Three ACC Teams Earn National Seeds

Florida State was the third ACC team to earn a national seed.
Florida State was the third ACC team to earn a national seed.

The NCAA Tournament pairings have been announced. Eight ACC teams made the field of 64, with five conference teams hosting regionals and three claiming national seeds.

It took 49 innings of baseball over four days, but North Carolina claimed the ACC Tournament Championship to back up their regular season crown.  The Tar Heels have had a national seed six of the last seven seasons, but this marks the first time they carry the No. 1 seed into the NCAA Tournament.

The Tar Heels will host Florida Atlantic, Towson, and Canisius. All four teams won their respective conferences’ automatic bids.  FAU is currently on an 11 game winning streak, while Towson and Canisius are 90th and 94th, respectively, in’s RPI rankings.

The winner of the Chapel Hill Regional will face the winner of the Columbia Regional next weekend in the best-of-three Super Regional. The Columbia Regional consists of South Carolina, Clemson, Liberty, and St. Louis.  At one time, Clemson was in good position to host a regional, but dropping two of three to Florida State and going 0-3 in the ACC Tournament cost the Tigers.

South Carolina took two of three games against Clemson in March. Last year, the Gamecocks defeated Clemson twice in the Columbia Regional on their way to Omaha.  Liberty defeated top-seeded Campbell to win the Big South Tournament, while Saint Louis rallied from the losers’ bracket to claim the Atlantic 10 title.

Florida State and Virginia join North Carolina as national seeds. Virginia earned the sixth overall seed, while Florida State was seeded seventh.  Virginia’s regional will consist of UNC Wilmington, Elon, and Army.  UNC Wilmington was 1-5 against ACC teams in 2013, but the win came against North Carolina in Chapel Hill.  Elon was 70th in RPI, but won the Southern Conference tournament to make the field. Army won the Patriot League to earn an NCAA Tournament berth.

Florida State will host Alabama, Troy, and Savannah State. The Crimson Tide was a middle-of-the-road SEC team, having lost two of their last three series to close out the regular season.  Troy won the Sun Belt regular season championship, with series wins against fellow NCAA teams South Alabama and Florida Atlantic on its resume.  Savannah State won the MEAC championship, but boasts an RPI outside the top 150 in the nation.

NC State arguably just missed out on being a national (top-eight) seed in the tournament, as the Raleigh Regional has been paired with the Eugene Regional, hosted by No. 8 national seed Oregon.  This is despite the Wolfpack boasting a better RPI (7 vs. 9) as well as a better record against top 50 RPI teams (18-10 NC State, 6-10 Oregon).

Nonetheless, the Wolfpack will first have to take care of business in Raleigh against Ole Miss, William & Mary, and Binghamton.  Ole Miss limps into the NCAA Tournament, having lost six of their last eight games.  William & Mary lost twice to Towson in the CAA Tournament, going 2-5 against teams in the RPI top 50, but earned an at-large bid.  Binghamton earned its second NCAA Regional appearance in program history by winning the America East Tournament.

2013 marks the first time Virginia Tech will host an NCAA Regional. The Hokies are red hot entering the tournament, having won 16 of their last 19 games, including 13 of their last 15.  Their regional will consist of Oklahoma, Coastal Carolina, and Connecticut.

Oklahoma had entered the Big 12 Tournament as a bubble team, but the Sooners erased any doubts with a run to the conference championship.  Coastal Carolina took two of three games against Georgia Tech but was 1-3 in other games against ACC teams.  Connecticut earned a spot in the field of 64 by winning their first Big East Tournament since 1994.

Georgia Tech will go to Nashville for regional weekend, joining a group hosted by No. 2 overall seed Vanderbilt. The Commodores won the SEC regular season title and lost in 11 innings to LSU in the SEC Tournament championship. They are also seventh in the nation in team batting average (.317).  Illinois, Georgia Tech’s first opponent in the regional, is 1-0 against the ACC this season, with the lone win coming against Boston College.  ETSU won the Atlantic Sun tournament to earn an automatic bid.

The Nashville Regional is paired with the Louisville Regional, which features a taste of ACC present and future.  Louisville stumbled in the Big East Tournament, but had won 16 consecutive games leading into the event to establish itself as the conference’s best team. Joining Louisville will be Miami, Oklahoma State, and Bowling Green.

Miami struggled in the ACC Tournament, but picked up a closing win against Clemson to build on.  Oklahoma State is 52nd in RPI, but the Cowboys defeated six of the eight RPI top 50 teams they faced this season. Bowling Green had a losing record in the regular season, but got hot at the right time to win the MAC championship.

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