The NCAA Division I Baseball tournament selection committee revealed the 16 host sites for the 2014 NCAA Tournament on Sunday evening with a very central, midwestern, and southern flair to the selected sites. Only Oregon State and Cal-Poly were the only true West Coast Regional sites selected to host.
For the Washington Huskies baseball team and its fans it’s a disappointing result as the NCAA missed a golden opportunity to grow the sport by placing a regional in one of the top new college baseball stadiums to have opened nationwide in recent years.
Having said that this Husky team had a golden opportunity to take this decision out of the selection committee’s hands. If they would have won that series in Corvallis and took two of three or swept UCLA at home this conversation about not hosting would not be taking place. They also were probably penalized greatly for those mid-week losses to Seattle University.
The Huskies, since they don’t have as much of a recently established history in the postseason, are also paying the price this season by playing in a Pac-12 where UCLA, Arizona State, Stanford and Arizona were down. This has created an unjust perception that Washington’s success is a bit of a fluke. The reality is it’s not a fluke as this Husky team has enough balance in all phases that can compete and win a regional with the right draw.
The key now for head coach Lindsay Meggs and this Washington team is not to let being snubbed to host a regional get in the way of the opportunity ahead to go on the road and make a big time statement on the national stage.
The travel is not going to be easy going eastward from the Seattle area. As speaking from personal experience with NCAA Baseball Tournament travel from Charlottesville, Virginia to Corvallis, Oregon for a Regional back in 2005 when I worked for the University of Virginia.
If I am Washington, I am hoping for a number two seed to a regional site like Cal Poly who is hosting for the first time.
There is something about hosting for the first time that can potentially take a toll on a team and that would create a tremendous opportunity for the Huskies to have a shorter trip and to take advantage of such a scenario.
Thus, while Washington was snubbed they are going to be a number two seed that nobody wants to have placed in their bracket.
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