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College Baseball Field of 64 Announced
-As Expected: Some happy, some not-

        When the 2001 College Baseball tournament field was announced Monday afternoon around 2pm, there were feelings of surprise, joyfulness, or hurting, depending on where you were. In a field made up of up teams that already knew they were in and a large handful of at-large possibilities, you knew someone had to be left out. Just who, was the question, a question that the NCAA baseball committee answered Monday.

        The SEC had eight teams chosen for the field of 64, a record number for any one conference. This is a sign that although some of the mid-major teams have awesome looking records, these may be the product of easy schedules, and the NCAA seems to have finally realized that. By letting the likes of Florida and Auburn, who went two and out in the SEC tournament, into the NCAA regionals, the committee made a statement that you better have a quality schedule with quality wins. This often results in a high RPI, which is exactly what bubble teams Auburn (#10), Long Beach State (#11), Florida (#15), Rutgers (#23), and others had. Except for surprise Fresno State making it into the tournament, it seemed that the committee was keeping at least one eye on the RPI polls, as only three of the at-large teams had an RPI over 50. Those three were Georgia Southern (#66), who had an impressive 41-18 record, Middle Tennessee (#58), who had a very impressive 33-14 record and was Sun Belt tournament runner-up, and Fresno State (#81). Fresno State is still a mystery to me. They had the very, very high RPI, and they did not reach forty wins.

        There were several bubble teams that felt that they were worthy of the bid, but they were not granted this bid by the NCAA. Purdue, who went two and out in the Big Ten tournament and had a #68 RPI, was left out, as was Texas A&M, who had an even less impressive record (33-27) and an #86 RPI. Other bubble teams who were left out, each with an RPI #50 or over include the following: Cal St Northridge (#50), SW Missouri State (#65), Evansville (#64), Eastern Illinois (#96), Arizona (#80), Oregon State (#61), Northwestern State (#60), Louisiana-Monroe (#70), San Diego (#95), and San Jose State (#83). Wichita State was also left out, and they had an RPI of 44. They went 21-11 in their league and 42-24 overall. My guess is that they were one of the last ones out, and I believe that, given their wonderful history in college baseball, they would have been a better selection that Fresno State or Houston, of Conference USA, whoís overall record was only 29-26.

        There is always the joyfulness of those who do get in while those who didnít get in are trying to figure out why. Some of these bubble teams celebrating their berth today include Rutgers, Coastal Carolina, Houston, Fresno State, Long Beach State, Virginia Commonwealth, South Florida, Florida, Auburn, Georgia Southern, Florida International, Stetson, and Jacksonville. I believe that Rutgers, with a 40-15 record and #23 RPI, Long Beach State, who has been to past College World Series and had a #11 RPI, South Florida, the runner-up of the Conference USA tournament, Florida, because of the supremacy of the SEC and their #15 RPI, Auburn, also because of their SEC tournament berth and #10 RPI, Florida International, with a 40-18 record, #31 RPI, and a past that has shown them able to compete with national contenders, and Stetson, with a #35 RPI, are all legitimate choices for at-large bids into the NCAA regionals. The bids of Georgia Southern, with #66 RPI, Fresno State, and Houston could each be questioned though.


Below are the participants in each site and comments about each regional:

MIAMI: (1) Miami, (2) Florida, (3) Stetson, (4) Bucknell........Florida possibly a surprise berth into tournament play and will have tough game with Stetson in first round........Miami is #2 national seed and will play Bucknell in first round........winner of this regional will meet the winner of the Clemson regional........


CLEMSON: (1) South Alabama, (2) Clemson, (3) William & Mary, (4) Temple........USA is Sun Belt Conference tournament winner and steals #1 seed from Clemson at their own regional........host Clemson will meet William & Mary in first round........USA will meet Temple, winner of Big East tourney in first round........winner of this regional will advance to meet the winner of the Miami regional........


FLORIDA STATE: (1) Florida State, (2) Auburn, (3) Jacksonville, (4) Bethune-Cookman........FSU will meet BC in first round........Auburn is probably most amazing entry into field after beginning SEC season 0-9 and going two and out in SEC tourney and will meet Jacksonville in first round........winner of this regional will meet winner of Georgia regional........


GEORGIA: (1) Georgia, (2) Georgia Tech, (3) Coastal Carolina, (4), Georgia Southern........Georgia is national #6 seed........if GA Tech can beat Big South tournament champion Coastal Carolina and GA takes care of GA Southern, an at-large bid, it would set up an interesting second round Georgia-Georgia Tech game........winner of this regional will meet winner of Florida State regional........


