Obviously with nothing else really going on at UVa, so everyone's attention can now be turned to Davenport Field this weekend where the Cavaliers will host their third straight NCAA Regional. Joining them will be the #2 Oklahoma Sooners, #3 Appalachian State Mountaineers, and #4 seed Army Black Knights.
I'll go further in depth as UVa's games draw closer, but I wanted to give a quick run down and initial reaction to UVa's draw in the tournament.
#4 Army Black Knights: They will enter the regional with the best record in Charlottesville (41-13). The Black Knights made the tournament by way of winning the Patriot League title and ended the year with an 18-2 record in the league. Not bad until you realize that they had the 272nd toughest strength of schedule this year. Playing in the Patriot League probably doesn't help matters. Their record coupled with that SoS gives them the 120th ranked RPI by the NCAA. The bad thing for UVa is that Army has Chris Rowley on their team. Rowley is 11-0 on the season with a 1.97 ERA. Yes, he's got some gaudy numbers and comes out of the baseball state that is Georgia but his toughest opponent this year was Nebraska-Omaha; not exactly FSU or UNC.
#3 Appalachian State Mountaineers: Appalachian State entered their conference tournament as the #1 seed having posted a 21-9 conference record. Their conference record mixed in to their overall record of 39-16 overall meant the boys from Boone had quite a successful year. The highlight of the season came early on when they traveled to Baton Rouge and upset LSU taking two of three from the SEC powerhouse. They didn't have the toughest schedule (118th), but their RPI is very competitive (31). I wouldn't be surprised if App. St knocks off Oklahoma in their first round game. This team has seen big time baseball early this season and knows how to take down a big boy.
#2 Oklahoma Sooners: I am sure most of you remember the 2010 Super Regional that had Oklahoma coming to Charlottesville. It was fine til the third game when the Sooners became the New York Yankees and hit (estimate) 25 home runs in the decisive third game. I haven't looked it up yet but I don't think Babe Ruth, Josh Hamilton, or Hank Aaron play for the Sooner anymore. Their 38-22 record in their 33rd ranked SoS means they have been in some dogfights this year. They were the four seed entering the Big XII tournament and made it to the Championship game before being knocked off by Missouri. The Sooners won't be intimidated by anyone they see in Charlottesville and are a team to be reckoned with.
That App St.- Oklahoma game on Friday night is going to be a good one. Let's hope it goes about 25 innings and both teams use every pitcher on the roster shall we?
Overall not a bad draw for the Hoos. Obviously nobody likes to see a team like Oklahoma come in to town for a Regional, but you can't have all cupcakes. The Cavaliers have a good chance at winning the weekend and advancing to the next round but it is going to take some good baseball.
More articles to come this week. Til then, Go Hoos!