The FOW staff got together to chat about how they think TCU is going to fare in this year’s NCAA Tournament.
1. The NCAA Tournament field has been set, and TCU will be hosting Virginia, Dallas Baptist, and Central Connecticut State in the Fort Worth Regional. As this is one of the considerably more difficult regions in the tournament, how do you feel about TCU’s chances to win the region?
Jamie: This is going to be a very difficult region to win. Virginia should have been a regional host, but somehow Clemson was awarded that privilege instead. TCU is 2-0 against DBU this season, but the Patriots were big contributors the last time TCU lost at the regional level, back in 2011, and they’re 13-3 in the month of May. I still feel strongly that TCU will win the region, but a trip to the losers bracket wouldn’t surprise me.
JT: There is a reason we are the one seed. We have played well against the some of the best teams in the country. We have the ability to play well and win in any game that we play. I will say, however, that we have a difficult road ahead. This regional is filled with landmines. DBU is a very solid team and Virginia probably should have been a 1 seed. It will be a dog fight (such a weird phrase) but I will be surprised if the end result is anything but a victorious TCU.
Travis: I saw a few projections that had Arizona as the No. 2 seed in our regional and I was relieved when I saw they were going to Lubbock. But then when they announced we got Virginia instead I thought “wow, that’s even worse.” It’s a tough regional, but we are very, very good at home.
Outside of the home field advantage I think TCU is lucky that, while both of these teams are batting over .300 on the season, neither one has truly outstanding pitching. Anything can happen when you’re facing a good offensive team, but If TCU gets the kind of starting pitching they got in the Big 12 Tournament, it’s going to be really hard for them to lose twice at home in one weekend.
Chris: When this regional came out, I’ll admit I was actually kind of happy with it, then everyone told me I was wrong because Virginia should’ve been a regional host. The Cavs had one of the worst non-conference schedules in the nation, coming in at #235, and they’re only 14-8 away from home, so did they really deserve to host? TCU played a much tougher schedule and with us hosting, the Frogs have the advantage of being at Lupton where they are 23-4. As far as the other two teams go, Dallas Baptist may be a tougher out than Virginia, as they have been playing really well recently. I don’t expect Central Connecticut State to make much noise, so I think this regional favors TCU.
Melissa: Baseball is so weird, and anything can happen. I am hopeful that DBU and Virginia will beat each other up a bit in their first game, and hopefully get deep into the bullpen. Assuming Nick Lodolo takes game one for the Frogs, anytime Jared Janczak is on the mound, I am going to feel good about TCU’s chances - even against a pissed off Virginia team. With JJ and Brian Howard potentially going back to back, and Mitchell Traver looking good for game four, I think TCU has a clear starting pitching advantage. Should any of them stumble, and we have to rely on the pen, there are reasons to be concerned with two very good opponents lying in wait. That being said, I am never going to pick against the Frogs in a series at Lupton.
Hawk: Knowing as much about baseball as you all know that I do, I have no qualms in saying that TCU will easily crush all of the opposing teams in the region. TCU is very good at baseball, while all other teams in this regional are comparably worse at baseball.
2. Beyond just having a difficult region, TCU is matched up with the Fayetteville Region (Arkansas, Missouri State, Oklahoma State, Oral Roberts) for the Super Regionals. Who do you think comes out of that region, and how do you think TCU would fare against that team?
Jamie: If TCU doesn’t have the toughest regional, Arkansas definitely does. The 2-seed is Missouri State, who went 18-1 in the Missouri Valley Conference (DBU was 2nd in the conference) during the regular season. 3-seed Oklahoma State just won the Big 12 tournament, and is looking for a second-straight trip to Omaha, and Oral Roberts has more wins this season than any other 4-seed in the tournament (only two others reached the 40-win plateau).
Oklahoma State is so hot right now, but I just have this weird feeling that Missouri State comes out of that region. They underperformed in their conference tournament, and are probably looking to prove themselves a bit against big-name competition. As for how TCU would fare against them in the Supers? I think the Frogs would make it back to Omaha, but it would take all three games.
JT: Man, this is a tough one. I legitimately can see a path for all four of these teams to win this regional. If I am forced to choose, which I suppose I am, I will say that Oklahoma State comes out of this regional solely because of the hot streak they are on right now. I think they would be a tough adversary in the super regionals, but I think having home advantage would be huge and would allow us to once again be victorious.
Travis: This pairing is clearly a transparent attempt by the selection committee to try to keep both TCU and OSU from both making it to the CWS again this year. The committee only gave three Big 12 teams bids last year and they all made it to Omaha. They thought to themselves, “We’re really gonna have egg on our face if all seven make it this year after we talked so much about how good to SEC and ACC are. Better pair some of them together in the supers”. I think OSU is a talented young team with some veterans who have been there before, and right now they are very confident. Give me the Cowboys to take Fayetteville.
Chris: Both Oklahoma State and Arkansas had incredible showings in their respective conference tournaments and both are currently playing really well, but I think the advantage goes to Oklahoma State. Their pitching was dominant in Oklahoma City and with their lineup finally getting healthy, they were able to show they had what it took to win a tournament. I think the series this time around will be much tougher for TCU again with them, but if we get two solid outings from Janczak and Howard, the Frogs should be headed back to Omaha.
Melissa: A healthy Oklahoma State team is the best program in that Regional, and unless the time off cools them off too much, I think they take it - but it takes all weekend. Cash, McCain, and Benge are so dangerous in that lineup, they play good defense, and the pitching is really coming on. There isn’t a team I would rather see less in a Super than the Cowboys, but what a series that would be with Omaha on the line. It’s going to be tough for the Frogs to get back for a fourth straight year - maybe the toughest challenge yet when you look at the quality of opponents overall - but, see my above answer for what I think will happen.
Hawk: Either Arkansas or OSU will earn the honor of being defeated by TCU in baseball as a prelude to being defeated by TCU in football this year to deepen their sadness. I believe that TCU will beat Arkansas in football by more, so we’ll say that Arkansas wins their regional and earns the right to be extra sad.
3. Who are the eight teams you think make it to Omaha?
Jamie: Oregon State, UCLA, Texas Tech, TCU, Southern Miss, Louisville, Michigan, West Virginia (yep, Big 12 homer right here)
JT: Oregon State, Cal State Fullerton, Texas Tech, TCU (DBD), LSU, West Virginia, Louisville, Michigan (Idk, man. Just making picks.)
Travis: Oregon State, Long Beach State, Texas Tech, LSU, North Carolina, Oklahoma, TCU, Florida
Chris: Oregon State, Texas, Texas Tech, LSU, North Carolina, Kentucky, TCU, Florida
Melissa: Oregon State, Stanford, Texas Tech, UNC, Louisville, TCU, LSU, Florida. (That’s wayyyyy too much chalk. I am wrong.)
Hawk: TCU and up to seven other teams that will play for the honor of finishing numbers 2-8. Go Frogs.