OMAHA, NE - JUNE 28: "The Road To Omaha" statue before game 2 of the men's 2011 NCAA College Baseball World Series between the South Carolina Gamecocks and the Florida Gators at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha on June 28, 2011 in Omaha, Nebraska. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
The second round of the 2012 NCAA Baseball Tournament kicks off today with the Super Regional round. Unfortunately, there won't be any teams from the Houston area playing, as Rice, Prairie View A&M, and Texas A&M all were eliminate last week. While disappointing, the half-full view says that Houston area college baseball fans now have plenty of teams that they can root against.
Half of the teams in this double elimination round will start play today in a Friday-Saturday-Sunday format, while the other half will play Saturday-Sunday-Monday. All games will be on some form of ESPN, and the third game will obviously only be played if necessary (all gametimes are ET).
LSU (46-16) vs Stony Brook (50-12)
Location: Baton Rouge, LA
Gametimes: Friday, noon ESPN2
Saturday, noon ESPN2
Sunday, 1 p.m. ESPN2
LSU swept their regional last week, beating Oregon State 6-5 in 10 innings for the championship. The Tigers feature the nation's leading hitter in Raph Rhymes, who is hitting .452, and solid starting pitching. Stony Brook won the Coral Gables regional as a four-seed, after going 21-3 in conference play. They boast a .336 team batting average, and scored ten or more runs in four of their five games in Coral Gables. They'll need their bullpen to step up big time in order to win this weekend.
Prediction: LSU in two
UCLA (45-14) vs TCU (40-20)
Location: Los Angeles
Gametimes: Friday, 9 p.m. ESPN2
Saturday, 9 p.m. ESPN2
Sunday, 10 p.m. ESPN2
The Bruins have won 14 of their last 15 and seven in a row, including a three game sweep of their regional last week. TCU won the College Station Regional in five games. Their normally subdued bats got hot last weekend, even scoring 28 against Dayton.
Prediction: UCLA in two
Florida State (46-15) vs Stanford (41-16)
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Gametimes: Friday, 7 p.m. ESPN2
Saturday, 6 p.m. ESPN2
Sunday, 7 p.m. ESPN2
The Seminoles allowed four runs in three games during their sweep of the Tallahassee Regional last week. Stanford also swept their regional last week. These two teams are very evenly matched, and Mike Martin (FSU) and Mark Marquess (Stanford) are the third and fourth winningest active coaches, respectively.
Prediction: FSU in three
Arizona (41-17) vs St John's (40-21)
Location: Tucson, AZ
Gametimes: Friday, 3 p.m. ESPN2
Saturday, 3 p.m. ESPN2
Sunday, 4 p.m. ESPN2
Arizona features a deadly offense that averages 7.5 runs per game and scored 47 runs in three games in their regional last week. St John's has won seven in a run, including a sweep of the Chapel Hill Regional as a three-seed.
Prediction: Arizona in two
South Carolina (43-17) vs Oklahoma (42-23)
Location: Columbia, SC
Gametimes: Saturday, 8 p.m. ESPNU
Sunday, 7 p.m. ESPNU
Monday, 7 p.m. ESPN2
The Gamecocks swept their regional last week behind a solid starting rotation and an offense that is great at manufacturing runs. They have won 19 straight NCAA Tournament games. Oklahoma swept the Charlottesville Regional and has won seven of their last nine.
Prediction: South Carolina in two
Oregon (45-17) vs Kent State (44-17)
Gametimes: Saturday, 11 p.m. ESPNU
Sunday, 10 p.m. ESPNU
Monday, 7 p.m. ESPNU
The Ducks are hosting their first Super Regional in program history. They swept their regional last week. Kent State has won 20 in a row, including a sweep of the wild Gary Regional last week.
Prediction: Kent State in three
Florida (45-18) vs NC State (43-18)
Location: Gainsville, Florida
Gametimes: Saturday, 2 p.m. ESPNU
Sunday, 1 p.m. ESPNU
Monday, 1 p.m. ESPN2
The Gators cruised to a three game sweep of their regional in Gainesville last week, allowing only 5 runs total while scoring 25. The Gators had eight players drafted in this week's MLB draft, and seven of those went in the first nine rounds. NC State beat Vanderbilt on Monday in the regional championship by scoring three runs in the ninth inning. The Wolfpack averaged 11.2 runs per game in regional play, so the Gators will have to pitch well in order to make it to Omaha.
Prediction: Florida in two
Baylor (48-15) vs Arkansas (42-19)
Location: Waco, TX
Gametimes: Saturday, 5 p.m. ESPNU
Sunday, 4 p.m. ESPNU
Monday, 4 p.m. ESPN2
After a surprising loss to Oral Roberts to start regional play, Baylor came back to win in five games. Arkansas doesn't score many runs, but their pitching is excellent at times, and that helped them sweep the Rice regional last week.
Prediction: Baylor in three