The Arizona Wildcats weren’t alone in losing during the opening weekend of the NCAA baseball tournament.
When the dust settled on regional play only two of the Pac-10’s record-setting eight teams were left standing. Here’s how each of the Pac teams fared:
The bottom line is if you lost twice you went home. The bottom line for the Pac-10 is a disappointing showing.
It was a pretty simple formula. The two teams playing at home went a combined 6-0 and advanced. The six teams playing on the road all were sent away empty handed.
Of the six only Washington State was able to force a winner-take-all game on Monday but the Cougars fell to host Arkansas, 7-2.
Cal lived up to its billing as the worst 2-seed in the field but the Bears weren’t the only #2 to go winless. Unfortunately for the Pac-10 Stanford was the other one.
Winning away from home wasn’t just difficult for the teams on the left coast as only three regional hosts failed to advance. 2-seeds Clemson, Alabama and Vanderbilt beat Auburn, Georgia Tech and Louisville respectively. Cinderella wasn’t invited to the ball this year.
Here’s the conference breakdown of baseball’s sweet 16:
5 – SEC
4 – ACC
2 – Big 12
2 – Pac-10
1 – Big West (Fullerton)
1 – Big South (Coastal Carolina)
1 – Mountain West (TCU)
How does the Pac-10 get better? The logical answer is to play well enough during the regular season to earn more hosting slots, but it’s not that simple. With so many more teams east of the Mississippi the NCAA just isn’t going to ship a lot of teams west no matter how much the Pac-10 improves.
In five of the past six years there have been exactly three western regionals (there were four in 2008). If the Pac wants to get more teams into the super regionals it’s going to have to do so on the road.
The super regional format began in 1999. The Pac-10 has gotten two teams this far nine times since then including four years with three teams in the supers. The big news this year is UCLA and ASU aren’t playing each other so the Pac-10 can get two teams to the College World Series for the fourth time in 12 years.
The biggest news is two Pac-10 teams are at home this weekend which has only happened once before, in 2007. It’s no surprise that was the last time the Pac sent two teams to Omaha.
UCLA hosts Fullerton starting on Friday, and ASU hosts Arkansas beginning Saturday.
Getting both teams to Omaha would be great for the Pac-10. But if fans in Wildcat Country want to root for Arkansas to beat ASU, by all means, don’t let me stand in your way.
The Pac-10 can always get two teams in the College World Series next year.