So here we are, the #1 seed in the tournament. LSU is ranked #1 in most of the polls, but the NCAA Selection Committee, which has never been the biggest LSU fans in the world, gave the Tigers the #4 seed while the Tar Heels got the #1 overall seed. That's our #1 seed. UNC doesn't know it yet, but they are just keeping it warm for us. I really want to beat these guys. I almost want them to win every game they play against teams other than LSU, just so we can be the team to eliminate them. I want no confusion here, I don't just want a title, I want there to be no doubt of our dominance. I want the Tar Heels destroyed, and I want to eat their souls.
UNC Tar Heels
Record: 57-10 (21-7), ACC champs
Odds of Winning CWS: 32.1%
*According to boydsworld.com ISR-Based Probabilities
LSU is #3 in the pseudo-RPI and #4 in the ISR, just for comparison. Boyd Nation gives the Heels a nearly 1 in 3 chance of winning the title, and a 46.1% chance of making the final series. UNC is the gambling line favorite as well. They have also struggled throughout the tournament and only won their Super Regional because South Carolina set new lows in derping. Still, this is the team we've been eyeing all year. They are good. If they do go on to win the title, they will be the first 60-win team to win the title. There's another team that has a shot to do that as well, but I'm not saying who...
Previous Trips to Omaha: 1960, 1966, 1978, 1989, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011
UNC is 15-19 all-time in Omaha and has never won the national title. They have come agonizingly close, losing in 2006 and 2007 in the final series to Oregon St. I guess this is also where we have to mention that no ACC team has won the national title since 1955. That's always fun to mention when we do our cross-conference trolling. Let's crank up the SEC chant. On the other hand, let's not forget UNC beat LSU twice in 2008 by a combined score of 15-7. Right now, UNC has scoreboard on LSU.
One day, someone will explain the ram to me. I don't get it.
James K. Polk (11th US President, subject of a They Might Be Giants song)
William Rufus King (13th US Vice President, drafted Compromise of 1850, possible gay partner of James Buchanan)
Andy Griffith (Wheel of Fortune)
Stuart Scott (BOO YAH!)
Shelby Foote (Civil War historian)
Peter Gammons (baseball writer)
Lenoir Chambers (Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing)
Thomas Wolfe (You Can't Go Home Again)
Caleb Bradham (inventor of Pepsi-Cola)
Larry Brown (SMU basketball coach)
Mia Hamm (Mrs. Nomar Garciaparra)
B.J. Surhoff (O's, hon)
Michael Jordan (Fruit of the Loom pitchman, pro gambler)
Jason Kilar (former CEO of Hulu)
Paul Kolton (chairman of American Stock Exchange)
Pretentious Music Video:
As mentioned before, Chapel Hill has been home to a pretty good local music scene. Power pop pioneers the dB's hail from Chapel Hill, as did noted bands such as Polvo, Superchunk, Corrosion of Conformity, Squirrel Nut Zippers, and that Ben Folds guy. However, my all-time favorite Chapel Hill act is the Archers of Loaf. The post-grunge period was a pretty cool time for music because for a few years there, the whole machinery broke down and all sorts of weird stuff just filtered through the cracks and into the mainstream. Even Pavement got a video on MTV. Now, eventually the weirdos got sent back to where they came from, but there was a brief moment when they walked among us. Also, this is a reminder that your current bands are a bunch of sissies. These amps go up to 11. As for a song choice, I'm going with the Underdogs of Nipomo by Archers of Loaf not just because it's a great song, but because I want UNC to know that despite their #1 overall seed, they are the underdogs now that we're in Omaha. You're in Alex Box North now. This is our house.
LHP Kent Emanuel 10-3, 2.11 ERA, 110.2 IP, 79/22 K/BB
LHP Hobbs Johnson 4-0, 2.14 ERA, 71.1 IP, 67/40 K/BB
RHP Benton Moss 8-1, 3.56 ERA, 81.0 IP, 84/30 K/BB
Oh, and did I mention Trent Thompson is 9-1 with 6 saves over 69.2 IP with an ERA of 1.29? The team has a 2.52 ERA, so it's not like you can hope to take advantage of their pen either. The frontline starters are great, they have probably the best reliever in the nation (sorry, Chris Cotton), and they have a deep and reliable stable of arms in the pen. They didn't get their lofty ranking because they have snazzy uniforms (I do like the powder blue and the white helmets), they got it because this team can pitch lights out. No matter who is on the mound, he's a hard guy to get to. And if he has a bad night, there's a ton of guys ready to step up and take his place. This is a frightening staff for opposing hitters.
3B Colin Moran 357/485/579
1B Cody Stubbs 362/444/579
OF Skye Bolt 349/449/550
I know you've heard it before, but this team is deep. UNC hits 305/410/442 as a team. Six regulars hit at least 300, five have an OBP of at least 400, and five guys slug at least 450. OK, the back of the order is a little soft, but this is a team that can run, hit for average, draw walks, and hit for power. There's nothing they cannot do. You're not dialed in to just beat one guy, you have to tame an entire lineup packed with good hitters. Opposing pitchers have an ERA of 7.05 for a reason.
I've wanted LSU to play UNC since this season started. It seems like the two teams have been on a collision course all year, as they both took long turns as the #1 team in the country. This is an outstanding baseball team that also has plenty of experience. North Carolina's not here to see the sights of Omaha, they are here to win a national title. This is the kind of opponent you dream about during fall ball.
LSU has embraced the biggest stage all year long. In their marquee matchups, LSU has played their best baseball. Heck, just look at last weekend and the hype surrounding Gray's start. LSU seemed to thrive on that kind of challenge, and I think they will thrive in a potential matchup with UNC. This is the game we've wanted all year.
Tiger Bait! Tiger Bait! Tiger Bait!