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May 24th, 2012


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01:34 pm - Big Ten Tournament & Baseball Bracketology
All across the country, conference baseball tournaments are taking place as I write this entry. From the Norwich, Connecticut down to Clearwater, Florida out to Las Vegas, Nevada, teams are fighting for their conference's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. From experience I can tell you, if college basketball has madness in March, college baseball has Jack Torrance-level insanity.

Looking at things from a local perspective, the Big Ten Tournament at Huntington Park in Columbus has the chance to end the dreams of one of the many bubble teams.

Purdue - The Boilermakers are coming of their first conference championship since the Taft administration. In fact, the Boilermakers could be the first B1G team to host a regional since Michigan did so back in 2008. That is what Purdue is playing for this weekend. If they make it into the championship series on Saturday, they will most likely host a regional from U.S. Steel Yard in Gary, Indiana. If the Boilers lose to Ohio State today and make an early exit from the tournament, they may still host, but it would be as a #2 seed.

Michigan State - Sparty put together an impressive resume for the second straight season. Last year, the green and white missed out on the NCAA Tournament despite a 36-win season under head coach Jake Boss. This year, the bubble is weaker and the Spartans are firmly on it. They've already matched last year's win total. The committee may not like their series loss to lowly Michigan back in April, but have to like their road wins against Baylor and Purdue.

For the remaining four, Indiana, Penn State, Nebraska, and Ohio State, it's a win-and-in scenario. Anything less this weekend and their seasons are finished. In fact, Penn State and Nebraska play today in an elimination game which will end one team's season. Indiana and Ohio State face tough opponents in Michigan State and Purdue respectively later on today.

Up in Avon, Ohio, the MAC Tournament began yesterday. The MAC is a one-big league this year no matter how you slice it. The clear front runners are the Kent State Golden Flashes who finished 24-3 in conference play to win the East. If Kent State doesn't come out of the MAC, then it's anybody's guess. But with victories yesterday, Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan, and Miami University have the best chances of challenging last year's tournament darling.

The Horizon League Tournament is being played at Les Miller Field in Chicago, which has one of the most amazing backdrops in college baseball. Valparaiso is the #1 seed in the Horizon League Tournament, but the automatic bid could go to anybody in this conference. Wright State earned a bye in the tournament and is led by the Horizon Player of the Year in senior outfielder Tristan Moore. UIC is the #4 seed, but is the host of this tournament and has plenty of depth in the offense from 1 to 9.

Baseball Bracketology - May 24, 2012
ALL CAPS - Projected conference champion

Tallahassee Regional
#1 FLORIDA STATE (ACC)
UCF
Vanderbilt
FLORIDA ATLANTIC (Sun Belt)
Lexington Regional
Kentucky
MISSOURI STATE (MVC)
Maryland
KENT STATE (MAC)
College Station Regional
#8 Texas A&M
Tcu
Wake Forest
ORAL ROBERTS (Summit)
Houston Regional
RICE (C-USA)
Dallas Baptist
Georgia Tech
SAM HOUSTON STATE (Southland)
Los Angeles Regional
#5 Ucla
CAL STATE FULLERTON (Big West)
UNC WILMINGTON (CAA)
MANHATTAN (MAAC)
Charlottesville Regional
Virginia
Oregon State
COASTAL CAROLINA (Big South)
STONY BROOK (America East)
Gainesville Regional
#4 Florida
Miami
Washington
BETHUNE COOKMAN (Won MEAC)
Raleigh Regional
NC State
Mississippi State
East Carolina
AUSTIN PEAY (OVC)
Baton Rouge Regional
#6 LSU (SEC)
Oklahoma
Tulane
SAINT LOUIS (A-10)
Palo Alto Regional
Stanford
Clemson
Gonzaga
CORNELL (Won Ivy)
Eugene Regional
#3 OREGON (Pac-12)
Pepperdine
Utah Valley
SACRED HEART (Won NEC)
Gary Regional
PURDUE (Big Ten)
LOUISVILLE (Big East)
Indiana State
VALPARAISO (Horizon)
Chapel Hill Regional
#7 North Carolina
Ole Miss
APPALACHIAN STATE (SoCon)
ARMY (Won Patriot)
Columbia Regional
South Carolina
Texas
Charleston
BELMONT (Atlantic Sun)
Waco Regional
#2 BAYLOR (Big 12)
Arkansas
Wichita State
PRAIRIE VIEW A&M (Won SWAC)
Tucson Regional
Arizona
SAN DIEGO (WCC)
NEW MEXICO STATE (WAC)
NEW MEXICO (MWC)

Last 10 Teams Out: Virginia Tech, Cal Poly, California, Long Beach State, Michigan State, Georgia, Elon, Washington State, Saint John's, SE Louisiana

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