A few weeks ago me and a few other college baseball fans over at the College Baseball Dugout forum were lamenting the fact that there was no baseball equivalent to the basketball NIT tournament. So, we decided to take matters into our own hands….
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
After an intense round of analysis and debate the first super-official college baseball NIT selection committee announced half of the field last night. Baylor received top honors. The Bears (32-26), who finished sixth in the Big-12 and missed out on the NCAA tournament, will continue their season this weekend as the top regional host in the NIT tournament. The College of Charlestown (39-20) and Missouri State (40-17) presented solid alternatives but in the end Baylor’s state of the art home field and demanding schedule carried the day.
The five other regional hosts include: Clemson (31-27), Oregon State (28-24), Washington State (30-26), Florida Gulf Coast (38-15) and Texas – San Antonio (39-19). Charlestown, Florida Gulf Coast and UTSA earned automatic bids to the tournament after winning their conferences during regular season play, the other five teams all impressed the committee enough to earn at-large invitations. Perhaps the most intriguing entry into this year’s tournament is Oregon State. The Beavers won back to back NCAA College World Series in 2006 and 2007. They will try to make it three national championships in a row, this time following the NIT pathway.
The committee also announced the eight #2 seeds.
1) Baylor (32-26) at large, Big-12
2) New Mexico (34-25) at large, Mountain West
1) Charlestown (39-20) Southern Conference champions
2) Duke (37-18) at large, ACC
1. Missouri State (40-17) at large, Missouri Valley
2. Cincinnati (39-20) at large, Big East
1) Clemson (31-27) at large, ACC
2) Canisius (41-13) Metro Atlantic Champions
1) Oregon State (28-24) at large, Pac-10
2) UC – Santa Barbara (35-21) at large, WCC
1) Washington State (30-26) at large, Pac-10
2) Santa Clara (32-22) at large, WCC
Fort Myers Regional
1) Florida Gulf Coast (38-15) Atlantic Sun Champions
2) South Florida (31-27) at large, Big East
San Antonio Regional
1) Texas San-Antonio (39-19) Southland Conference Champions
2) Louisiana Monroe (34-24) Sunbelt Conference Champions
The remaining invitations will be announced this evening. All regular season conference champions who are not selected to participate in the NCAA tournament are guaranteed an invitation to the NIT tournament. Binghamton (29-27) AEC; Xavier (27-31) A-10; Kent State (36-21) MAC; Monmouth (37-16) NEC; Jacksonville State (37-21) OVC; Army (25-25) Patriot and Jackson State (37-22) Southwestern will take seven invitations leaving only nine at-large invitations not already extended.
Several teams still on the bubble will certainly be gathering this evening hoping to see their names called. Tension is already very high in the Central Florida (31-27, C-USA) clubhouse. San Diego State head coach Tony Gwynn tried to take some edge off the wait by throwing his team a pig roast in his back yard. "We are just going to kick back, have a little food, and hope it all turns out well at the end of the night," the major league Hall of Famer said. "We did all we could this year (31-28, MWC). Now it is up to the wisdom of the selection committee. Far be it from me to second guess their deliberations."
Notre Dame (33-21, Big East), Creighton (37-21, MVC), West Virginia (35-21, Big East) and Purdue (32-26, Big-10) all plan to stage full practices today. The only note of discord recorded came from Air Raid TT 33. "Texas San-Antonio isn’t very good to be honest." Within minutes this quote was painted in huge red letters across the Road Runners club house. "Smack like that only motivates the team," said head coach Sherman Corbett. "I don’t know who this Air Raid TT 33 guy is, but he would best steer clear of this clubhouse for the next few days."
Disclaimer - This stuff is all made up. Tony Gwynn wouldn’t really take my call, and Sherman Corbett has no idea who I am. But AirraidTT33 really did write that smack, so that part is true. Anyway, follow the tournament. It will be fun. Visit the College Baseball Dugout to join the debate.