BOZICH | Numbers don't lie: Kentucky vs. Louisville #1 NCAA Base - WDRB 41 Louisville News

  • Better scenario for college baseball in the state: Kentucky vs. Louisville?

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    Same Super Regional
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    151 votes

BOZICH | Numbers don't lie: Kentucky vs. Louisville #1 NCAA Baseball Super Regional

Posted: Updated:
The Kentucky-Louisville Super Regional has the combined highest ranked teams. The Kentucky-Louisville Super Regional has the combined highest ranked teams.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Oregon State is the top-ranked college baseball team in America, a program that won back-to-back national titles a decade ago.

Louisiana State put more than 11,000 fans in Alex Box Stadium when the Tigers won their NCAA Baseball Regional last weekend. They send players to the big leagues the way John Calipari sends them to the NBA. Baseball is a bigger deal than basketball in Baton Rouge. Sorry Ben Simmons.

But guess which of the eight NCAA Super Regionals has the two teams with the highest combined Ratings Percentage Index numbers this weekend?

LSU and Oregon State are not involved.

That would be the Louisville Super Regional, the one that will match Kentucky (No. 8 in the RPI) against Louisville (No. 5), starting Friday at noon at Jim Patterson Stadium.

You can argue about the unfairness of this tournament seeding, how the Wildcats and Cardinals should have been separated into different Super Regionals with a trip to Omaha and the College World Series on the line.

That’s reasonable. That’s defensible. Instead of one program from the state of Kentucky guaranteed to visit Nebraska, the state deserved to have two teams chase that prize. Got it.

Here’s the flip side: The programs have already created the state’s finest baseball moment, selling out Patterson Stadium (including more than 2,000 standing room tickets) more than three full days before the first pitch.

Put the NBA Finals, NBA mock drafts, the Governor’s Cup, basketball recruiting and the Belmont Stakes on hold. Kentucky and Louisville playing a best two-of-three with the finest arms from both teams working overtime will command the stage this weekend.

Back to those RPI numbers, the ones that put the Wildcats and Cardinals with combined power rankings of 13.

The next closest?

Florida (No. 3) playing host to Wake Forest (13) for a combined 16. Then there is Oregon State (No. 1) welcoming Vanderbilt (19) at a combined 20.

The other regionals are not close: Texas A&M 33 vs. Davidson 93 (126); Long Beach State 10 vs. Cal State Fullerton 28 (38); Florida State 9 vs. Sam Houston State 37 (46); TCU 6 vs. Missouri State 22 (28); LSU 4 vs. Mississippi State 20 (24).

Looking for another reason to praise Louisville coach Dan McDonnell and Kentucky coach Nick Mingione?

Try this: Texas is the only state with more programs still playing than Kentucky.

The Longhorn State is usually represented by the Texas Longhorns. Not in 2017. It’s TCU, Sam Houston State and Texas A&M.

Kentucky is one of four other states with two programs still turning double plays.

Follow the weather map to identify two – California (Long Beach State and Cal State Fullerton) and Florida (Florida and Florida State). North Carolina, with surprising Davidson and Wake Forest, completes the group.

One other note: The SEC reasserted its dominance last weekend, advancing six of its eight tournament teams to the second weekend.

The league is guaranteed one spot in Omaha because Mississippi State visits LSU. Vandy, UK, Texas A&M and Florida will try to turn Omaha into Birmingham West.

The ACC had a tougher weekend, losing four of its seven tournament teams. Only U of L, Florida State and Wake Forest survived.

I’ll leave you with this nugget: A forecast for Game One has been posted at WarrenNolan.com – Louisville 6, Kentucky 4.

Play ball.

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