Tuesday, May 29, 2007

C-USA lands four in NCAA Tournament

Conference USA has received four bids to the 2007 NCAA Baseball Championship, as announced by the Division I baseball committee on Monday. Rice will host the Houston Regional as the No. 2 national seed, while East Carolina will be the No. 2 seed in Chapel Hill, N.C., Southern Miss will be the No. 2 seed in Oxford, Miss. and Memphis will travel up the road to Nashville, Tenn. where it will compete as the No. 3 seed. Only the ACC (7), Big 12 (6) and SEC (5) had more selections than C-USA.

Rice (49-12) owns the fourth-best record in college baseball and is the No.2 ranked team in the latest polls. The Owls won the regular season Conference USA title with a 22-2 league record for the second straight year and followed that up by winning the C-USA Tournament in Greenville, N.C. with a 16-8 victory over host East Carolina on Sunday. Rice will be hosting a regional for the sixth time in seven years as it makes its 13th consecutive NCAA appearance. For the second straight year, the Owls will open regional play against SWAC champion Prairie View A&M (34-23) in its first game on Friday. Rice won the only regular season meeting between the teams, 5-4 on April 3. The Owls will then play one of two former Southwest Conference rivals in No. 2 seed TCU (46-12), Mountain West Conference Champions, or No. 3 seed Baylor (34-25), an at-large choice from the Big 12, in the next round.

East Carolina (39-21) returns to the NCAA Championship for the eighth time in nine seasons as the C-USA tournament runner-up heads down the road to Chapel Hill, N.C. The Pirates will play Western Carolina (40-18), an at-large choice from the Southern Conference, in the Chapel Hill regional. ECU defeated WCU, 3-2 on March 4 in Greenville. Host North Carolina (48-12), the number three national seed, will play Atlantic Sun Conference tournament champion Jacksonville (34-26), in the other Friday game in that regional.

Southern Miss (38-21) will be playing in the NCAA Championship for the fifth consecutive season. The second-seeded Golden Eagles are matched up with third-seeded Troy (34-25) for the second year in a row. Southern Miss dropped their only regular season meeting with the Trojans, falling 3-2 on February 25 in the Wiregrass Classic in Dothan, Ala. The two teams played a three-game series in Hattiesburg last year, which Southern Miss swept, but Troy defeated the Golden Eagles twice in the Tuscaloosa Regional to eliminate USM. Mississippi (37-23) will play Sam Houston State (38-22), Southland Conference tournament champions, in the other first-day game.

Memphis (36-24) will be making its first NCAA appearance since 1994 and the fifth in school history. Two years after finishing 13-42, the senior-led Tigers will be the No. 3 seed at the Nashville Regional and will face Big Ten Conference regular season champion Michigan (39-16), the No. 2 seed, in its first game. Number one overall national seed Vanderbilt (51-11), regular season and tournament champions of the Southeastern Conference, will square off against Ohio Valley Conference Tournament champion Austin Peay (39-20) in its first day game.

Rice Tournament Central
East Carolina Tournament Central
Southern Miss Tournament Central
Memphis Tournament Central

No comments: