Thursday, May 29, 2008

NCAA Regional Preview

#1 Seed: #23 Arizona Wildcats (38-17, 12-12, RPI #10)

The wildcats are a powerful offensive team, with eight hitters batting .299 or better. The Wildcats went just .500 in PAC-10 play, but are coming off series victories over #4 Arizona State and #15 Stanford to end the season. Arizona hoped to host a regional, but were named the last #1 seed and sent a long way from home to Ann Arbor. Arizona began the season ranked #2 in the country and they are the only #1 seed not hosting their regional.

Offensive player to watch: C.J. Ziegler, Senior 1b (.340; 19 HR; 53 RBI; .684 Slugging %)
Pitcher to watch: Schlereth, Daniel, Junior LHP (2-0; 1.73 ERA; 74 SO; 16 BB)

#2 Seed: #16 Michigan Wolverines (45-12, 26-5, RPI #35)

Michigan is a dark horse in the tournament because nobody is quite sure what to expect out of the Wolverines. Michigan boasts a well balanced team, hitting .315 with a team ERA of 4.07. Despite upsetting #1 ranked Vanderbilt in last year's regionals Michigan's 45-12 record wasn't good enough to warrant a #1 seed this year. The reason - the most of those wins came in the Big Ten which has an RPI of 13, behind conferences such as the WCC, Sun Belt, CAA, Big East, and MVC. I don't even know what the WCC, CAA, or MVC are! Michigan is just 1-4 against RPI top 25 teams so they will need to be clicking on all cylinders if they hope to advance to their second straight super regional.

Offensive player to watch: Nate Recknagel, Senior 1b (.372; 23 HR; 68 RBI; .758 Slugging %)
Pitcher to watch: Chris Fetter, Junior RHP (10-1; 2.39 ERA; 75 SO; 25 BB)

#3 Seed: Kentucky Wildcats (42-17, 16-14, RPI #33)
Kentucky is another extremely balanced team that could make a run to come out of the regional on top despite their #3 seed. The Wildcats are led by first team All-American, Sawyer Carroll who boasts a .415 average to go along with 15 home runs and 78 RBI. As a team, Kentucky hits at a .320 clip to go with a 3.53 ERA. This is Kentucky's 6th ever NCAA appearance and their 42 wins are the second most in school history.

Offensive player to watch: Sawyer Carroll, Senior OF/1B (.415; 15 HR; 78 RBI; .755 Slugging %)
Pitcher to watch: Chris Rusin, Junior LHP (Canton, MI) (6-2; 2.84 ERA; 65 SO; 17 BB)

#4 Seed: Eastern Michigan University (25-32, 15-8, RPI #160)
Somehow Eastern Michigan has come back from an 0-17 start to make the NCAA Tournament after winning the automatic bid from the MAC. The Eagles are huge underdogs and would shock everybody if they can come away with a win in the regional. The Eagles are coached by Jake Boss who is in his first year at Eastern Michigan after leaving his assistant coaching job at Michigan last season.

Offensive player to watch: Zach Leonard, FR OF/IF (.342; 9 HR; 51 RBI)
Pitcher to watch: umm...we'll go with N/A here as EMU has a team ERA of 7.65


Arizona over Eastern
Michigan over Kentucky

Kentucky over Eastern
Arizona over Michigan

Kentucky over Michigan
Arizona over Kentucky

Order of Finish:
1) Arizona
2) Kentucky
3) Michigan
4) Eastern

in other news, my posting will be light for awhile as I'm without my laptop seeing as my house got robbed last night. At least I made the paper....


Andrew Seid said...

Daniel Schlereth is also the son of ESPN analyst Mark Schlereth...a little useless trivia for the masses.

Andrew Seid said...

WCC - West Coast Conference (known for basketball programs such as Gonzaga and Saint Mary's)

CAA - Colonial Athletic Conference (home to the likes of Virginia Commonwealth and UNC-Wilmington)

MVC - Missouri Valley Conference (have some very strong baseball programs like Wichita State and Missouri State)

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