Canes Learn Who Will Join Them in Regional

Given the surprise of being awarded a regional hosting spot on Sunday, I think the natural inclination was to feel like Miami would be given a tougher than average regional.

Part of that was because many felt that a traveling one seed would be sent out to Coral Gables. The other part of that was because sometimes you see stronger two seeds matched with the perceived weaker one seeds even though the tournament selection committee vehemently denies that that is the case.

Certainly no draw in the postseason is really an easy draw because you are playing the best of the best at this point, but the one given to Miami is more than manageable.

The two seed in Coral Gables will be the Central Florida Knights, a team the Canes are more than familiar with. There was a time when it looked like UCF would be hosting and not traveling to a regional, but a slight slide late in the season cost them that. Miami and UCF split the pair of games they played during the regular season.

The Missouri State Bears are seeded third and among all the three seeds in the tournament, MSU might be the best one. The Bears finished just a half game out of first place in the 5th-ranked RPI conference in the nation, the Missouri Valley Conference. They are led by ace starter Nick Petree, who might be the best starter in the nation that no one has really heard of.

The four seed is Stony Brook. The Seawolves were the runaway champions of the America East Conference and boast the highest winning percentage in college baseball over the last two seasons, but they will certainly notice a step up in competition this weekend.

These teams are formidable, there's no doubt, but it's nothing like having Kentucky, a team that many feel was snubbed for a host spot, or Mississippi State, possibly the hottest team in college baseball, in your regional.

The best news of all for the Hurricanes might be that the Coral Gables regional is not paired up with the Gainesville regional. Drawing the winner of the Baton Rouge regional, presumably LSU, is not an easy draw, but it's certainly better than the possibility of traveling back out to the place where Miami's season has ended the last two years.

Games in the Coral Gables regional begin Friday. Game times are set for 2 p.m. eastern and 7 p.m. eastern each day.

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