Bring on the baseball.
While the sporting world focuses on the NBA and NHL playoffs, the French Open and the building anticipation of the World Cup, the NCAA baseball tournament is about to begin. Sure, it might not receive the hype of other college sports or the spotlight of some of the bigger events in the wider world of sports, but any college baseball fan will tell you that this tournament is a blast.
So for the baseball junkies out there, below is all of the information you'll need to ensure you don't miss a single pitch, sacrifice fly or stolen base on the road to Omaha.
For the full bracket, check out NCAA.com. Below, you'll find the full schedule for the first set of games in the regionals.
|2014 College Baseball Regionals|
|Corvallis Regional||Date||Time (ET)||Watch|
|No. 1 Oregon State vs. No. 4 North Dakota State||Friday, May 30||11 p.m.||ESPNU|
|No. 2 UNLV vs. No. 3 UC Irvine||Friday, May 30||5 p.m.||ESPN3|
|Stillwater Regional||Date||Time (ET)||TV|
|No. 1 Oklahoma State vs. No. 4 Binghamton||Friday, May 30||7 p.m.||ESPN3|
|No. 2 Nebraska vs. No. 3 Cal State Fullerton||Friday, May 30||1 p.m.||ESPNU|
|Houston Regional||Date||Time (ET)||TV|
|No. 1 Rice vs. No. 4 George Mason||Friday, May 30||8 p.m.||ESPN3|
|No. 2 Texas vs. No. 3 Texas A&M||Friday, May 30||4 p.m.||ESPNU|
|Baton Rouge Regional||Date||Time (ET)||TV|
|No. 1 LSU vs. No. 4 Southeastern Louisiana||Friday, May 30||3 p.m.||ESPN3|
|No. 2 Houston vs. No. 3 Bryant||Friday, May 30||8 p.m.||ESPN3|
|Tallahassee Regional||Date||Time (ET)||TV|
|No. 1 Florida State vs. No. 4 Georgia Southern||Friday, May 30||6 p.m.||ESPN3|
|No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 3 Kennesaw State||Friday, May 30||Noon||ESPN3|
|Louisville Regional||Date||Time (ET)||TV|
|No. 1 Louisville vs. No. 4 Kent State||Friday, May 30||6 p.m.||ESPN3|
|No. 2 Kentucky vs. No. 3 Kansas||Friday, May 30||2 p.m.||ESPN3|
|Nashville Regional||Date||Time (ET)||TV|
|No. 1 Vanderbilt vs. No. 4 Xavier||Friday, May 30||8 p.m.||ESPN3|
|No. 2 Oregon vs. No. 3 Clemson||Friday, May 30||1 p.m.||ESPN3|
|Bloomington Regional||Date||Time (ET)||TV|
|No. 1 Indiana vs. No. 4 Youngstown State||Friday, May 30||7 p.m.||ESPN3|
|No. 2 Indiana State vs. No. 3 Stanford||Friday, May 30||2 p.m.||ESPN3|
|Gainesville Regional||Date||Time (ET)||TV|
|No. 1 Florida vs. No. 4 Charleston||Friday, May 30||7 p.m.||ESPN3|
|No. 2 Long Beach State vs. No. 3 North Carolina||Friday, May 30||1 p.m.||ESPN3|
|Coral Gables Regional||Date||Time (ET)||TV|
|No. 1 Miami (Fla.) vs. No. 4 Bethune-Cookman||Friday, May 30||7 p.m.||ESPN3|
|No. 2 Texas Tech vs. No. 3 Columbia||Friday, May 30||2 p.m.||ESPN3|
|San Luis Obispo Regional||Date||Time (ET)||TV|
|No. 1 Cal Poly vs. No. 4 Sacramento State||Friday, May 30||9 p.m.||ESPN3|
|No. 2 Arizona State vs. No. 3 Pepperdine||Friday, May 30||4 p.m.||ESPN3|
|Fort Worth Regional||Date||Time (ET)||TV|
|No. 1 TCU vs. No. 4 Siena||Friday, May 30||8 p.m.||ESPN3|
|No. 2 Dallas Baptist vs. No. 3 Sam Houston State||Friday, May 30||3:30 p.m.||ESPN3|
|Lafayette Regional||Date||Time (ET)||TV|
|No. 1 La.-Lafayette vs. No. 4 Jackson State||Friday, May 30||7 p.m.||ESPN3|
|No. 2 Mississippi State vs. No. 3 San Diego State||Friday, May 30||2 p.m.||ESPN3|
|Oxford Regional||Date||Time (ET)||TV|
|No. 1 Ole Miss vs. No. 4 Jacksonville State||Friday, May 30||8 p.m.||ESPN3|
|No. 2 Washington vs. No. 3 Georgia Tech||Friday, May 30||4 p.m.||ESPN3|
|Columbia Regional||Date||Time (ET)||TV|
|No. 1 South Carolina vs. No. 4 Campbell||Friday, May 30||7 p.m.||ESPN3|
|No. 2 Maryland vs. No. 3 Old Dominion||Friday, May 30||1 p.m.||ESPN3|
|Charlottesville Regional||Date||Time (ET)||TV|
|No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 4 Bucknell||Friday, May 30||2 p.m.||ESPN3|
|No. 2 Arkansas vs. No. 3 Liberty||Friday, May 30||7 p.m.||ESPNU|
While the times and matchups aren't yet set, ESPN compiled the dates for the remainder of the regional matchups (along with the dates for every other game to be played after that).
