- Created on Tuesday, 31 May 2011 11:31
- Last Updated on Thursday, 16 May 2013 07:51
- Written by Travis Pulver
Both the Texas Longhorns and Rice Owls, the winner of the Conference-USA tournament were named national seeds (No 8 and No 7 respectively). Texas A&M won the Big XII tournament for the third time in five years, but failed to earn one of the coveted national seeds.
As national seeds, UT and Rice will have the benefit of playing at home until the tournament is down to eight teams. Since the Aggies were not named a national seed, they will likely end up traveling to Tallahassee if they make it to the super regional round of play.
Of the 16 regional competitions, four will be hosted in Texas (College Station, Fort Worth, Austin, and Houston). While the regional hosting duties make it possible that the national champion will come through Texas, the number of teams slants the odds a little bit more. Of the 64 teams, seven come from the Lone Star State (Baylor, Rice, Texas, Texas State, Texas A&M, Dallas Baptist, and TCU).
Location and numbers alone does not make Texas a tough place to visit for teams hoping to advance. Many of the teams happen to be among the best in the country. Four of the top 13 in the last poll were from the Lone Star State (No 5 Texas, No 8 Texas A&M, No 10 TCU, and No 13 Rice). Not only do they hope to make it to Omaha, they expect it.
“I think we have a chance to get to Omaha,” Rice head coach Wayne Graham told supporters at a party.
His confidence is well deserved. For the 17th season in a row, the Rice Owls are returning to the tournament. Five times in the last decade they did advance to the College World Series in Omaha, winning it once in 2003.
“The goal is always the College World Series,” said Rice infielder designated hitter Anthony Rendon. “Whenever we don’t go to the College World Series, it’s considered a failure. That’s why this program has thrived and become an elite program.”
The Texas Longhorns are glad to be among the eight national seeds. They know how important being one of those eight can be towards their goal of winning the program’s seventh national title.
“The main thing about all of this is you’re in the top eight,” UT coach Augie Garrido said. “It’s not as important to be No. 1.”
Texas A&M would have stood a better chance of being one of the eight national seeds, but a late injury to John Stilson, one of the team’s elite pitching talents, turned out to be a factor in the decision process.
“For some members of the committee, that kind of was the last piece to the puzzle for them when it came to considering A&M,” Tim Weiser, deputy commissioner of the Big XII said.
For those wondering if their favorite team will advance, the wait will not be too long. The action kicks off at each respective regional sight on Friday, June 3.