Well its the best time of year again, when they crack out the chalk at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Nebraska as the College World Series returns. I'll keep a running blog for all of my fellow Fannationers who love a little college b-ball. The CWS is a double elimination tournament, with Bracket 1 getting started tomorrow, June 15th and Bracket 2 getting started Saturday, June 16th. Here goes:
Rice (54-12) vs. Louisville (46-22)
Rice will win this game, putting Louisville's Cinderella story in jeopardy. This is the Cardinals' first trip to Omaha, and they unfortunately got the nationally-ranked #2 - and top remaining seed - Rice Owls. Rice is a perrenial superpower, and this could be another championship year for the powerful Owl team. Rice is lead by 1st-round pick Joe Savery and pitcher Matt Langwell.
North Carolina (53-13) vs. Mississippi State (38-20)
North Carolina should easily win this game. Mississippi State is the only SEC representative, which is a bit of a surprise. North Carolina, the national runner-up last season, is the 3rd ranked team nationally, and an offensive powerhouse. They led the ACC in homers, and the Tarheels beat a very good South Carolina team to advance to Omaha. Senior centerfielder Jeffery Rea leads the Bulldogs in their first CWS appearance since 2001.
UC Irvine (53-16) vs. Arizona State (46-13)
UC Irvine is the true Cinderella story in this tournament, this being their first CWS appearance in school history. After advancing with a gusty win over Witchita State, the Anteaters have shown they have heart. They are going to need more than heart, however, to defeat the 5th ranked Arizona State Sun Devils. ASU comes in with a powerful squad which won the competitive Pac-10 conference. UCI will need a miracle to keep the Cinderella story going.
Oregon State (44-18) vs. CSU Fullerton (38-23)
Oregon State, the defending national champions, comes in as a bit of an underdog. After a disappointing Pac-10 season in which they finished 10-14, they got a ticket to the tourney by virtue of a very tough non-conference schedule. There they defeated Michigan, who defeated No. 1 Vanderbilt. Traditional powerhouse Fullerton comes in on a bit of a down season, however, they come into Omaha looking for nothing less than a title. The Titans are led by junior centerfielder Clark Hardman and junior starting pitcher Wes Roemer. The Titans are hoping that their experience on the national stage will help them over the less-experienced field.
There you go. Check back in for updates and next round's schedule and predictions.