The national seeds are as follows:
- Oregon State
- Florida State
Perhaps you were looking over the teams that reached the regionals and found yourself continually passing by an SEC team. Indeed, this year's tournament will have a particularly Southeastern flair, as the SEC will send 10 teams into the tournament, a record according to Eric Olson of the Associated Press, via ABC News.
It might seem a bit lopsided to send 10 of 14 schools in a conference into a championship tournament, but as Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin told Olson, even the teams at the bottom of the conference are very talented:
I'm not trying to toot our horn, but the reality is that you have to go through the gauntlet. When you play in this league, oftentimes you can get a wrong perspective of your own team because it's so difficult to get through. I think you look at the teams that didn't get in, and they very well could be in. There's not a lot of difference between your 11th and 12th teams to the 1 and 2s.
Oregon State, champions in 2006 and 2007, is the top seed in this year's tournament and will look to continue the Pac-12's dominance in the event, as Arizona and UCLA are the past two winners. There will be no repeat champions this year, however, as the Bruins didn't make the tournament.
While the SEC brings the most teams into the tournament and the Pac-12 has the past two winners, the ACC will try, once again, to end a title drought that dates back to 1955 when Wake Forest won the title, according to Brian Stubits of CBS Sports (Miami has won the title four times but did so as an independent).
It just so happens that the ACC also has the most intriguing player in this tournament, pitcher Jameis Winston, who just so happens to also be a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback for the football team. Winston had a 1.17 ERA and seven saves this season, so his baseball career is no novelty.
While we are still a slew of games away from the super regionals, there are a number of tasty potential matchups in that round. Oregon State could face Big 12 champion Oklahoma State in the super regionals, while Miami could take on Florida in the other potentially tasty matchup.
While a bunch of very good teams could lock horns in the super regionals, a number of underdogs will surely advance. Looking for a sleeper? Jeff Bradley of SI.com thinks you should keep an eye on Columbia:
Long Island-based Stony Brook woke the nation up to college baseball in the Northeast two years ago, advancing to the College World Series by pulling one upset after another. A potential sleeper in this year's bracket also comes from the Empire State: the Ivy League champion Columbia Lions, who are the No. 3 seed in the Coral Gables Regional. Columbia is a pesky-hitting team that rarely strikes out, runs the bases aggressively and plays great defense. In Friday night starter David Speer (7-2, 1.86 ERA, seven walks in 87 innings) the Lions have a polished lefthander who won't be overwhelmed pitching the opening game against No. 2 seed Texas Tech. Columbia took its lumps when it traveled to Texas earlier this year, but that experience against big-time competition eliminates the awe that most Ivy League teams feel when they make their way to a regional.
Of course, a few of the more talented teams may generally escape the national spotlight, too. Louisiana-Lafayette can really mash the ball. Cal State Fullerton had a topsy-turvy season but opened the year ranked No. 4 and has won seven in a row heading into the tournament. Big West champions Cal Poly are not to be taken lightly.
The NCAA college baseball tournament doesn't receive the press its basketball brethren receive, but its tournament is just as nutty, unpredictable and fun. This year doesn't appear as though it will break that trend.