, Atlanta, Tuscaloosa, and Columbia, also appear to be very strong. One common characteristic of these three regionals is that each of the six has a host school with an RPI in the top 12 and at least 40 wins. Also, at least one other team in addition to the host school has 40 wins.

There are also a few regionals that appear to be weak, such as the one in Los Angeles, where the most wins of any team is just 40. Three other weak regionals appear to be in Houston, Austin, and Wichita. Noting that the Houston regional (hosted by Rice) is weak proves that the NCAA was acutally right about one thing: Houston could not support two regionals (the other would have been hosted by the University of Houston). Each of these four weak regionals has a team with an RPI in triple digits.

RegionalTeams
1
Palto Alto
Stanford, Long Beach State, San Jose State, Cal State-Fullerton
T2
Tallahassee
Florida State, Central Florida, South Florida, Stetson
T2
Columbia
South Carolina, North Carolina, James Madison, VA Commonwealth
4
LSU
LSU, LA-Lafayette, Tulane, Southern
5
Tuscaloosa
Alabama, Auburn, Florida Atlantic, Southeast Missouri State
6
Atlanta
Georgia Tech, Georgia, Louisville, Coastal Carolina
7
Gainesville
Florida, Florida International, Miami, Bethune-Cookman
T8
Winston-Salem
Wake Forest, Richmond, Navy, George Washington
T8
South Bend
South Alabama, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Kent State
T10
Wichita
Wichita State, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Oral Roberts
T10
Clemson
Clemson, East Carolina, Elon, Georgia Southern
12
Los Angeles
Southern Cal, Cal State-Northridge, Maine, BYU
13
Mesa
Houston, Arizona State, San Diego, New Mexico State
14
Austin
Texas, Baylor, Lamar, Central Connecticut State
15
Lincoln
Nebraska, Southwest Missouri State, Marist, Wisconsin-Milwaukee
16
Houston
Rice, Texas Tech, Washington, Harvard

So with all of that said, here’s how I would rate each of the sixteen regionals from strongest to weakest. I used the stats above, including the RPI ratings and individual team rankings, as well as my own personal opinon. These ratings are based on which regionals would be the toughest to win and have the most quality teams present. One really good, quality team doesn’t make a regional, but one good team along with two or three other decent teams make a regional have a good standing in my rating of the regionals.

So that wraps up this year’s preview of the 2002 College Baseball Regionals. I hope you found it interesting. Come back soon, as I’ll have a link to live stats of each game (which can be found on ncaabaseball.com). I’ll also have a recap of the regionals and a preview of the Super Regionals next week. The following week, I’ll preview the CWS, and before you know it, it will be time for college football previews! Thanks for visiting Southern College Sports!



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