What psychotic human invented polls anyway? They don’t even realize the turmoil they have caused among the college fan bases for all of these years. What! You think Occidental is better than Randolph-Macon? Not on my watch!
And, on and on it goes. But now it’s tournament time, and all the talk is cast aside and a team’s ranking becomes fact or fiction rather quickly. Sure half the tournament is seemingly SEC and ACC teams, but that doesn’t mean anything at this point. Everyone is equal, and anything can happen. That’s why we watch. So, here are the last Louisiana teams standing in the NCAA regionals.
Good luck, and Roll Wave.
Tulane Green Wave (39-19) – Two-seed – Oxford Regional
Coach David Pierce’s streak of regionals remains unblemished as a head coach (three at Sam Houston State, two at Tulane) after leading Tulane back to the NCAA regionals. The Green Wave had a less than spectacular performance, by their standards, at the American Athletic Conference tournament, but with the regular season championship trophy in hand, were selected as the two-seed in the Oxford regional. While the local fan base was salivating at the opportunity to play LSU in Baton Rouge, the selection committee sent them further north into SEC territory.
Tulane will take on the Boston College Eagles, a team making its first regional appearance since 2009. The Eagles posted a 13-15 conference record in the tough ACC, a conference that has sent a record-setting 10 teams to the regionals. Ole Miss takes on the Pac 12 champions, Utah Utes on the other side of the bracket. Ole Miss fans are up in arms that the Rebels didn’t get a top eight seed, so the fan base should once again be loud and proud during a great weekend in Oxford. The Green Wave kick off their tournament run on Friday at 3 p.m.
UL-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns (41-19) – One-seed – Lafayette Regional
It’s all about surge, and peaking at the right time, and the Ragin’ Cajuns are doing just that. The boys from Lafayette are riding a 10-game win streak into the regionals after going a perfect 4-0 in the Sun Belt conference tournament. That tournament run followed a six-game season ending win streak that saw the Cajuns take two of three against South Alabama, then crush the Privateers in a mid-week matchup, before sweeping UL-Monroe – a sweep that pushed the Cajuns past South Alabama for the regular season title.
And they have a favorable regional to boot. Louisiana plays Princeton first, a team that shouldn’t strike fear into anyone’s heart. After that, they would either play Sam Houston State – a team they swept to start the season, or the Arizona Wildcats – who finished tied for third in a weak Pac 12. So, don’t be surprised to see the Ragin’ Cajuns headed to Starkville for a super regional against Mississippi State. UL-Lafayette hosts Princeton on Friday at 7 p.m.
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (40-18) – Three-seed – Starkville Regional
I wish all of my All-Louisiana teams could have made it to the regionals, but – outside of the Green Wave – this team’s success has made me the happiest. And I’ll say it until I can’t anymore – this team was picked to finish 11th in Conference USA. Eleventh, folks! They remind me of my old high school football team. We were picked to finish dead last and…we did. But not the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs set the tone early in the season with big Top 25 victories over UL-Lafayette and Arkansas. Instead of crumbling in conference, as predicted, Louisiana Tech fought their way to a 19-11 finish, which included a surprising series sweep over the Rice Owls to end the year. Even though the Owls would get their revenge in the Conference USA tournament, Louisiana Tech couldn’t go unnoticed during the selection process. The Bulldogs will play Cal-State Fullerton, Friday at 6:30 p.m.
LSU Tigers (42-18) – One-seed – Baton Rouge Regional
Six national titles. Seventeen NCAA College World Series appearances. Impressive numbers, but only one number matters this year – 13-2 since…Rally Possum. The rodent that sent Baton Rouge to a higher level is seemingly still running wild, as the Tigers have extended their impressive late season surge into the regionals. LSU was picked as a top eight seed in the tournament, meaning that if the Tigers win their regional, they would host the Super Regional as well – where they would likely face North Carolina State or Coastal Carolina.
But, first things first, LSU will have to dispatch the Utah Valley Wolverines, which have a pretty scary name. After that, the road gets tougher as the Tigers will have to get past the Rice Owls and Southeastern Lions to make the Super Regional.
The Tigers host Utah Valley on Friday at 2:00 p.m.
Southeastern Louisiana University Lions (39-19) – Three-seed – Baton Rouge Regional
It’s tough being in a smaller conference, because make no mistake about it – no one is confusing the Southland with the SEC. But, you play the hand you’ve been dealt, and the Lions played it exceptionally well this year. Southeastern didn’t get the automatic bid after losing to Sam Houston State in the Southland conference championship, but their strong resume got them an at-large bid – which is never a given for a small conference team. But it makes sense. The Pokes from Southeastern have a lot of big notches on their belt with victories over Southern Miss, South Alabama, UL-Lafayette, and a series sweep of Tulane.
Their reward? A trip to Baton Rouge to take on the Top 25 Rice Owls and – if all goes well – the top eight seed LSU Tigers on their home turf. Congrats. It’s the Lions versus Owls on Friday at 7 p.m.
And like a fine wine with a steak dinner, every game should be accompanied by a beverage and song.
Beer Pairing: Courtyard Brewing’s “To Reach The Western Lands”
Playlist Recommendation: Joey Scarbury – “Greatest American Theme Song”