Posted 06/05/2009 at 06:02 AM
Itís College Baseballís version of the Sweet 16 as the Super Regionals get underway today. Iíll run through my choices to win each of them, with a trip to Omaha for the College World Series the reward for the eight survivors.
Arkansas @ Florida State: I really donít think thereís much to choose between these two teams in terms of talent, but the site is huge. There may not be a bigger home field advantage in college baseball than Tallahassee and that gets me on the Seminoles to get to the CWS. But I do think the Hogs can give them a battle. Florida State in three games.
Virginia @ Mississippi: The Cavaliers are blazing hot. They beat Stephen Strasburg to open the tournament and then proceeded to eliminate favored UC Irvine. As I noted last week, this Virginia team can really hit and theyíre on a huge roll. Ole Miss got yeoman work from their ace on two days rest to survive the Regional, but fatigue often shows up in the next start. I think Virginia is the better team, and I believe they will sweep the Rebels even though this is in Oxford.
Rice @ LSU: The Owls are another team that needed heroics from their ace on two days rest, and I think they get blown out here. LSU has better starting pitching and superior bullpen, theyíre at home and they were sharp last weekend, while Rice had a very difficult Regional. Iíll be surprised if LSU doesnít sweep this set.
Louisville @ Cal State Fullerton: The Titans are monster favorites to kayo the Cardinals and I canít find any reason to disagree. Fullerton is clearly one of the two or three best teams in the country, theyíre at home and Louisville is just not at their level. Lefty Justin Marks may be good enough to pitch the Cardinals to an upset win in one game, but Iím still siding with Fullerton to sweep.
East Carolina @ North Carolina: I think the Tar Heels can be had, but they drew the right opponent here. The Pirates are obviously a solid team, but they wonít enjoy their sizable home field edge playing at Chapel Hill. North Carolina has much better pitching and East Carolinaís big offense doesnít play as well on the road, especially in a park where pitching rules. But ECU has a hot lefty that can stifle the Tar Heels lineup for one game, so Iíll call it North Carolina in three.
Southern Mississippi @ Florida: I mentioned last week that the Golden Eagles are playing with a purpose as they want to keep winning for retiring coach Corky Palmer. Florida is very young and I thought they might be vulnerable last week, and I mistakenly tabbed Miami knock off the Gators. Florida got lucky in their opening round game last week, and while they were impressive in beating the ĎCanes, I wonder about their maturity and that could be the intangible factor here. Iíll take a chance and go with underdog Southern Mississippi to win in three games.
TCU @ Texas: Tough break for Jim Schlossnagelís Horned Frogs as they get stuck on the road against the Longhorns. But could Texas be a bit vulnerable after the wild goings on in the regionals? They had that incredible marathon with Boston College and then needed a spectacular rally to edge past Army to close out the proceedings. I really want to pick TCU here, but I just keep coming back to Texas having the edge on the mound. Could be a great set, lean to the Longhorns in three games.
Clemson @ Arizona State: Mike Leake will be a heavy favorite to win the opener on Saturday, and I donít see Clemson getting to him. The Sun Devils are going to be a major threat to win it all because of their stud hurler and while Clemson has a fine team, ASU at home looks really solid to me this weekend. Arizona State in two games.
Enjoy the weekend, back on Monday with the prospects report.