We've narrowed the NCAA Tournament field from 64 down to 16 after a fantastic Regional weekend and now the Super Regionals are set. Every one of these matchups features some awesome storylines and there should be some great baseball played across the country.
If this weekend is anything like last, we're in for a wild ride to determine the eight teams which will head to Omaha for the College World Series.
Tennessee vs. Notre Dame
No. 1 overall seed Tennessee took care of business in the Knoxville Regional, but the Vols trailed by four runs in two of their three games before eventually overwhelming Campbell and Georgia Tech. The Camels and Yellow Jackets were both in the Top 10 nationally in home runs, though, so some offensive resistance on the Vols' pitching staff was to be expected.
Notre Dame went 3-0 in the Statesboro Regional, taking out Texas Tech twice as well as dispatching Georgia Southern. If there's a concern for the Fighting Irish, it's that they scored just 11 total runs in their three games. They will certainly need more from their bats to take two of three from the juggernaut Volunteers.
Stanford vs. UConn
Stanford had to fight its way out of the losers' bracket and beat a very good Texas State team twice in the championship to advance out of its home Regional. The Cardinal will get another test from a good mid-major squad in the Supers when UConn comes to Palo Alto.
The Huskies took out host Maryland to advance to their first Super Regional since 2011 and will look to advance to the CWS for the first time since 1979. I think everyone is rooting for UConn to upend a No. 2 overall seed that looked very beatable this past weekend.
Oregon State vs. Auburn
In one of the three Supers between national seeds, Auburn will make the trip out west to Corvallis to take on Oregon State.
The Tigers were probably one of the most surprisingly impressive teams of the weekend, making light work of Southeastern Louisiana (19-7), Florida State (21-7) and UCLA (11-4) en route to the Super Regionals. Auburn was fighting for a host spot all the way through the SEC Tournament, but it looks like they've definitely turned it on at the right time.
Oregon State sent Vanderbilt packing in its Regional, but if SEC Player of the Year Sonny DiChiara and the Tigers keep swinging the bats they way they did last weekend, the Beavers will have their hands full yet again.
Virginia Tech vs. Oklahoma
Virginia Tech sleepwalked through the Blacksburg Regional, winning its three games by a combined 31 runs. The Hokies will have a much tougher time this weekend when Oklahoma comes to town, fresh off heading down to Gainesville and sending Florida packing early. The Sooners have gotten hot at the end of the season, winning their final series of the regular season at Texas Tech before going 4-0 to take home the Big 12 Tournament title and then eliminating the Gators.
If there's an area the Hokies can exploit, though, it's the Sooners' 5.49 team ERA. Virginia Tech is sixth in the country with 118 home runs on the season and the long ball could be a problem for OU.
Texas A&M vs. Louisville
Depending on who you ask, Louisville should maybe not even be in a Super Regional. But the Cardinals did just enough to beat Michigan twice in the Regional championship and advance to play Texas A&M in College Station.
This series will come down to which Louisville team shows up to the yard. Will it be the team that beat Michigan 20-1 and then built a 7-2 first inning lead in the following game? Or the one which gave up the next seven runs in that same game and had to complete a miraculous comeback? The Cardinals will need to play their A-game to compete with A&M.
Ole Miss vs. Southern Miss
The story pretty much writes itself here, doesn't it?
Southern Miss, hosting its first Super Regional in program history, will have the in-state Rebels from Ole Miss traveling to Hattiesburg. I'd label this my most must-watch series this weekend. There will be no shortage of emotion and the ballpark will be filled to the absolute brim with both gold and red.
Ole Miss shut everyone up for now after being the last team in the field — which was still the wrong decision, regardless of how far the Rebels go — and rolling through the Coral Gables Regional. We'll see how they do in a far more hostile environment.
Arkansas vs. North Carolina
Arkansas made it through the Stillwater Regional, playing in by far the most entertaining games of the first round. Oklahoma State forced a Game 7 with a 14-10 win over the Razorbacks on Sunday, but Arkansas answered the bell and finished off the Pokes 7-3 on Monday night — both games were much closer and infinitely crazier than the four-run margins would indicate.
North Carolina had to climb back out of the losers' bracket in the Chapel Hill Regional, beating Georgia before downing VCU twice in the championship. Despite the Hogs stumbling a bit coming into the NCAA Tournament, UNC will have its hands full with an Arkansas team that seems to have found its rhythm.
Then again, it's Arkansas.
East Carolina vs. Texas
Once the No. 1 team in the country this season, Texas won't even host a Super Regional. Instead, the Longhorns will head to Greenville, North Carolina to square off with the East Carolina Pirates.
This will be ECU's third consecutive Super Regional appearance, but the Pirates have yet to break through and reach the College World Series. If ever there was a time to do it, it's hosting on the second weekend in The Jungle. Other than Southern Miss and maybe Tennessee, I'd imagine this will be the rowdiest atmosphere anywhere in the country this weekend.
ECU will need its pitching to be at its best, though, facing the likes of the Hispanic Titanic — 80-grade nickname — Ivan Melendez and the Horns' lineup.