Archived Story

Snubs abound in this year’s NCAA tourney

Published 2:26pm Thursday, May 30, 2013

Adding insult to injury after losing both their baseball and softball coaches, the Auburn Tigers were shafted out of a NCAA tourney slot.
With an overall better record than both Texas A&M (32-27 .542) and Florida (29-28 .509, the Auburn Tigers got shafted. With a record of 33-23 and a .589 winning percentage, the Tigers should have been selected to the tournament.
Point:  Both the Aggies and the Gators stunk in SEC play and both finished under .500 in the conference.
If you are going to select eight teams from the conference, then why did Auburn get left out with a better body of work than two other teams?
Alabama, 34-26 overall and 14-15-in SEC competition will open against Troy in the Tallahassee Regional on Friday.
No. 7 Florida State will win that regional.
No. 1 LSU and winner of the SEC tournament will host the Baton Rouge Regional and open with Jackson State Friday.
No. 2 Vanderbilt will also host their regional in Nashville and play host to East Tennessee State on Friday.
Here are the other SEC teams and their opening day opponents:
Arkansas faces Bryant in the Manhattan regional, Mississippi State takes on Central Arkansas in the Starkville regional, Florida and Valparaiso clash in the Bloomington regional, Ole Miss tangles with William & Mary in the  Raleigh regional, and South Carolina goes against Saint Louis in the Columbia Regional.
The only teams I see advancing to the Super Regionals are LSU, Vanderbilt and possibly Mississippi State.
My first eight picks to make it there are North Carolina, Cal-State Fullerton, Oregon, LSU, Vanderbilt, Florida State, Virginia and Oregon State. My sleeper pick is Army.
My choices for the other eight slots are Kansas State, Clemson, N.C State, Cal Poly, Oklahoma, Louisville, Indiana and Mississippi State.
Watch out for Mercer in the Starkville regional, and Cal Poly could see UCLA in the finals of the Los Angeles regional.
There are 10 Division 1 teams that had better overall records in 2013 than Florida, Arkansas, Ole Miss and Texas A&M, but they were left out of the tournament.
The NCAA and college baseball should take a strong look at what and possibly who decides the tournament brackets.
Just like college football, the current format needs to be revised.
In fact, it stinks the way the teams are chosen.
Point: The Campbell Camels (49-10) finished runner-up to Liberty (34-27) in the Big-South finals 2-1 and so the Camels were not selected.  Here is a team that went 20-3 in their final 23 games.
The Camels had the best conference record in the Big South at 19-5.
Coastal Carolina (37-21) also from the Big South made the tournament.
Liberty will play in the Columbia Regional against Clemson. If you win your conference then you should have an automatic bid.
But after that, there should be a better plan for choosing who should advance to the NCAA tournament.
I couldn’t care less what your conference is called or the bias perception of the media.
When you discuss college baseball, you talk about some programs that may not even have college football on their campus or college football is not their main sport.
Look no further than college basketball and the annual surprises that pop up during the NCAA tournament.
One of the main arguments I have is why any conference should be allowed to have more than half of their respective conference in the tournament.
This is not an argument against the SEC. It is a complaint that teams such as Campbell, Pittsburgh (42-17), Seton Hall (37-19) and Illinois State (39-19) were left out.
Regardless of how you wish to spin this, these teams very well could have defeated the likes of an Alabama, Florida, Arkansas or Mississippi.
“I was looking for a fastball, he threw a curve and I got vapor-locked,” Brad Mills told reporters after becoming Nolan Ryan’s 4000th strikeout victim.
Until next time …
Meyers is a sports columnist for  The Outlook. You can follow him on Twitter at @brucemeyers11.

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