After a hard-fought and entertaining regional round, only 16 teams remain in the NCAA baseball tournament. Those 16 teams will now do battle in the Super Regionals as eight best-of-three series will determine who goes to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.
While there were certainly some scares in the regionals, all but two of the No. 1 seeds in the tournament advanced to the Super Regionals, so the very best teams in college baseball will vie for an opportunity to play for all the marbles.
The Super Regionals truly separate the contenders from the pretenders as the three-game series will offer a good indication of which eight teams are better than the rest. Here is all the information you need to know regarding the Super Regionals, including when and where to watch each and every game.
Where: Multiple Venues
When: Friday, June 7 through Monday June 10
Watch: ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU
Live Stream: ESPN3
Schedule (via NCAA.com)
|Friday, June 7||No. 1 S. Carolina vs. No. 1 N. Carolina||Game 1||Chapel Hill, N.C.||1 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Friday, June 7||No. 2 Rice vs. No. 1 NC State||Game 1||Raleigh, N.C.||4 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Friday, June 7||No. Oklahoma vs. No. 1 LSU||Game 1||Baton Rouge, La.||7 p.m.||ESPN|
|Friday, June 7||No. 1 UCLA vs. No. 1 Cal State Fullerton||Game 1||Fullerton, Calif.||7 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Saturday, June 8||No. 1 N. Carolina vs. No. 1 S. Carolina||Game 2||Chapel Hill, N.C.||12 p.m.||ESPN|
|Saturday, June 8||No. 1 Indiana vs. No. 1 Florida State||Game 1||Tallahassee, Fla.||12 p.m.||ESPNU|
|Saturday, June 8||No. 1 Mississippi State vs. No. 1 Virginia||Game 1||Charlottesville, Va.||1 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Saturday, June 8||No. 1 Louisville vs. No. 1 Vanderbilt||Game 1||Nashville, Tenn.||3 p.m.||ESPN|
|Saturday, June 8||No. 1 NC State vs. No. 2 Rice||Game 2||Raleigh, N.C.||4 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Saturday, June 8||No. 1 Kansas State vs. No. 1 Oregon State||Game 1||Corvallis, Ore.||7 p.m.||ESPNU|
|Saturday, June 8||No. 1 LSU vs. No. 2 Oklahoma||Game 2||Baton Rouge, La.||7 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Saturday, June 8||No. 1 Cal State Fullerton vs. No. 1 UCLA||Game 2||Fullerton, Calif.||10 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Sunday, June 9||No. 1 Florida State vs. No. 1 Indiana||Game 2||Tallahassee, Fla.||1 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Sunday, June 9||No. 1 S. Carolina vs. No. 1 N. Carolina||Game 3*||Chapel Hill, N.C.||1 p.m.||ESPN|
|Sunday, June 9||No. 2 Rice vs. No. 1 NC State||Game 3*||Raleigh, N.C.||4 p.m.||ESPNU|
|Sunday, June 9||No. 1 Vanderbilt vs. No. 1 Louisville||Game 2||Nashville, Tenn.||4 p.m.||ESPN|
|Sunday, June 9||No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 1 Mississippi State||Game 2||Charlottesville, Va.||7 p.m.||ESPNU|
|Sunday, June 9||No. 2 Oklahoma vs. No. 1 LSU||Game 3*||Baton Rouge, La.||7 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Sunday, June 9||No. 1 Oregon State vs. No. 1 Kansas State||Game 2||Corvallis, Ore.||10 p.m.||ESPNU|
|Sunday, June 9||No. 1 UCLA vs. No. 1 Cal State Fullerton||Game 3*||Fullerton, Calif.||10 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Monday, June 10||No. 1 Indiana vs. No. 1 Florida State||Game 3*||Tallahassee, Fla.||1 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Monday, June 10||No. 1 Mississippi State vs. No. 1 Virginia||Game 3*||Charlottesville, Va.||4 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Monday, June 10||No. 1 Kansas State vs. No. 1 Oregon State||Game 3*||Corvallis, Ore.||7 p.m.||ESPNU|
|Monday, June 10||No. 1 Louisville vs. No. 1 Vanderbilt||Game 3*||Nashville, Tenn.||7 p.m.||ESPN2|
*Game 3 if necessary
Matchups to Watch
LSU vs. Oklahoma
There are a number of intriguing matchups in this year's Super Regionals, but LSU vs. Oklahoma may very well take the cake. The Tigers had a fantastic season in the SEC as they won an impressive 55 games, while the Sooners are one of only two No. 2 seeds to make it this far as they upset Virginia Tech in the regionals. Oklahoma will have a chance to slay yet another college baseball giant over the next week.
