College World Series 2013: UCLA and the Most Overrated Squads

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJune 16, 2013

Jun 16, 2013; Omaha, NE, USA; The spelling of the word
Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

The 2013 College World Series is underway, and some of the pretenders are already being separated from the contenders.

The herd has been trimmed down to eight, so it's hard to say that any of the teams in CWS are bad. You need to have everything in order to escape the regionals and super regionals.

Still, there are plenty of teams that do not deserve the hype they're receiving. Here are three such teams.

UCLA Bruins

If you're looking for a team that's going to crash out of the College World Series early, look no further than the UCLA Bruins.

John Savage's squad ranks a respectable 10th in the USA Today Top 25. The Bruins aren't a bad baseball team, but they're very reliant on pitching.

It's never a bad thing when you rank ninth in ERA, 11th in hits allowed and 12th in strikeout-to-walk ratio. Nick Vander Tuig anchors the rotation, while David Berg is the late-inning stopper. As is often the case, pitching wins championships.

The problem is, the top teams in the College World Series all have good pitching staffs. UCLA isn't at so great an advantage it can cover up what is an average offense.

The Bruins only sit 253rd in team batting average at .251, and it's not as if they're a team built with sluggers who can crush the ball. UCLA is 154th in team home runs.

Great pitching doesn't mean a thing if you can't get on base and score runs. That could be the fate that befalls the Bruins in the College World Series.

North Carolina State Wolfpack

North Carolina State is in much the same position as UCLA, as their pitching staff far outshines their offense. Unfortunately for them, their pitchers aren't talented enough to carry the team through to a title.

NC State is a very good baseball team, but very good won't cut it in the College World Series.

They finished eighth in hits allowed per nine innings, but 27th in earned run average and strikeout-to-walk ratio, respectively. They also had an offense that only hit .279 as a team (111th in the country), while adding just 29 home runs (78th in the country).

When you're entering a competition featuring the best college baseball teams in the country, those numbers are merely pedestrian.

North Carolina Tar Heels

By virtue of being the top seed in the CWS, UNC is already up against the odds. The last time a No. 1 seed won the College World Series was Miami back in 1999.

Mike Fox has a great team at his disposal, but the Heels have always had trouble winning in Omaha. They've made nine appearances in the CWS, failing to win each time. In 2006 and 2007, they made it to the final game, only to lose to Oregon State.

North Carolina has key players like Colin Moran and Cody Stubbs, but on the whole, the offense is good, not great. The Tar Heels rank 18th in batting average and 31st in home runs per game.

This is a team that does a lot of things well, but nothing particularly great.

Just look at the 8-1 loss to NC State.


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