The NCAA has just announced its baseball championship bracket, to approximately one billionth of the fanfare that its annual orgy of uneducated guesswork, the basketball championships, engenders. But take a moment to appreciate the symmetry, and the humble nature of the appropriately named Regionals, that constitute this bracket. No play-in games here - nay, just 16 blocks of four who will round-robin their way down to eight blocks of four. The winner of each of those Super Regionals will meet in the College World Series, where they will, with any luck, hail from all corners of the map (or its lower half, anyway). For example, one of these eight teams will come out of the Super Regional:
2. Georgia Tech
1. NC State
3. UNC Wilmington
4. Sacred Heart
Barring a deep run by Sacred Heart, it's safe to say that some Confederate debutante depot will represent this Super Regional in Omaha in less than three weeks. Nice to have that box checked. A scoch west there's another gaggle of sibling schools competing for a CWS bid:
3. Sam Houston St.
4. Prairie View
2. Dallas Baptist
4. Oral Roberts
I count here one school from Arkansas, one from Oklahoma and six from Texas. This Super Regional isn't just the Bible Belt - it's the entire Dillard's menswear section. Yet it is a just and right seeding that pits perhaps the three most religious schools in the tournament against each other in a single Regional, so at last we can determine whether the Baptists or the Pentecostals are better at calling in miracle late-inning sac flies. Frankly any method of eliminating five or six Texas schools at a swoop bespeaks divine inspiration.
The rest of the Super Regionals follow this pattern. One is setting up a Pennsyltucky representative. Another is pure Virginny Cackalacky. Another is Cheerleader U Plus Dayton and Creighton. One's all Cali v. Redneck Riviera. Braketologically speaking, we could wind up with SEC schools in seven of eight CWS slots. Here's hoping that we instead see the aluminum-bat Hunger Games the NCAA is so clearly orchestrating.