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Big three hindered each other

By By Austin Bishop / regional sports director
May 29, 2002
Writing words of wisdom on a Wednesday while wondering whatever happened to Mookie Wilson …
Just in case you haven't heard, State, Ole Miss and USM did not make the 64-team field of the NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament.
By now all of the arguments pro and con have been heard. So there is really not much of a need to rehash them.
But, perhaps there is one theory that has not been heard. It appears to me that because Ole Miss (37-19), MSU (34-24-1) and USM (36-22) had similar records that the committee found it tough to take one of them and not the other three.
How can you justify taking Ole Miss, when it was State who beat the Rebels three straight to get into the SEC Tournament, leaving Ole Miss out of the eight-team party at the Met in Hoover, Ala., last week?
How can you take USM when the Golden Eagles played even-Steven with the Bulldogs and Rebels during the regular season? How can you take State, when the Bulldogs barely made it into the SEC Tournament and had a record that was not as good as that of Ole Miss or Southern Miss?
If one of the three state schools had finished with a winning record, and the other two had not, I am convinced that team would have made it to the tournament.
But none of the three teams really distinguished themselves down the stretch run.
The one that came closest to that was MSU, but the Bulldogs quite frankly waited too late.
Well, enough of that.
South, West dominate
college baseball scene
If you take a look at the makeup of the 64-team NCAA Tournament field you will see that the selection committee has leanings towards teams from the South and the West.
You can decided for yourself if Texas belongs in the South or the West.
The SEC led the way with seven teams being selected, followed by the ACC with five, Conference USA and Big 12 with five. Three of those four leagues are Southern conferences without a doubt, and the other has teams from that region.
The Pac-10 and Sun Belt had four each, while the Atlantic Sun, and Big West had three each. For those unfamiliar with the Atlantic Sun, that is a Southern league as well, which incorporates a large number of Florida teams.
Among the leagues getting two teams in were the Big South and the Western Athletic.
Leagues such as the Big East and Big 10 had only one representative.
When you break it down by state, Florida leads the way with nine teams in the field, followed by California with seven, Texas with six and Louisiana and North Carolina with four each.
Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Virginia have three each.
Other tourney
notes of interest
Nearly two-thirds (40) of the teams in this year's tournament were in the 2001 field as well.
Only five teams Central Connecticut State, Elon, Louisville, New Mexico State and San Diego are making a trip to the Division I tourney for the first time. Two of those, Elon of the Big South Conference and Louisville of Conference USA, were at-large selections.
Miami (Fla.) is making is record-extending 30th consecutive trip to the tournament. The Hurricanes are the defending National Champions.
Florida State has now made 25 straight trips tothe tourney, while Clemson has been 16 straight, followed by LSU with 14.
And, just in case you were wondering, 283 colleges and universities played Division I baseball during the 2002 season.

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