Texas is the No. 1 seed in its region, but as the No. 13 overall seed, the Longhorns have tough competition.
Indiana, who is in the same regional as Texas, is known for its strong and deep pitching staff. The Hoosiers laid an egg in their conference tournament, similar to UT, but enter the NCAA tournament with a 38-17 record, a better outing than Texas at 37-20 in 2018.
Texas A&M has the #15 RPI in the nation, but a losing record in conference play had the Aggies on the bubble until they had a great showing in the SEC Tournament. Texas Southern had lots of problems during the year and looks overmatched against the opposition in this regional, but they won their conference tournament and anything is possible in regional baseball.
Texas Tech received the No. 1 seed in its regional in Lubbock, but slipped to the #9 overall seed, which means the odds are against the Red Raiders hosting a Super Regional. Lubbock hosts a strong Louisville team in its region. The Cardinals are No. 24 in RPI and had an 18-12 record in ACC play. Kent State and New Mexico State round out the region, but it looks like a two-team race in Lubbock.
PALO ALTO REGIONAL
Baylor is the hottest team in the Big 12 but the tournament champions, winning 22 of the last 25 games. The Bears were rewarded with a trip to Palo Alto to play in Stanford’s regional. The Stanford Cardinal have the No. 2 overall seed and the No. 2 RPI. Perennial power Cal State-Fullerton is also in that regional along with Wright State.
Oklahoma was so-so in Big 12 Tournament play, with star outfielder Kyler Murray hurt in the game against Texas. The Sooners go on the road to Florida State for their Regional as the #3 seed. Murray is expected to return. Florida State is #1 and Mississippi State is #2. Mississippi State has an interim head coach and there are rumors TCU’s Jim Schlossnagle is a target for that job. Samford the #4 seed in the regional.
Oklahoma State had a great chance to be Big 12 regular season champions, but the Cowboys were overtaken by Texas. Finishing the season with a 16-4 run was enough to get the Cowboys the No. 3 seed in Stetson’s regional. South Florida is the No. 2 seed and Hartford is No. 4 seed. Top-seeded Stetson is one of the more interesting stories in the 2018 NCAA tournament. The Hatters have the best overall record at 45-11 and the No. 4 overall RPI, but because they only played eleven games against top competition. The Hatters drop to the No. 11 overall seed. Stetson’s best gauge may be playing three games against Florida State, and they lost two of the three games in the series to the Seminoles.
CHAPEL HILL REGIONAL
Houston was involved in many mock brackets to go to Austin, but the Cougars wind up in Chapel Hill. North Carolina is the #6 overall seed in the tournament. Purdue and North Carolina A&T round out that regional.
Dallas Baptist was another team many thought might wind up in Austin or Lubbock, but instead they travel to Fayetteville. Arkansas is the #5 overall seed and is joined by DBU, Oral Roberts and Southern Miss.
Here’s the schedule for Friday’s first round games:
1. Florida vs. Columbia -- 12 p.m. ESPN
Jacksonville vs. Florida Atlantic -- 5:30 p.m.
Palo Alto Regional
2. Stanford vs. Wright State -- 9 p.m. ESPN2
Cal State Fullerton vs. Baylor -- 4 p.m.
3. Oregon State vs. Northwestern State -- 9:30 p.m. ESPNU
San Diego State vs. LSU -- 3 p.m. ESPNU
4. Ole Miss vs. St. Louis -- 6:30 p.m. SEC Network
Missouri State vs. Tennessee Tech -- 2 p.m.
5. Arkansas vs. Oral Roberts -- 2 p.m.
Dallas Baptist vs. Southern Miss -- 7 p.m.
Chapel Hill Regional
6. North Carolina vs. North Carolina A&T -- 6 p.m.
Houston vs. Purdue -- 1 p.m.
7. Florida State vs. Samford -- 6 p.m. ESPNU
Oklahoma vs. Mississippi State -- 11am. ESPNU
8. Georgia vs. Campbell -- 6:30 p.m
Troy vs. Duke -- 1 p.m.
9. Texas Tech vs. New Mexico State -- 1 p.m.
Kent State vs. Louisville -- 6 p.m.
10. Clemson vs. Morehead State -- 5 p.m.
St. John’s vs. Vanderbilt -- 11 a.m. SEC Network
11. Stetson vs. Hartford -- 6 p.m.
Oklahoma State vs. South Florida --12 p.m.
12. East Carolina vs. UNC-Wilmington -- 6 p.m.
Ohio State vs. South Carolina -- 1 p.m. ESPN2
13. Texas vs. Texas Southern -- 8 p.m. Longhorn Network
Texas A&M vs. Indiana -- 4 p.m. ESPN
14. Minnesota vs. Canisius -- 7 p.m.
Gonzaga vs. UCLA -- 1 p.m.
15. Coastal Carolina vs. LIU Brooklyn -- 5 p.m.
Washington vs. UConn -- 11am.
16. N.C. State vs. Army -- 6 p.m.
Northeastern vs. Auburn -- 1 p.m.