It's only fitting that college baseball would be full of upsets during the opening rounds of the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Just to make my job harder.
The National Seeds
LSU, UCLA, Texas A&M, Florida State, USC, UCF, Illinois, Arizona State
As hard as the bullpen tried to change that, LSU (21-3) held on to the top national seed for the third week in a row, but after that it's a bombshell. South Carolina (18-6), Florida (20-5), and TCU (17-4) all dropped series this weekend and dropped from the top 8. UCF (20-5), Illinois (17-5), and Arizona State (15-7) all took advantage of this and made the jump from regional host to national seed. UCLA (17-5), Aggy (24-1), Florida State (19-6), and USC (19-5) all stayed where they were.
UCLA swept Utah and did so without mercy, to the tune of 14-2, 3-0, and 11-2. The Bruins will likely retain their spot in the top 8 as they get the opportunity to touch up Washington State this weekend.
Texas A&M won the series against Alabama, but lost the finale during the doubleheader for their only imperfection on the year. Now that they don't have to worry about the pressure of being perfect, it will be interesting to see if they can carry their success deep into conference play. The Ags will get another surprising hot SEC team, Missouri (18-6, 5-1 in SEC), coming into College Station this weekend.
Now for the required #TalkinBoutTheNoles portion of the program. Florida State had a bit of an up and down week that started off with them losing to rivals Florida 14-8 and then dropping game 1 against Virginia 8-4 (sans Brian O'Connor). The Noles turned around and bested the Cavs 12-10 and 13-1 to win the series. The Seminoles get a much easier week with Alabama A&M and Virginia Tech.
Much like FSU, USC was able to turn their week around on Saturday after losing to Frenso State 14-7 and losing to Cal Poly 5-4 to start the weekend before taking games 2 and 3 to the tune of 13-0 and 9-2.
Now everybody turn your Orlando Travel Guide to Rooney 20:5 I'm not going to start my UCF sermon again (I'm saving it for later), but they continue to impress me. Yeah they dropped a game vs. Presbyterian 8-6 Saturday, but they turned around and blasted them 18-4, because they crossed Citronaut. Does this look like the face of mercy to you?
With Florida and South Carolina bowing out from the national seeds, Illinois and Arizona State were recipients of the free seat upgrades from business to first class. Much like Sufjan Stevens album, Illinois is lowkey great without a lot of fanfare. Sure, they're not playing world beaters, but they rode the wave of their series win at Oklahoma State to another series victory, this time against South Florida. The Illini don't exactly wow you in any specific area, they just sort of win ball games. No Aaron Nola minuscule ERA or AJ Reed monster averages, just winning series.
Arizona State worked their way back into the national seeds following a series win against Oregon. The Sun Devils are noted from taking a series from Oklahoma State (a team that I believe is exactly the same as Arizona State) then turning around and dropping the series against TCU and I think are finally hitting their stride after sweeping Oregon State and then beating Oregon.
TCU, Vanderbilt, Florida, Oregon State, South Carolina, Oklahoma State, Louisville, Maryland
Thank you, Oklahoma State. Thank you for finally playing up to your potential I knew you had. The Cowboys finally put it all together and were able to take 2 of 3 from TCU, dragging TCU out of a national seed while hoisting themselves up to a hosting slot. Okie Lite put up 7 runs in both their wins and only let Texas Christian plate 2 in the deciding game on Sunday.
Speaking of national seeds sliding back, hi Florida! Yeesh, I mean I talked about how FSU and USC flipped their weeks around for the better, while Florida took the elevator down. The Gators beat the Seminoles as I mentioned before, then just totally broke down against Ole Miss. The offense was handcuffed for the first two games, only putting up a grand total of 3 runs to the Rebels' 9. They bounced back and put it the diamondbearz (who were without a suspended Sikes Orvis) 8-4 to finish the series, but at that point the damage was done.
And hello to you too, South Carolina! The Gamecocks fell victim to Mizzou, who took the series and are now 5-1 in SEC play no wait where are you going I'm being serious. Missouri is 18-6 (no, really) and is a good team (I'm not joking), but at this stage in the game you can't lose a series to a team outside the Elite 8 and expect to stay as a national seed.
Oregon State rode Drew Rasmussen's perfect game to a sweep and into a spot hosting a regional after they got bumped out last week. Seriously, a perfect game. And they shut poor Wazzu down outside of that, allowing only 3 runs all weekend.
Louisville swept Notre Dame, but they were stuck behind UCF and co. when it came to the race into the national seed slots once they opened up. llvll has a huge week ahead, at Indiana then coming back to College Park to play host to Georgia Tech, both tournament teams. A sweep of all four games would pretty much allow them to walk into the national seeds country club next week.
And gold star to Maryland, who earned their first ever B1G sweep and place as a national seed after kicking Minnesota's carcass around. Hey, Big Ten!
The Rest Of The Field
The Group Of Death Of The Week® belongs to Florida, who gets the privilege of getting cozy with the likes of FAU (20-5) and Georgia Tech (16-7), both of whom pose a serious threat to the Gators as well as Smoke Laval's Ospreys too I guess.
LSU's regional is light, which is a perk of being the #1 overall seed. Texas Tech (16-8) was a regional host before they dropped a series to Oklahoma, which relegated them to a 2 seed and thanks to the power of politics and geography (I tried to draw the non-hosts to a regional that was close but wasn't hosted by/includes a team from their own conference) they get to drive across a whole state and a half. Wofford, other than having the cutest, most adorable mascot hold a 20-6 (!) record in which they split a 4 game set against their regional counterpart, Harvard, who is...well, they're the best team in a conference full of nerds, and they have a winning record (10-8), so good for them!
Until next time, peace be the journey.