Hot on the heels of an ACC Baseball Championship win over rival NC State on Sunday, the Tar Heels crowded into the locker room at Boshamer Stadium to see where their NCAA Tournament fates would have them. A month ago the wait would be a lot more nerve-wracking, but with the ACC automatic bid and wins in 15 of their last 17, it was just a matter of where they would go, not if.
At the end of the Championship the Heels went from fringe tournament team to the tenth overall seed. That seed is enough to earn them their own regional this weekend, starting Friday. The Tar Heels will face Hofstra at 2 PM on Friday, while the other matchup will see VCU, Chapel Hill’s three seed, facing off against Georgia, the two seed.
As a reminder, the NCAA Tournament is a double-elimination tournament. The winners of the Friday games will face off on Saturday, while the losers will also face off with that loser heading home. The 2-0 team will await the team to emerge from the match between the two losers. The 2-0 team will just have to win one game, while the 2-1 team will have to win twice to advance.
It’ll make more sense once there are actual results and teams to put down.
As the tenth national seed, the Chapel Hill region has been paired up with the seventh seed Oklahoma State’s region. Should both of the top seeds advance, the Super Regional will be played in Stillwater, whereas if the Cowboys are upset and the Tar Heels make it, the Super Regional would be held in Chapel Hill for a best two out of three series, where that winner heads to Omaha.
There had been some thought that the Tar Heels had done enough to make it in to the top eight, but once the committee released the top eight the Tar Heels were no where to be found. In fact, for a league considered the best in the country the committee only awarded two with the top eight, Miami and Virginia Tech. Carolina and Louisville were the only other two of the top sixteen that’ll be able to host. The conference had two snubs: Notre Dame having to travel despite being fourth best in conference, and NC State not even making it period.
When asked about why the Wolfpack were left out, head of the baseball tournament committed and Army AD Mike Buddie mentioned how ties were broken using how teams performed in series versus individual games. This rationale probably also applied for why the Tar Heels only ended up as the tenth seed despite a high RPI and a 4-0 weekend in Charlotte and the aforementioned hot finish. During the hot streak, the Tar Heels did take series against two NCAA Schools-Wake and FSU-however both of those squads are traveling instead of hosting, and even in their ACC run they only beat two NCAA teams-Virginia Tech and Notre Dame. The committee couldn’t ignore their strength of schedule, great start and finish, but they also couldn’t ignore the rough patch where they lost series to Miami, Virginia Tech, Louisville, Georgia Tech, and Virginia. All made the tournament.
We’ll take a peek at the other three squads in the region later in the week, but for one more weekend there’ll be baseball in Chapel Hill.