I’m always interested to analyze how the NCAA selection committee pairs teams for baseball regionals. More often than not they are mostly teams from the same geographic region, but as soon as you expect that, you get a regional with two teams from 1,000-plus miles away.
Here is a look back at the teams sent to Arkansas’ last four home regionals:
2017: Missouri State, Oklahoma State, Oral Roberts
2018: Southern Miss, Dallas Baptist, Oral Roberts
2019: TCU, California, Central Connecticut State
2021: Nebraska, Northeastern, NJIT
All of the teams in 2017 and 2018 were from border states. The 2021 regional was the first that Arkansas has hosted without at least one team from a border state.
Arkansas usually winds up in a regional with a Big 12 team. There are several possibilities for teams from that conference to be 2 or 3 seeds, including Oklahoma State, Texas, TCU, Texas Tech, Kansas State and Oklahoma. Other possible 2 seeds from a border state include Dallas Baptist and Southern Miss.
Oral Roberts and Missouri State are always teams worth watching and both are still alive in their conference tournaments. Arkansas-Little Rock is another team worth watching. The Trojans are the No. 2 seed in the OVC Tournament.
Or it could be a team nobody thinks about until Memorial Day.
I tend to give more weight to recent trends. They cast a pretty wide net for the Fayetteville regional in 2021. Looking at last year, the Georgia Southern regional had teams from Indiana, North Carolina and Texas. Louisville had teams from Oregon, Michigan and Missouri. Gainesville had Virginia, Oklahoma and Michigan.
So it will not surprise me at all if they do a repeat of 2021 and bring in teams to Baum-Walker from all over.
I’d be interested to see what percentage of regional fields D1Baseball and Baseball America get correct every year. I trust them to be close on seeding and who will host, but the four-team brackets just seem like a shot in the dark.
So if the projections are correct and everyone advances (two big ifs), our bracket in Omaha would be Florida, Stanford and Vandy, and the other bracket would be Wake, LSU, Clemson and Virginia. Boy, is that bracket lopsided.
Baseball America flips Stanford into the 5 and Clemson to the 6. The rest of the top 8 is identical.
We know we have at least one more game after today. My guess is they’ll throw Tygart either tomorrow or Saturday and stretch him out to about 75 pitches, then turn him loose for the regional. And if there’s a fourth game, Hollan will start.
I think he also likes the first game in case there are any weather delays that day, which could cause the 2nd game to start really late or possibly get delayed until the next day, and would lead to an even quicker turnaround for the loser
Regionals last year started on Friday and some concluded on Monday, including our regional at Stillpatch. I think if BYU were in the field they’d have to have a bye day if the Cougs got to Sunday and then play a DH on Monday if needed.
By the way, BYU had a losing record this year and did not make the six-team WCC tournament. So I feel safe in saying their no-Sunday rule will not be a consideration for the committee.