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5 reasons to get excited about the 2016 NCAA Baseball Tournament

You get to fill out brackets and hate the SEC!

Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

1. The first round of the NCAA Tournament is like baseball on crack.

I get it. You're one of those "baseball is boring" folks. And hell, when you're watching some June afternoon MLB game one third of the way through a 162-game season, I can't say I disagree. But the pace is way faster during the college tournament. During the first round alone, 64 teams across 16 cities will play between 96 and 112 games over a four-day period—at least 29 more games than the entire March Madness tournament.

If you think baseball's dull, sit down on Saturday afternoon and flip on ESPN's Bases Loaded program, an NFL Redzone-style whip-around that cycles through as many as 19 live games at a time.

There was a moment last year when three one-run games were in the bottom of the ninth with tying runners in scoring position, and Bases Loaded was jumping back and forth between every pitch. There's a fix for your short attention span.

2. You get to fill out brackets!

Even if you're not a baseball fan, you know damn well you're a bracket fan. Hell, if I linked a bracket for Japanese log riding (yes, real thing), you'd probably go fill it out. Instead, I'll link D1 Baseball's online bracket challenge, which lets you predict the field of the college baseball tourney. Who cares if you don't know enough about the sport to make informed decisions—remember when your aunt beat you in the family March Madness pool by picking her favorite mascots?

3. You can love/hate the SEC.

Another great American pastime! We're still another three months from the start of football season, but lucky for you, there's plenty of ES EE SEE hatin'/gloatin' to be done in June. The conference grabbed four of the eight national seeds and seven of the 16 host sites, both of which are high water marks in tourney history. Florida, Texas A&M, Mississippi State and LSU are all serious title contenders, and it wouldn't surprise anyone to see Ole Miss, South Carolina or Vandy join them in Omaha.

The ACC is the other tournament power, bagging three national seeds and six regional host sites. Louisville, which ranks top 10 nationally in both batting average and ERA, might be the most complete team in the field of 64; and Coastal Division champ Miami harbors realistic title hopes as well.

4. You can scope out MLB stars of the future.

Last year, 19 of the 36 first-round draft picks came from the college ranks, including Nos. 1 and 2 (Vandy's Dansby Swanson and LSU's Alex Bregman) and seven of the top 10. The college tourney, therefore, gives you a great chance to check out that stud prospect your team's been eying for the MLB Draft, which starts on June 9.

There's plenty of talent in this year's tournament field. Florida hurler A.J. Puk, a 6'6 lefty who's expected to go No. 1 overall, will be taking the mound in Gainesville this weekend. Louisville outfielder Corey Ray, Miami catcher Zack Collins, Mississippi State's Dakota Hudson and Boston College's Justin Dunn are other potential top-15 picks playing in the regional round.

For a more extensive list of draft prospects and how to watch them this weekend, click right here.

5. The NBA Finals won't last forever.

Once LeBron and Steph decide a world champ (which will happen no later than June 19), the college baseball tourney is the only thing between a long, dark summer offseason filled with midseason MLB and Curb Your Enthusiasm reruns. The finals of the College World Series will go through at least June 29, giving us an extra 10 days of sports before we settle into a pre-football hibernation.