Four Conference USA teams receive bids to NCAA baseball tourney
Rice, East Carolina, Southern Miss, and Memphis begin regional play on Friday
CUSA Fans Director of Content Thomas "Bubba" Rosenbaum updates us on the NCAA baseball tournament after four C-USA teams were invited to compete.
Monday, May 28, 2007
The 64-team field for this year’s NCAA Division I Baseball Championship was announced on Monday and it features four Conference USA teams. Rice received the league’s automatic bid while East Carolina, Southern Miss, and Memphis all earned at-large berths.
The Owls (49-12), who won CUSA’s regular season and tournament titles, were rewarded with the number two national seed and will host a regional for the sixth time in the last seven seasons. Rice had never made the NCAA tournament prior to legendary head coach Wayne Graham’s arrival in 1992. However, the Owls made their initial trip in 1995 and have now been in 13 straight seasons. The program has developed into one of the nation’s best, as they’ve participated in six super regionals, five College World Series and won the 2003 national title.
Rice will face fourth-seeded Prairie View A&M at 6:00 p.m. (CT) on Friday. The Panthers (34-23) qualified by winning the SWAC tournament title. Mountain West Conference-champion TCU (46-12) is the second-seed while in-state and Big 12 foe Baylor (34-25) will be the third-seed.East Carolina , which finished second in CUSA in both the regular season and tournament, will travel to the Chapel Hill Regional. The Pirates (39-21) are making their 22 nd NCAA appearance and eighth in the last nine years. Billy Godwin’s club is the second-seed and will face third-seeded Western Carolina at 2:00 p.m. (EST) on Friday. The Catamounts (40-18), who won the Southern Conference regular season title, received an at-large bid. No. 3 national seed and host North Carolina (48-12), who won the ACC tournament, will play fourth-seeded Jacksonville following the ECU game. The Dolphins (34-26) won the Atlantic Sun conference tourney to claim their bid.
Corky Palmer and Southern Miss will make its fifth straight tournament appearance and eighth in the program’s history. The Golden Eagles (38-21) used a late season run to obtain an at-large berth and they will be the second seed at the Oxford Regional. They will face third-seeded Troy (34-25) on Friday at 3:00 p.m. (CT). 19 th ranked Ole Miss (37-23), the host team, will square off with Southland conference tournament champion Sam Houston State (38-22) in the nightcap.
It looked as though Conference USA may only get three teams in, but Memphis received an at-large berth after its strong showing in the tournament—which included a 2-1 upset of No. 1 Rice. The Tigers (36-25) are making their fifth NCAA appearance and first since the 1994 season. Third-year head coach Daron Schoenrock struggled to a 13-42 mark in his first season, but has produced one of the nation’s best turnarounds in the past couple seasons. UM will travel to the Nashville Regional where it will face second-seeded Michigan at 2:00 p.m. (CT) on Friday. The Wolverines (39-16) won the Big 10 regular season title and received an at-large bid. Host Vanderbilt is the number one national seed. The SEC champion Commodores (51-11) will play fourth-seeded Austin Peay. The Governors (39-20) won the Ohio Valley Conference tourney.
Check back to CUSA-Fans.com for previews and recaps of these regionals.