Auburn Snubbed by NCAA Selection Committee, Looks to be Last Team Standing in Raleigh Regional
Auburn coach Butch Thompson is taking his second team to the NCAA tournament. The Tigers first back-to-back appearance in 15 years. (photo: Dennis Victory/al.com)
For the second consecutive year Auburn baseball will play in an NCAA regional. The NCAA Selection Committee announced today the Tigers will be the No. 2 seed at the Raleigh Regional. The Tigers will face No. 3 seed Northeastern in their opening game on Friday. No. 4 army will play No. 1 seed NC State in the second game.
It’s an inexplicable surprise to see the committee grant State a host site over Auburn. After advancing to the winner’s bracket last week in the SEC Tourney, most prognosticators thought the Tigers had done more than enough to be one of the 16 national seeds.
The Tigers had the No. 13 RPI, No. 8 strength of schedule and a 19–19 record against RPI top-50 teams—10 more than the Wolfpack. It was particularly egregious considering the Wolfpack played the 32nd strength of schedule while finishing with the No. 20 RPI and won only 9 games against RPI top-50 teams.
Ten SEC teams were chosen to play in the NCAA Tournament, including four teams selected to host regionals (Florida, Georgia, Arkansas, and Ole Miss). One can only assume the committee did not want to give the league a fifth regional host.
There’s nothing the Tigers can do about the selection but they can do something about the snub—win.
Last year’s team narrowly missed winning the Tallahasse Regional and advancing to the Super Regional. Coach Bruce Thompson said this year there is more motivation to finish strong. “We want to finish a tournament,” Thompson said. “We want to be the last one left standing.”
If Casey Mize is on his game and the Tiger bats are popping, then this writer feels confident Auburn will make it to the next level.