There’s a solid argument to be made that no National Seed has a tougher road to Omaha than TCU, who draws two 40 win teams in their Regional.
“I’m biased, but Virginia has to be the toughest 2-seed in the country, considering they were very close to hosting,” TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “In my mind, they were the 17th team if they would seed the top 16. But to get to Omaha, you’re going to have to beat good teams. So all we can worry about is preparation for the weekend and being ready to play Friday night.”
Plenty of built in excuses for not making it all the way for the preseason #1 team in the country - but champions don’t make excuses, they just find a way.
“We were holding out hope that we could maybe put together something, or the doctors could, but certainly the injury was far worse than originally expected,” Schlossnagle said. “The No. 1 thing that I told Luken’s parents, I told Luken and we told our doctors is whatever the best thing is for him long-term, for his career, that’s what we’re going to do.”
Baker, a sophomore from Spring, was hitting .317 with a .528 slugging percentage, .454 on-base percentage, eight home runs and 40 walks.
Still stinging from being denied a chance to host - over a dubious Clemson team - the Cavs will travel to Fort Worth with upsets on their mind. They’re good enough to pull it off, too.
“I was shocked; if that’s the right word,” said Brian O’Connor, who has taken Virginia to the NCAA Tournament in all 14 seasons as the program’s head coach.
UVa has been a national seed on nine of those occasions, and O’Connor felt the Cavaliers would be in that position again this week after drubbing Clemson 10-2 in the final ACC Tournament game for both teams.
“If the fourth-place team in the Atlantic Coast Conference is not worthy of a host site with 42 wins, I don’t know [who] is,” O’Connor said Monday. “I think what we’ve done for the last two months speaks for itself.”
Around the Big 12:
But the rest of the Big 12’s sports are thriving.
Look at softball. The Sooners have won two of the last four NCAA titles. And while much was made two weeks ago of the NCAA’s giving all 13 Southeastern Conference softball teams a berth in the 64-team NCAA field, the Big 12 almost matched the SEC in World Series qualifiers. The SEC and Pac-12 each placed three schools in the WCWS; the Big 12 placed two, and OU and Baylor will play each other in the first round Thursday night.
Look at baseball. OSU, TCU and Tech all made the eight-team College World Series last season. TCU, Texas and Tech made the CWS in 2014.
The Big 12 is producing championship-level teams in virtually all its sports. It is producing NCAA champions on a regular basis.
But in football, the Big 12 lags. In three seasons of the four-team College Football Playoff, only one time, OU in 2015, has a Big 12 team been selected. The SEC, ACC and Big Ten have placed a team in the playoff every year.