STANFORD: (1) Stanford, (2) Long Beach State, (3) Texas, (4) Marist........Stanford is national #4 seed........two programs with storied baseball histories, Long Beach State and Texas, will meet in first round........Marist plays Stanford in first round........winner of this regional will match up with winner of South Carolina regional........


SOUTH CAROLINA: (1) Central Florida, (2) South Carolina, (3) The Citadel, (4) Princeton........Central Florida, champion of TAAC tourney will meet Ivy League champ Princeton in first round........South Carolina, the host bumped to the #2 seed, will try to get past the The Citadel, the champion of their conference tourney........winner of this regional advances to meet winner of Stanford regional........


NOTRE DAME: (1) Notre Dame, (2) Wisconsin-Milwaukee, (3) UC-Santa Barbara, (4) Florida International........Fla Intíl has scared powerhouse schools in past NCAA tourneys and will try to do the same here........UC-Santa Barbara has #14 RPI, one spot behind ND, and will meet WI-Milwaukee in first round........winner of this regional will advance to meet winner of the Southern Cal regional........


SOUTHERN CAL: (1) Southern Cal, (2) Pepperdine, (3) Fresno State, (4) Oral Roberts........USC is national #3 seed and will meet Oral Roberts in first round........Pepperdine, WCC tournament champion, will meet Fresno State, bubble team, in first round........winner of this regional advances to meet winner of Notre Dame regional........


OHIO STATE: (1) Mississippi State, (2) Ohio State, (3) Delaware, (4) Kent State........MSU is making second trip to OSU in 3 years and was this yearís SEC tournament champion........Ohio State will meet Delaware, champion of their conference tournament in first round........MSU has solid, deep pitching staff and will meet Kent State in first round........winner of this regional will meet winner of the Cal State-Fullerton regional........


CAL STATE-FULLERTON: (1) Cal State-Fullerton, (2) Arizona State, (3) Texas, (4) Temple........CSF is national #1 seed and will meet Big East tournament champion Temple in first round........Arizona State and Texas, both of major conferences, will meet in first round........winner of this regional will meet the winner of the Ohio State regional........


EAST CAROLINA: (1) East Carolina, (2) Winthrop, (3) South Florida, (4) Maryland-Baltimore County........this is only regional being played at an off-campus site........ECU is national #7 seed........ECU will meet UMBC in first round, who was a winner of their conference tournament........Winthrop will meet Conference USA tourney runner-up South Florida in first round........winner of this regional meets winner of Tennessee regional........


TENNESSEE: (1) Wake Forest, (2) Tennessee, (3) Middle Tennessee, (4) Tennessee Tech........Wake Forest is winner of the ACC tournament championship and will meet TN Tech in first round........Tennessee went two and out in SEC tourney which cost them #1 seed at their regional........TN will meet in-state opponent Middle TN in first round action........winner of this regional meets winner of East Carolina regional........


NEBRASKA: (1) Nebraska, (2) Rutgers, (3) BYU, (4) Northern Iowa........this is Nebraskaís first regional host and they are a national #8 seed........Rutgers, host of a regional last year, will meet BYU, champion of their conference tournament, in first round........Nebraska plays N. Iowa in first round........winner of this regional will meet winner of Rice regional........


RICE: (1) Rice, (2) Baylor, (3) Houston, (4) Texas-Arlington........this is only regional with all teams from one state (TX)........Rice will meet TX-Arlington, champion of their conference tournament, in first round........Baylor and Houston, a surprise entry into the field of 64, will meet in first round, also........winner of this regional will meet winner of the Nebraska regional........


LSU: (1) LSU, (2) Virginia Commonwealth, (3) California, (4) Minnesota........runner-up of SEC tourney LSU will play Minnesota, winner of the Big 10 conference tournament........VA Commonwealth and California will also match up in the first round in Baton Rouge........winner of this regional will meet the winner of the Tulane regional........


TULANE: (1) Tulane, (2) Ole Miss, (3) Oklahoma State, (4) Southern........Tulane is national #5 seed and C-USA tournament champion........Ole Miss, who lost twice to LSU in SEC Tourney, will meet Oklahoma State in first round........SWAC champion Southern will meet Tulane in the first round........winner of this regional will meet the winner of the LSU regional........

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