The 2013 College World Series is down to seven teams after Louisville was ousted from the tournament via Oregon State on Monday.
The rest of the field is still very much alive in Omaha, especially with Mississippi State, N.C. State, UCLA and Indiana all starting the tournament off on the right foot, sporting 1-0 records in the World Series.
Which teams have the best chances of winning a national title in 2013?
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After losing 5-4 to a tough Mississippi State club on Saturday, Oregon State bounced back in a big way with an 11-4 drubbing of Louisville on Monday, knocking the Cardinals out of the tournament.
The Beavers entered the game with their backs against the wall, having lost to Mississippi State on Saturday and facing elimination from the World Series themselves.
I'm still not sold on Oregon St. as a true contender, especially since Louisville made four errors that led to a lot of Beavers runs in Monday's elimination matchup. Still, the victory over the Cardinals is something Oregon State can take into another potential elimination matchup on Wednesday (opponent TBD).
I hate to say I told you so, but I predicted N.C. State would upset North Carolina, and boy, was I right.
UNC ran into one of the best pitchers in college baseball in Carlos Rodon, mustering up just five hits and one run in an 8-1 loss on Sunday.
One more loss and the Tar Heels are going home, and unfortunately for them, they'll get an LSU team that's been favored by many to win the entire tournament. Despite losing their first game, I think the Tigers come out and survive, sending UNC home.
I recently predicted LSU to make it to the World Series finale, and I'm not about to back down from that prediction now.
The Tigers were upset by the UCLA Bruins on Sunday night, but I have them bouncing back on Tuesday afternoon versus UNC. LSU ranks third in all of college baseball in ERA and own a collective .306 batting average on offense.
The bottom line is that the Tigers, led by Aaron Nola and Mason Katz, are too talented to be bounced in the first round, or even before the championship series.
LSU's title chances are still very much alive.
Mississippi State kicked off its College World Series campaign with an exciting win over favorite Oregon State, as the Bulldogs scored two runs in the eighth inning to earn the come-from-behind victory in their first game of the CWS.
First baseman Wes Rea was huge for Mississippi St., going 2-for-4 with two RBI, while Sam Frost and Demarcus Henderson each picked up a hit and an RBI.
Behind solid pitching—the Bulldogs rank 12th in the nation in ERA with a 2.76 mark—Mississippi St. has as good a chance as any to win, already being up 1-0.
Behind stud southpaw Carlos Rodon, the Wolfpack cruised to an 8-1 win over the Tar Heels, as Rodon submitted a complete-game, five-hit effort to go up 1-0.
N.C. State's offense, which was matched up against a solid starter in UNC's Kent Emanuel, was really impressive, totaling 11 hits, which is something I think continues against UCLA on Tuesday night.
The middle of the Wolfpack lineup has been extremely productive, and with N.C. St. riding a six-game winning streak, I like the Wolfpack to at least advance to the next round and make a run at a national title.
The Bruins earned a shocking 2-1 victory over favorite LSU on Sunday night, which certainly bolsters UCLA's championship chances.
The fact that the Bruins were able to score two runs off of Aaron Nola are impressive enough for me to give UCLA a legitimate shot at contending for a title. The Bruins are already up 1-0 and have a shot to beat N.C. State on Tuesday night to advance.
While I think the Wolfpack will get the best of UCLA, the Bruins have the talent to compete with any of the remaining teams in the World Series. I don't think they're as deep as teams like LSU and Indiana, but stranger things have happened in Omaha.
The Indiana Hoosiers have the best chance of any team in Omaha at winning a national championship, especially after a 2-0 win over Louisville on Saturday, which gives the Hoosiers a 1-0 record in the World Series.
Why do I like Indiana so much?
Like LSU, Indiana has one of the best combinations of deep pitching and a strong offense. Catcher Kyle Schwarber (.376, 18 HR and 54 RBI) and Aaron Slegers (9-1 with a 2.13 ERA) are a big reason why Indiana is in the position it's in.
It's all about getting hot at the right time, and with the Hoosiers riding a seven-game winning streak, I like Indiana to win the 2013 College World Series.
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