UNC's third straight College World Series kicks off this weekend, with a 7 pm start against Lousiana State. The Tigers were one of the last two teams to make it to Omaha, needing all three games to put away UC Irvine. Before facing the Anteaters however, LSU was the hottest team in college baseball, ending the regular season with twenty straight wins and sweeping the regional they hosted. How impressive you find that streak depends on how which side you pick in the "How overrated is the SEC?" debate - answer, nobody cares - but either way they're a threat. They're a young hitting team, only starting one senior and two juniors, but their starting pitching rotation are all upperclassmen. It's LSU's first trip to Omaha under their second-year coach Paul Mainieri. The Tigers were last here in 2004, and last in the tournament in 2005. The two year drought was the longest in twenty years.
Look for first baseman Matt Clark to continue his pursuit of the college home run title - he's tied with fellow Series participants Gordon Beckham (UGa) and Buster Posey (FSU) - but for Carolina to win the game. They have the experience, lack of pressure, and no frickin' Oregon State on their side this year.
Oh, and LSU fans will continue to take tastelessness to new levels, but that's to be expected.