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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, May 12, 2008

By Brian Bailey

Resident seeding guru maps out scenarios

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.

East Carolina is set to close out the regular season this week with a road game at UNC-Wilmington and three home games with Memphis.

The Pirates enter the week a strong second seed in the upcoming NCAA regionals, according to former East Carolina coach Gary Overton.

Coach “O” is our resident expert on the field. He and nine others comprise the NCAA Baseball Tournament Selection Committee. He’ll spend a week in Indianapolis to help set the field for the upcoming NCAA regionals.

He also took time out to join me on the radio on Monday night.

“It’s only my opinion,” said Coach Overton, "but I believe the Pirates have to win the Conference USA tournament, or win the regular season title in Conference USA to have a chance (at hosting).”

The other side of the coin says the Pirates also have to move into the top 16 in the nation in the rankings. RPI’s and strength of schedules both come into play.

“The good news is that the Pirates are in (the tournament),” said Overton. “Right now they are a strong number two seed. If they finish strong they could slip in and still be a host team in the regionals. But again, they have a lot of work to do.”

Overton also said the committee will certainly look at a club’s last 15 games. Those last 15 include a team’s run in their respective tournament.

The Pirates will be favored to do well in Hattiesburg. Conference USA utilizes a pair of double elimination tournaments to determine the two finalists for the televised championship game. The Pirates wouldn’t see Rice until the championship game.

Coach “O” stressed that the NCAA Committee’s job is to try and balance the regionals. That balance is more of a competitive balance as opposed to a regional balance. If it takes sending an ECU out west to best balance a regional, then the NCAA will do that.

The season is down to a handful of games, but there is still plenty on the line.

What the Pirates need is a nice winning streak to end the year. A little eight-game winning streak would give the Pirates a C-USA title and most likely that host spot in the regionals.

Overton said he didn’t think there was a scenario that would give the Pirates a host roll as a number two seed. He said that might happen with a Big Ten school or someone else out in the Midwest.

For Coach “O” and the rest of the selection committee, it’s an interesting two weeks to come. The Pirates need a strong push to make their case for an NCAA regional at Clark-LeClair Stadium.

The largest crowd to ever see a regular season game in North Carolina is one of the highlights of 2009.

It would be nice to follow that up with the largest crowd to ever see a postseason game in our state.

The Pirates are on the outside looking in as far as hosting goes. But in baseball, all you can really ask for is a chance. The Pirates do have a chance.


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05/12/2009 02:53:11 AM


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