Tough Draw for Tide

There was no time for the Alabama baseball team to sweat or fret during the ESPN telecast unveiling the 64 NCAA tournament teams Monday morning. The Crimson Tide's destination - New Orleans, La., the home field of No. 1 national seed Tulane – was the first of 16 Regional sites revealed.

Alabama (No. 2 seed, 38-21 overall) will face No. 3 seed Louisiana-Lafayette (47-17 overall) in New Orleans on Friday, while Tulane will face No. 4 seed Southern University (29-16 overall) in the other half of the four-team double elimination Regional this weekend.

The Tulane Regional will begin Friday and go through either Sunday or Monday. An "if necessary" game is scheduled for Monday. Game and practiced times will be determined and released later on Monday.

"We can't help where they put us," sophomore pitcher Wade LeBlanc said. "I was thinking all along we were going somewhere in the ACC, but you've just got to take it as it comes."

Alabama was hoping to be one of the higher rated No. 2 seeds and get into a favorable Regional, preferably one not containing one of the top-eight national seeds. Instead the Tide is grouped with the top-seeded, and top-ranked squad in the country in Tulane.

"Every year that we're in a Regional the questions are ‘Do you feel you've been screwed by going to this Regional while another team went to a different Regional?' It's not my job to worry about that," Alabama Head Coach Jim Wells said.

"There are going to be decisions that people don't agree with. There's going to be favoritism. The best thing is we don't have any control over that."

The selection committee apparently relied heavily on RPI ratings to rank the seeds. Auburn, for example, though they did not make the SEC tournament, earned a No. 2 seed and will play travel to Florida State, who is not a top-eight national seed, for its Regional.

"Looking at the computers and stuff I though that we would probably go to Florida State," senior infielder Rocky Scelfo said.

Auburn is ranked ahead of Alabama in RPI even though the Tide won the head-to-head series and finished with a better conference record.

Wells said, "You look at Auburn going to Florida State and they didn't make the Southeastern Conference Tournament, so that would contradict that (late-season performance was a major factor.)"

"If you go with the RPI then it makes a lot of sense," he said.

Another indicator that RPI was the measure most heavily relied on is that Mississippi earned the No. 5 overall national seed despite not winning either the overall SEC title, SEC Western Division title or the SEC tournament. The Rebels did have the highest RPI among SEC teams, however.

Florida, the SEC regular season champion, was the No. 7 overall seed and only other national top-eight seed from the SEC.

Alabama will enter Regional play the same way it entered the 2005 regular season, with few outside expectations of positive results.

"I've tried to get across that we've been in the toughest league and we won 17 games. That's quite an accomplishment," Wells said. "We're not supposed to win so they can just go out there and relax."


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