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NCAA Baseball Tournament Set

OK, folks, it's time to drop the bouncy ball for a little while now and start thinking about America's favorite pastime.  That's right, we be talkin' baseball here at A Sea of Blue, and the Wildcats have made it into the NCAA field of 64 as a #3 seed in the Ann Arbor regional hosted by the Michigan Wolverines, who Kentucky plays in the 2/3 game on Friday.  Times to be decided later.

Kentucky has drawn a very strong region, but overall our draw appears pretty good.  The 'Cats have strong competition, but they didn't wind up drawing one of the top eight seeds, with Arizona being the #1 in the Ann Arbor regional.  Kentucky did not by any means get the easiest draw, but it is one that the Wildcats are capable of winning.

The regionals are essentially a double-elimination mini-tournament just like the SEC tourney.  The winner from there goes to a super-regional game, which is a best of 3 series.  The survivors from the super-regionals go to the College World Series, which is another double-elimination tournament within a tournament for the first round, and a best of three series for the finals.  The entire bracket can be found here in .pdf format [Hat tip:  Mike at Card Chronicle].

Speaking of the Cardinals, they drew a somewhat tougher spot, the 3 seed in the Athens regional where the #1 team is the 8th overall seed, the Georgia Bulldogs.  But truth be told, Georgia looked rather vulnerable at the end of the season and in the SEC Tournament, suffering the same fate as the Wildcats and being dismissed from the tourney by Alabama, who really produced some runs at the end of the season.  Louisville has a decent shot of getting it done in Athens unless the Bulldogs regain their form, and if Louisville and Kentucky both win their way through, they could meet in the top half of the bracket in the first round of the CWS.

Overall, nine SEC teams made it into the field of 64, a very impressive showing for arguably the nation's toughest baseball conference (we already know suspect the SEC is the toughest football conference), two of whom are regional hosts -- Georgia and LSU.  Kentucky was considered along with Florida to host a regional, but the Wildcats' poor performance in the tournament doomed their chances, along with a weak out-of-conference schedule.

Much more coming later.