Louisville will host Bowling Green State, and Indiana gets Valpo at home as the NCAA Baseball Tournament begins this weekend.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDB) – What can the University of Louisville athletic program add to a Sugar Bowl win, men's basketball national title and women's basketball national runner-up finish?
A trip to the College Baseball World Series in Omaha, Neb.
Indiana University won the men's NCAA soccer title and the Big Ten men's basketball regular season title. What can the Hoosiers do to make athletic director Fred Glass pull his candy-striped sport coat out of his closet?
Same answer as U of L: a trip to the College Baseball World Series.
The push begins this weekend for the Cardinals and Hoosiers. Both programs were rewarded for their outstanding regular-season performances with home regional assignments in the NCAA Baseball Tournament. But the challenges are considerable for both schools.
Louisville (46-12) will begin play Friday at 6 p.m. at Jim Patterson Stadium against Bowling Green State of the Mid-American Conference. Oklahoma State of the Big 12 and Miami (Florida) will also play here at 2 p.m. Friday. The Hurricanes and Cowboys are teams that U of L beat on the way to its only College World Series appearance in 2007.
The Cards have the best RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) of the four teams coming here. U of L is ranked 16th; Miami 19th; Oklahoma State 52 and Bowling Green State 202.
If the Cards survive the four-team, double-elimination event, they are scheduled to play the winner of the Vanderbilt regional. The Commodores were ranked Number Two overall behind North Carolina. Vandy won at U of L, 10-2, on April 23, a loss that forced the Cards to regroup and then begin a 16-game winning streak.
This is becoming a rite of spring for coach Dan McDonnell's program. It's the fourth time in seven seasons Louisville has been chosen as a host school.
For Indiana (43-14) this is a first as well as the first season that coach Tracy Smith's team has played in Bart Kaufman Field (capacity 3,500). The Hoosiers will play Valparaiso. Florida and Austin Peay are the other two schools in the Bloomington regional.
If the Hoosiers survive the opening weekend, they will likely travel to Tallahassee to play Florida State, the overall Number 7 seed.
IU has the top RPI in the Hoosiers' pod. The Hoosiers are ranked 12th, Austin Peay 27th, Florida 35th, Valpo 178th. IU won two of three at Florida in March.
Tickets for the games at U of L are available at www.GoCards.com. They are priced at $70 for the four-session, double-elimination event, although college students can purchase them for $45.
At IU, tickets are $77 for reserved seats, $63 for general admission and $35 for youths and college students. Fans are asked to call 1-866-IUSPORTS (487-7678).