While both LSU and Oklahoma have great lineups, pitching figures to rule the day in their series. The Tigers boast a three-headed monster in their rotation with Aaron Nola, Cody Glenn and Ryan Eades. Oklahoma's rotation isn't quite as deep, but it features potential 2013 No. 1 overall MLB draft pick Jonathan Gray. Because of that, ESPN has made certain to feature this series prominently on its family of networks, according to Doug Mouton of WWL-TV in New Orleans.
LSU / Oklahoma with three prime time games, all televised, Friday 6pm (ESPN), Saturday 6pm (ESPN2), Sunday 6pm (ESPN2).— Doug Mouton (@DMoutonWWL) June 4, 2013
This one could go either way, but ESPN is probably hoping that it goes to a decisive Game 3 regardless. Both LSU and Oklahoma have rabid fanbases supporting them, and a sudden-death game would be extremely entertaining.
North Carolina vs. South Carolina
Two of the most dominant teams in college baseball over the past several years will go head-to-head in Chapel Hill, N.C., but unfortunately only one of them can advance to Omaha. North Carolina and South Carolina are border rivals who just so happen to be two of the best programs out there. With that in mind, there is no question that both teams will go all out in the Super Regionals.
Either the Tar Heels or Gamecocks have made it to the championship series in five out of the past seven years. In fact, South Carolina has advanced to that point in three consecutive seasons, winning it all in 2010 and 2011.
UNC has never won an NCAA baseball championship, but it has made it to the final nine times and lost in the finals in both 2006 and 2007. According to David Cloninger of GamecockCentral.com, one of the two teams has made it to the College World Series in seven straight seasons, and that is a streak that will be extended regardless of who wins.
Either USC or UNC has appeared in the last seven straight CWS. It will become eight this weekend. #InsaneStat— David Cloninger (@DCAtGCKCentral) June 4, 2013
North Carolina is the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament and it will need third baseman Colin Moran to shoulder the load against South Carolina. The Gamecocks may have the pitching edge with Jordan Montgomery and Nolan Belcher at their disposal, though, so this series should provide an interesting game of cat and mouse.
Which Super Regional matchup are you most excited for?
Vanderbilt vs. Louisville
While Vanderbilt versus Louisville may not receive quite as much attention as the aforementioned Super Regional matchups, there is mo doubt that they are two of the best teams in the nation. Vandy was dominant all season long in the SEC and fell just short of securing the No. 1 overall seed. Louisville had a couple slip-ups here and there, but the Cardinals proved their worth this season as well.
Most college baseball pundits expected these two teams to contend for a national title this year, so it is somewhat surprising to see them facing off at this juncture. This is a series fitting for the College World Series, but the loser won't even make it that far. Aaron Fitt of Baseball America is particularly excited for this series as his publication had both Vandy and Louisville ranked in the preseason top four.
That Vanderbilt-Louisville super regional could be special. Two of our preseason top four teams, tons of pitching & speed, experience.— Aaron Fitt (@aaronfitt) June 4, 2013
As is the case with many of these series, pitching will be the name of the game. Both teams feature a pair of double-digit winners, which is no small feat over the course of a fairly short season. The Cardinals will lean on Jeff Thompson and Chad Green, but the Commodores' dynamic duo of Kevin Ziomek and Tyler Beede may be too much to overcome.
Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter