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Looking Ahead to the Super Regional

While I spent the weekend walking around various parts of D.C., the Carolina baseball team was ripping through its NCAA regional in three straight games, earning a trip to, well, Chapel Hill, and a best of three series with East Carolina. Along the way, they brought misery to Jayhawks fans everywhere, so there's that at least.

Having just gotten used to North Carolina being a baseball powerhouse, I'm most certainly not prepared to consider East Carolina one as well. Happily, they're not yet at that stage. The Pirates needed a ninth-inning rally and an extra inning of play to squeak by South Carolina Monday night in Greenville. On the season they're 46-19, and winners of the Conference USA regular season title. The Tar Heels (45-16) and ECU have met twice this season, with Carolina taking the first game in Chapel Hill, and East Carolina returning the favor in Greenville. This weekend's games are already a sellout, which with overflow crowd should lead to attendance of over 5,000. The game in Greenville drew 5,581, so expect a fair number of Pirates fans in attendance.

So who wins the weekend? It's tough to say without seeing the pitching matchups, but UNC has more Super Regional experience and a better record against a tougher conference slate - of the six ACC teams to make the tournament four advanced, and as the fourth overall seed, UNC is, in the NCAA's view, the best of the bunch. With the home field advantage, the odds are in the Tar Heels' favor, and they should make it back to Omaha for the fourth straight year.