ALL TIMES EASTERN
South Carolina (42-18) at No. 1 North Carolina (55-9)
1 p.m. (ESPN2), Noon (ESPN), 1 p.m. (ESPN)
TV: Dari Nowkhah, Danny Graves & Danny Kanell
UNC got the short end of the stick by getting the Friday game after a marathon against FAU monday night that nearly killed their pitching staff. USC marched through their home regional, easily dispatching Cinderella favorite St Louis and not even facing Clemson, who couldn't get out of the losers bracket. UNC is the #1 overall seed because they are a very complete team with some big boppers at the plate in Colin Moran and FR Skye Bolt and a wealth of talent on the mound. The main question is how rested those Tar Heel arms are going to be. If USC wants to pull the upset, they'll need to strike hard on Friday and hope they can withstand the onslaught. I don't see it happening.
Prediction: UNC 2-0
Rice (44-18) at North Carolina State (47-14)
4 p.m. (ESPN2), 4 p.m. (ESPN2), 4 p.m. (ESPNU)
TV: Tom Hart & Paul Lo Duca
The Owls pulled the first big upset of the tournament, blasting national seed Oregon out of the water in Eugene, while the Wolfpack had a relatively easy weekend as The Tribe from William & Mary were able to put Ole Miss At Home Again before falling to NC State in the final. Rice is a perennial power that was supposed to be on a down year, but they proved just how dangerous they can be on the road.
Prediction: Rice 2-1
Oklahoma (43-19) at No. 4 LSU (55-9)
7 p.m. (ESPN), 7 p.m. (ESPN2), 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
TV: Mike Patrick, Kyle Peterson & Kaylee Hartung
More on this elsewhere on ATVS, of course, but for completeness sake, let me say that I think this will be LSU's greatest challenge of the season. The Tigers messed around and still swept the regional last week. That won't fly against the Sooners. Even at home, even as the greatest team in LSU history, this is a tough task.
Prediction: LSU 2-1
UCLA (42-17) at No. 5 Cal State Fullerton (51-8)
7 p.m. (ESPN2), 10 p.m. (ESPN2), 10 p.m. (ESPN2)
Carter Blackburn, Nomar Garciaparra & Jessica Mendoza
The NCAA made the odd decision to force all of the California programs to destroy each other before leaving just one for Omaha. UCLA and Fullerton has become THE California series of recent years and should provide some great late night entertainment this weekend. CSF won the 2 game home and home series between the two clubs this year (though they were close games) and is hosting. It'll be a great series, but I don't see how UCLA can win it.
Prediction: CSF 2-0
Indiana (46-14) at No. 7 Florida State (47-15)
Noon (ESPNU), 1 p.m. (ESPNU), 1 p.m. (ESPN2)
Mike Morgan & Doug Glanville
The lone B1G combatant remaining, Indiana was done no favors by being sent to Tallahassee for the mid-day heat death time slot. It's a good Hoosier team, who hosted and won a regional for the first time in program history with a great solid lineup. But beating FSU in Dick Howser for a trip to Omaha is a nearly impossible task. Plus, B1G baseball is an abomination.
Prediction: FSU 2-0
Mississippi State (46-18) at No. 6 Virginia (47-10)
1 p.m. (ESPN2), 7 p.m. (ESPNU), 4 p.m. (ESPN2)
Clay Matvick & Ben McDonald
You think State at Ole Miss is a culture clash? Wait till the Bulldogs get a load of Charlottesville. State had to escape their own regional after being forced to a game seven by upstart Central Arkansas. Meanwhile, UVA was very dominant with another Brian O'Connor squad that looks poised to finally break the ACC title drought. Of course, we've been saying that about UVA for a few years now. Wes Rea and his cans of Copenhagen will put a scare into the Hoos, but the disappointment of a season ending loss awaits them in Omaha, not at home
Prediction: UVA 2-1
Louisville (49-12) at No. 2 Vanderbilt (54-10)
3 p.m. (ESPN), 4 p.m. (ESPN), 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Dave Neal & Chris Burke
In their final years of Big East membership, Louisville stands poised to join the ranks of the super powers of college baseball. A program on the rise, fresh off a dominating win in their own hosted regional, the Cardinals have the makeup of a team that could make a decent run at the championship. Unfortunately, their Road to Omaha runs through Nashville. Vandy got a scare from a very inconsistent Georgia Tech team, but handled the elimination game very well and should be over any lingering effects of the weekend. Stranger things have happened in rivalry games, but I have a hard time saying any team in the country could take a best 2 out of 3 from the Dores this year
Prediction: Vandy 2-1
Kansas State (44-17) at No. 3 Oregon State (48-10)
7 p.m. (ESPNU), 10 p.m. (ESPNU), 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
Joe Davis, Alex Cora & Jay Walker
Your other late night entertainment this weekend provides a bit of intrigue. Oregon St is vastly improved since we saw them in the 2012 Baton Rouge regional, but they eeked out late inning wins in the sweep of their home regional. Kansas St is defying the odds as the 2nd representative of the abysmal BXII to make it to the Supers this year. The Cats fell into an early 0-3 hole against Arkansas but battled back to win the regional and advance to the program's first Super. I actually have a tough time deciding this one because I don't think I trust the Beavers as much as I probably should.
Prediction: OSU 2-1
Side Note: HEY ALEX CORA! HOW HAVE YOU BEEN?