NCAA Tournament Pairings and Outlook

Blessed is something UM's baseball team can look at being with the terrible finish they had to what looked like a great season when it was announced UM would host the Coral Gables Regional.

A blessing is something they got when they were given the opportunity to host a Regional as Florida Atlantic, Virginia Commonwealth and Mississippi State head to Coral Gables to kick off the Coral Gables Regional this Friday when FAU plays Mississippi State at 3 pm.

Miami plays VCU in the second game at 7 pm.

But the ‘Canes who had a poor finish to the regular season have reason to be thankful in that hosting the Regional gives the ‘Canes a great advantage and should see them advance to the Super Regional at a location to be announced, but if Nebraska is to advance out of the Lincoln Regional, it's like UM will travel to Nebraska for the Super Regional, but if not, it's possible the ‘Canes could host the Super Regional as well.

Hosting its 21st Regional, the ‘Canes are in the NCAA Tournament for an NCAA record 33rd straight time and when hosting the ‘Canes are nearly untouchable as they've gone on to the College World Series 17 times out of the 20 previous times they've hosted a Regional.

The ‘Canes are 70-11 at home in Regional play, a ridiculous .864 winning percentage.

But the way Miami has played over the past two weeks, it needs to seriously get its act together if it expects to advance out of regional play.

Poor pitching, defense, hitting, coaching and everything you can think of has plagued Miami over the past two weeks that has seen UM score only 14 runs over the past six games, all losses.

At 38-17-1, they ‘Canes will get that chance to turn it around immediately when they face VCU.

It is more than pitching. The ‘Canes have to hit. The ‘Canes have to play the field well. The ‘Canes have to basically turn it completely around.

With that said, the ‘Canes are huge favorites in this region and should win it without breaking much of a sweat.

We'll know Friday night if there is a reason to sweat.

BREAKDOWN OF REGIONALS

The overall top eight seeds are Tulane, Georgia Tech, Nebraska, Baylor, Ole Miss, Cal-State Fullerton, Florida and Oregon State.

One is left to wonder how the Gators are hosting a Super Regional if they get to that point, which would pit them against Florida State if they both advance.

Florida got smacked by Ole Miss in back-to-back games in the SEC Tournament and finished with a good, but not spectacular record.

So it's one of things that make you wonder especially with the way the Gators struggled down the stretch. Miami had similar struggles down the stretch, but didn't grab a top eight seed.

With that said, you can expect Tulane to cruise through its New Orleans Regional, but its opponent in the Super Regional isn't as clear cut.

Rice travels to the Baton Rouge Region and is sure to give LSU fits.

The Long Beach Regional features host Long Beach State and Southern Cal, a team that seems to always make magic happen. The winner of those two will more than likely see Oregon State out of the Corvallis Regional.

Ole Miss will be the heavy favorite in the Oxford Regional and should meet up with Texas out of the Austin Regional.

The Clemson Regional will more than likely see the Tigers come out of their home stadium and see Baylor out of the Waco Regional.

In the Atlanta Regional Georgia Tech is a heavy favorite, but don't discount South Carolina, a team that is always quite dangerous.

The winner of those two will meet the winner of the Knoxville Regional, one that is a toss up with Tennessee, Wichita State and Winthrop all in contention.

The Tallahassee Regional should be a cakewalk for the Seminoles while the Gainesville Regional won't be for the Gators.

North Carolina and Notre Dame are always good and will provide a tough chore for the Gators to get by.

The defending National Champions Cal-State Fullerton should come away with the Fullerton Regional while the Tempe Regional is anyone's guess because the host team, Arizona State, is the No. 2 seed, while the top seed, Coastal Carolina is 48-14, but will be playing 3,000 miles from home.

Which leaves the Coral Gables Regional that Miami should win if the ‘Canes get their act together, but more than like will be heading to Lincoln for the Super Regional should the Cornhuskers win.

No matter what happens, it will be fun and hopefully, our ‘Canes will be making reservations for their home away from home, Omaha.

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