Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Houston Regional full of familiar faces

Because there are fewer than six degrees of separation between Rice coach Wayne Graham and New York Yankees legend Yogi Berra, it isn't a wild assumption to believe Graham muttered, "It's like déjà vu all over again" upon first glance at the Houston Regional field.

The NCAA baseball selection committee on Monday announced the pairings for the 64-team NCAA Tournament, and the four-team Houston Regional features three returnees from 2006: Rice (49-12), Baylor (34-25) and Prairie View (34-23).

The newcomer is TCU (46-12), which Rice has played six times in the past three seasons, including a three-game set at Reckling Park in 2005.

"It's a solid regional," said Graham, whose Owls are the No. 2 national seed and will host the Houston Regional at Reckling. (Vanderbilt is the tourney's No. 1 seed.)

"We played them all. TCU has great talent, and Baylor is on the upswing after finishing second in the Big 12 tournament. Prairie View has everybody back. They present a problem. They seem to play extremely well against us."

Outside of the lack of creativity on the part of the committee, few could quarrel with the bracketing of the regional.

CHRONICLE: Complete story

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