With the NCAA announcing the brackets for the college baseball postseason all of the talk turns to who will get to Omaha for the College World Series. Besides picking the obvious favorites much of picking who will make it to the College World Series is based on their road there. With that in mind, who has the toughest Regional? Who has the easiest one and what is the most intriguing possible Super Regional match-up?
Easiest Regional- Austin
This is a no-brainer. Texas is a deserving national seed and it is tough to argue with a number seven national seed avoiding a few of the top number two seeds like Arkansas, but they were gifted as easy a Regional as you will find.
It starts with the number two seed in the Regional, Texas St., who has no business being the two seed in any Regional. The Bobcats went 40-21 this season, a record to be proud of, but keep in mind who they beat to get to 40 wins. Absolutely no one. Texas St. went just 1-9 against the RPI top 50 this season so when they got their chance to prove that they can play with the best, they failed and then some. They also lost eight games to teams with a RPI over 100. There is very little to suggest that the Bobcats should be a number two seed, but Texas will take it.
The number three and four seeds in the Regional aren't going to put the fear of god in the Longhorns either. Kent St. was given a generous three seed and while the Flashes, under head coach Scott Stricklin, do more with less than most teams in the country, they are short on the talent they need to beat any of the top teams. Rounding things up ni Austin is Princeton, who won the Ivy league, but went just 23-22 this season.
If any team can be written into the Super Regionals before a single game is played, it is Texas. The Longhorns will wait until the second game of the Regional to throw their ace and National Pitcher of the Year candidate, Taylor Jungmann, where he will dominate and overmatched Texas St. or Kent St. team. It's easy sailing for the Longhorns.
Toughest Regional- Clemson
The toughest Regionals are usually have a team that has plenty of talent and underachieved for most of the season before picking it up late. The Clemson Regional has two such teams. With Connecticut and Coastal Carolina slotting in as the number two and three seed at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, the hometown Tigers were done no favors. The positive is that unlike in past years the toughest Regional wasn't one with a national seed in it and instead a non-national seed is forced to really earn their way to a Super Regional, but it's still one tough haul.
Starting at the top is a good Clemson team that went 41-18 and finished the season well, winning seven of their final 10. Led by one of the country's top hitters, Brad Miller, the Tigers may not be a national seed, but could very well return to Omaha for their second consecutive College World Series.
Few teams have a player on their team any better than Connecticut's George Springer. One of the most athletic players in the country and a projected first round pick in June's MLB Draft, the Huskies have more than enough talent to make a title run. Coastal Carolina can also make a title run. They had a disappointing season, but still have the talent that made them a ranked team in the preseason.
What is most intriguing in the Clemson Regional will be the opening game between the Huskies and Chanticleers and one heck of a pitching match-up. For UConn, they will turn to Matt Barnes, who some believe can be drafted as high as the top 10 overall in the MLB Draft. He'll go up against Coastal Carolina's Anthony Meo, who could also go in the first round of the MLB Draft. Two potential first round picks, one game, and that's just to start things off.
Most Intriguing Possible Super Regional Match-up
This one isn't even close and during the Regionals most of the country will be rooting for Virginia and UCLA just to set up a Super Regional match-up between the two. The Cavaliers are the number one national seed and one of the clear favorites to win the national title. UCLA was a preseason top three team that struggled early, but came on late to win the Pac-10 and will look to go one step further than a year ago, when they were College World Series runners up.
What makes this possible match-up so intriguing is the big names. For Virginia is is Danny Hultzen. A projected top five pick in the MLB Draft, Hultzen's long-term future is as a pitcher. A left-hander who can throw in the low 90's with two good breaking pitches, all of which he can spot in any count will do that for you. For now though, he adds hitting to his pitching and he does so pretty well. Hultzen hit over .300 for the Cavaliers this season, giving them an ace and big bat all in one.
For the Bruins, all the star power is at the top of their rotation and it is real star power. UCLA has the nation's best one-two punch with a pair of projected top 10 picks in the MLB Draft. One is the possible number one overall pick, Gerrit Cole, who has a fastball that reached 100 mph seven times in his last start of the season, even doing so as late as the eighth inning. Two is Trevor Bauer, who is a National Pitcher of the Year candidate and has thrown eight consecutive complete games entering the postseason.
If Virginia and UCLA both win their Regionals, they'll play each other for a spot in Omaga. Scouts will flock to the games, it will be thrilling television and the only ones who won't find it exciting are those without a soul