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The Bradsher Beat
Friday, May 30, 2008

By Bethany Bradsher

'Diamond Dance' by the numbers

By Bethany Bradsher
All rights reserved.

OK, Iím being transparent here. Itís the eve of the NCAA Championship Tournament, and I just donít feel the thrill.

Maybe itís because Iím not even sure if I should call it ďMay ManiaĒ or ďJune Jubilee.Ē

Maybe itís because there are 16 No. 1 seeds and no one higher than a 4, so the Cinderellas look like everyone else at the ball.

Or maybe it can be summarized in two simple words: no pools.

So, even though we donít have multiple copies of brackets lying all over the house and even though the format tends to rob it of some drama, I will still salute the baseball bracket, and I promise to give it just one more cutesy nickname. Here, the Big Diamond Dance by the numbers:

  • Nine: The number of NCAA Regionals in which the Pirates have appeared in the past 10 years, excepting only 2006.

  • Two: East Carolinaís total number of trips to the NCAA Super Regional level, in 2001 and 2004. The Diamond Bucs have never won a game at a Super Regional.

  • Eight: The number of teams in the field of 64 that are from Texas and California, the best-represented states in the event. North Carolina isnít far behind with six teams playing (East Carolina, North Carolina, Elon, UNC-Wilmington, North Carolina State and UNC-Charlotte.)

  • 588: The number of wins notched by Alabama coach Jim Wells in his career. The winningest coach in Tide history, Wells hopes to extend the trend against East Carolina tonight.

  • 96: The number of hits collected by freshman Crimson Tide shortstop Josh Rutledge, who is leading the SEC in that category.

  • 16-32: The season record of Texas Southern, the losingest team in the NCAA tournament field.

  • 77: The number of strikeouts credited to ECU freshman Seth Maness, who was named a third-team All-American on Thursday. Maness is the 18th Pirate in school history to make an All-American roster.

  • 1.77: The difference in ERA between Fridayís two starting pitchers in the Conway Regional. Maness, representing the Pirates, has a 2.87 while Alabamaís Austin Hyatt takes the mound with a 4.64.

  • 15: In dollars, the price to buy tickets to ECUís single games at this weekendís regional.

  • 5: The number of times ECU has played a regional in either North or South Carolina in the past decade.

So, fill out those brackets and remember this: No one ever went from a March Madness basketball game straight to the beach or got a killer tan in the cheap seats.

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05/30/2008 01:47:51 AM

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