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  • College Baseball Primer for the Casual Kentucky College Baseball Fan



    There are some hardcore college baseball fans on the board, and some really diehard Kentucky baseball fans. And there are others who are a little more casual, but enjoying the season Kentucky is having, and haven't really been into college baseball much, if any, over the years. This is for them. And I don't mean to be too simple for anyone here, but this is a primer, and is meant for anybody.

    Kentucky plays baseball in the SEC. It has traditionally been the best college baseball conference in America, occasionally sharing that with the ACC, which is also very good. Usually about 8 teams get invitations to the NCAA tournament, which invites 64 teams, just like basketball.

    This year, the SEC placed 8 teams in the field of 64 as well.

    The NCAA tournament is set up with 16 Regionals. Many of the SEC teams earned a # 1 seed (top 16 team), and were allowed to host their Regional, Kentucky included.

    Of the eight SEC teams making the field of 64, six of them advanced as the winners of their Regionals: LSU, Florida, Texas A&M, Kentucky, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt. That means that 6 of the final 16 teams in the country are from the SEC.

    The format for the NCAA Tournament is sort of a 3-step process:

    a) The 16 Regionals mentioned above, in a double elimination format, seeded # 1 through # 4. Winners produce 16 teams remaining.

    b) When the field is reduced to those 16 teams, it advances to what are called "Super Regionals." The Super Regionals are a unique format--there are only 2 teams in each "Super Regional," pitting one Regional champion against another Regional Champion in a best two-of-three series.

    The Super Regionals are pitted in advance--so you knew, for example, that the "Lexington Regional" champion would face the "Louisville Regional" champion before the Regionals even began. Kentucky won the Lexington Regional, so they advanced to face Louisville, who won the Louisville Regional, and the three games will all be played in Louisville at their home field.

    Why?

    The NCAA selects 8 "National Seeds" who they believe are the top 8 teams in the country, before the tournament begins. Louisville was the # 7 National Seed. All eight National Seeds, if they win their Regional, are guaranteed to host the "Super Regional."

    Kentucky was, by all accounts, the # 9 team according to the NCAA, just missing out on a coveted National Seed. Stanford drew the # 8 national seed, and objectively, had a case for earning it with their very hot play down the stretch, winning something like 21 of their final 23, while Kentucky lost a series to Georgia, lost a series to Florida, and lost two-of-three in the SEC tournament in 3 of their final 4 weekends.

    (Side note--Stanford did not win their Regional).

    Rather than the NCAA re-seeding, or changing the matchups when an upset or two happens, they keep the original Super Regional matchups, and just award a hosting to one of the teams that pulled the upset. So a team like Kentucky, next in the pecking order, would not get a chance to host a Super Regional unless their Super Regional opponent/National Seed lost. Louisville did not lose, so that's why we play in Louisville.

    c) The winners of the 8 Super Regionals advance next week to Omaha in the College World Series. We can discuss this more in detail should Kentucky defeat Louisville twice, but the CWS format is, basically, two Regionals, then a Super Regional, in effect. Basically, the tournament divides the eight teams into two four-team double-elimination brackets, just like a Regional. The winner of each of those two brackets will meet in a best two-of-three championship series to determine the winner.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: College Baseball Primer for the Casual Kentucky College Baseball Fan started by Darrell KSR View original post
    Comments 4 Comments
    1. Darrell KSR's Avatar
      Darrell KSR -
    1. ShoesSwayedBlue's Avatar
      ShoesSwayedBlue -
      Thank You! Obviously I'm not a new UK fan [not new at all in any way anymore] but I admit I'm just beginning to follow UK baseball much. It's not that I'm a fan of any other college team or any MLB teams now. I loved , I mean LOVED, baseball growing up but the first strike hit when I was 16 and I never understood it. Looking back I can see the players point, but tell that to a 16 year old. Then the guys I grew up watching [the Big Red Machine guys, Schmidt, Brett, etc. began to leave and I fell a little further then the 95 strike and juicing finally did it for me.

      I think only UK excelling could have gotten me back into it. I'll never be a huge MLB fan again but I'm all in on UK on the diamond.

      On a side note. I cannot remember the last time I saw kids playing sandlot.
    1. Hoss's Avatar
      Hoss -
      Terrific breakdown! As a casual fan, that was solid info!
    1. BigBluePappy's Avatar
      BigBluePappy -
      "I remember that 1988 matchup, and I kept thinking when I heard people say Kentucky had never been to a Super Regional that they were wrong. Well, they were right--it wasn't a Super Regional then, but it was exactly the same thing. There were 16 teams remaining, and they played a best-of-three series to go to the CWS. But it wasn't called that then, it was just the finals of the 8 Regionals, when they only had 48 teams in the NCAA tournament."

      The very reason I went and edited a post in another thread. Thanks Mr. Cartwright for helping me keep this foggy old memory straight. It is heck getting older, but it beats the alternative.