Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Big XII hanging on by a thread in baseball regionals

You'd think a conference whose geographical territory covers much of Texas, where College teams frequently outdraw the Texas Rangers, the baseball hotbed of St. Louis, and a number of other places where State U. is the only baseball game in town, the Big XII would be much better at this college baseball thing.

Especially since 7 of the 10 baseball playing schools in the Big 12 made this year's NCAA baseball tournament, and 3 actually managed to land regionals.

Yet the Big XII finds itself barely hanging on as the regionals come to a close

The carnage started on Friday. TCU, like they did in football last fall, upset Oklahoma.

As if that wasn't surprising enough, Nebraska lost to Manhattan College. Manhattan College! Not only is the school misnamed (it's actually in the Bronx), the school is best known for launching the coaching career of ESPN hoops analyst Fran Fraschilla and his starch-sprayed hair.

Then the eliminations began. Texas lost to Stanford and NC State and Baylor lost twice to Rice, which wasn't so bad, but Kansas was eliminated by Hawaii, a state who's best baseball product is Sid Fernandez. Then Nebraska suffered it's second loss to the University of San Francisco, who would only be a baseball threat if they cloned Bill Russell and taught the clone to throw a curveball instead of block shots.

The worst ignominy: Oklahoma State was beaten by cross-state opponent Oral Roberts not once, but twice.

Thankfully Oklahoma and Missouri managed to save face. Oklahoma managed to fight its way through the losers bracket and beat Gene Stephenson's Wichita State Shockers twice to advance. Missouri fought through a brutal Malibu regional against UCLA and Pepperdine to advance.

But neither faces an easy opponent in the regionals. Missouri takes on Cal State-Fullerton and Oklahoma faces Rice.

So it's concievable that the Big 12 could wind up with no teams in Omaha for the first time in it's history.
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