Baseball NCAA Tournament Regional Overview

The 2018 NCAA College Baseball Tournament field was announced on Monday morning and to no surprise the Florida Gators were the number one national seed. Coach Kevin O’Sullivan’s team has been dominant for most of the season. Stanford, Oregon State, Ole Miss, Arkansas, North Carolina, Florida State, and Georgia rounded out the top eight national seeds. Now, for the first time the NCAA Baseball seeded teams 9 through 16 as Texas Tech, Clemson, Stetson, East Carolina, Texas, Minnesota, Coastal Carolina, and NC State. At first glance, out of the top eight seeds Florida State should have been the six and North Carolina the seven since the Seminoles beat the Tar Heels two out of three in Chapel Hill. Connecticut was snubbed as a regional host despite having a top 16 RPI and 25 road wins and the Huskies were sent to the Conway Regional. Kentucky was a notable snub from the field of 64 as the Wildcats were 30 in the RPI, but they did go 13-18 during SEC play and struggled down the stretch. However, Kentucky did go 16-16 against top 50 opponents, which was significantly better than Northeastern who was 3-9 against the top 50 but the Huskies earned an at-large berth. The Wildcats did have series wins against South Carolina, Georgia, Auburn and Texas Tech but they did go 2-4 against Alabama and Tennessee, who did not even make the SEC Conference Tournament.
If you are Kentucky, to take the decision out of the selection committee’s hands, you absolutely can’t lose conference series to teams that don’t even make the SEC Tournament. If the Wildcats had taken care of business against the Crimson Tide and Volunteers and gone 4-2 instead of 2-4 they would have been in the NCAA Tournament.
Stanford did not exactly get rewarded as the number two national seed with their draw. Baylor is red hot right now and they are the number two seed in this regional. Cal State Fullerton is the number three seed and they are always a problem to deal with during the tournament and Wright State is the number four seed. The Cardinal are probably going to need to go all the way to game seven in this regional if they are to move on to Super Regionals.
Ole Miss has a tricky draw as the number four national seed as they have Tennessee Tech as their number two seed and they are relentless offensively. Missouri State is a battled tested number three seed and Saint Louis is a tough number four seed. The Billikens have excellent pitching led by Drew Reveno and Miller Hogan, who both have an earned run average under 2.25. The Rebels have a lot of momentum after winning the SEC Conference Tournament in Hoover last weekend. Ryan Rolison and Brady Feigl anchor the rotation. Offensively, Ole Miss is deep and can beat you in a lot of way as they have hit .303 on the season to this point as a team and have hit 76 homeruns as a well. Expect plenty of offensive fireworks in the Oxford Regional.

If you are looking for a mid-major team to get bet on in the 2018 NCAA Baseball Tournament, there are some great odds available on the Stetson Hatters (click here for the best betting offers) to get to Omaha. Stetson is number four in the RPI and the Hatters have the pitching to make a deep run in June. Logan Gilbert, Jack Perkins, Mitchell Senger, and Joey Gonzalez are all quality starters that can eat up innings. This depth will also protect Stetson if they happen to lose one of the first two games and need play their way through the loser’s bracket this weekend.

Bottom line, this bracket seems balanced and has some potential for fireworks whether its Texas and Texas A&M renewing their rivalry in the Austin Regional or just the potential of multiple game sevens this weekend. This weekend should set the tone for a fun sprint to Omaha and the 2018 College World Series as we won’t get through the regionals with all 16 national seeds advancing to Super Regionals.