Tuesday, May 27, 2008

2008 NCAA Baseball Playoff Preview : Ann Arbor Regional

Ann Arbor Regional (Double Elimination)
Friday, May 30
Game 1 -- Eastern Mich. (25-32) vs. Arizona (38-17)
Game 2 -- Kentucky (42-17) vs. Michigan (45-12)
Saturday, May 31
Game 3 -- Loser of Game 1 vs. Loser of Game 2
Game 4 -- Winner of Game 1 vs. Winner of Game 2
Sunday, June 1
Game 5 -- Winner of Game 3 vs. Loser of Game 4
Game 6 -- Winner of Game 4 vs. Winner of Game 5
Monday, June 2
Game 7 -- Winner of Game 4 vs. Winner of Game 5
Full Bracket
Starting Friday the Arizona Wildcats will be making their 34th postseason appearance in the NCAA Baseball Playoffs. During those 34 trips Arizona has made the College World Series 15 times including 3 National Titles and three 2nd place finishes. The Cats 38-17 record (12-12 in Pac-10 play) in 2008 was not enough to secure a position as a regional host site, but were able to secure the #1 seed in the Ann Arbor Regional. Michigan who won the right to host the regional earns the #2 seed with Kentucky the 3rd seed, and Eastern Michigan getting the 4th seed. Where as the .500 record in conference play may not seem impressive the Cats were one of five teams from the Pac-10 to make postseason play with ASU, Stanford, Cal, and .UCLA rounding out the field.

Game 1 pits the Cats against the Eastern Michigan Eagles who have gained some serious momentum resonating from their run in the Mid Atlantic Conference Tournament. The Eagles went into the MAC tournament as the two seed, winning three straight games for a rematch of the 2007 MAC championship against the Kent State Golden Flashes. A year removed from a 3-2 loss to the Flashes, the Eagles routed the defending MAC champions 12-4 on seventeen hits earning them a berth into postseason play.

While the momentum should not be overlooked, the Eagles will be facing a tough Arizona pitching staff who posted the Pac-10’s best era with a 3.91. The Cat’s staff also held opponents to a .257 average over the season.

The second game Friday pits Michigan (45-12, 26-5 in the Big Ten) against Kentucky.(42-17, 15-15 in the SEC). The two teams have never met in postseason play, but the Wolverines have a 14-1-1 all time record against Kentucky. Michigan is coming off of a Big Ten Championship, and will be looking to move ahead to a match up with Arizona for whom they are 12-41 all time. This is a seemingly inevitable matchup as the double elimination format would pit losing Michigan and Eastern Michigan teams against each other. The Eagles and the Wolverines are familiar opponents and have an all time record of 109-51-2, the Wolverines getting the best of the series.

How the other three finished their season:
Michigan: 3-0 in Big Ten Tournament ( 5-2 over Illinois, 6-1, 3-2 over Purde) Ranked #16 Nationally.
Kentucky: SEC Tournament W 9-3 over Alabama, L 8-7 Mississippi, L 13-4 Alabama). Ranked #24 Nationally.
Arizona: 3 game series against #4 overall Arizona State: L 13-6, W 4-3 in 11, W 7-4. Ranked #23 Nationally.

With Arizona taking 2 of 3 from the Sun Devils in their final weekend they improved their record against Top 25 teams to 8-8 on the season. This boasts well for the moral of the Cats going into postseason play, and look poised to a run at their 16th College World Series.

4Real Out….


Matt Randle "el" said...

The question at hand has to be; How stupid is the selection committee for giving us the #1 seed but making us play in Ann Arbor for regional balance? It seems to me that the NCAA is trying to job the Cats at every turn.