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2011 NCAA Baseball Tournament: Previewing Fort Worth, Tempe Regions

The 2011 NCAA baseball tournament gets underway on Friday so I figured it would be good to scour some websites to provide a detailed preview of the games. So here it is.

TCU has played every team in their region in 2011 and has a combined record of 1-4 against Oklahoma, Dallas Baptist and Oral Roberts. That lone win came against Oral Roberts, and the only other matchup between teams from this region is a 3-2 Dallas Baptist win over Oklahoma.

The SB Nation site MLB Bonus Baby which focuses on the MLB Draft has recently taken to breaking down all the NCAA baseball tournament regions

Here is what they say about the Fort Worth region:

Matt Purke is the ultimate X-factor, both in the MLB Draft and for TCU's post season hopes. If the 2010 version should show up - the one that had command of a mid 90s fastball, an above average breaking ball and an average change - TCU should have no trouble rolling through this Regional. If the 2011 version should show up - the one that showed little command of a high 80s fastball - TCU will need the rest of their starters to continue to pick up the pieces. Kyle Winkler has filled in as the de facto ace, bringing his game to a level that no one anticipated, and Freshman Andrew Mitchell has emerged as a very good starter. Oklahoma will be a tough out and has handled TCU during mid-week action this year. The outcome of this Regional likely hinges on Purke, and I'm not confident in his health at this point; I'll take Oklahoma to advance.


Here is what SB Nation's Oklahoma site Crimson and Cream Machine say about top seeded TCU:

The Frogs return 19 lettermen from last year's squad that made it to the College World Series. Led by ace pitcher Andrew Mitchell and slugger Jason Coats TCU drew the overall top seed in the regional and will be the host team. Sunny Galloway is 11-2 against the Horned Frogs including a two game sweep this year in which games were played both in Norman and Fort Worth.

Mitchell has a 5-1 record and a 3.13 ERA while Coats is hitting .332 with 8 home runs and 56 RBIs.

Here is some of what Baseball America is saying about TCU:

The Horned Frogs dominated the Mountain West and earned a home regional for the third straight year, but it wasn't all smooth sailing. Two-thirds of the weekend rotation-2010 national Freshman of the Year Matt Purke (5-1, 1.51) and senior righty Steven Maxwell (5-1, 3.13)-each missed several weeks down the stretch with injuries. Junior righty Kyle Winkler (8-2, 1.40) has developed a hard slider to go with his quality fastball and changeup, helping him transform into a legitimate ace atop the rotation, but neither Purke nor Maxwell has regained his best stuff heading into the postseason. Power-armed freshman Andrew Mitchell (5-1, 3.13) has thrived while shuffling between three roles-relief, midweek starter and weekend starter, becoming TCU's second-most reliable pitcher for most of the season.

Even with TCU's Matt Purke not being up to his 2010 standards, I am picking TCU to advance to the super-regional round. Here is the schedule of the Fort Worth region:

Fort Worth Regional Schedule (Times MT)
Game 1, No. 2 Oklahoma vs. No. 3 Dallas Baptist, 1 p.m., June 3
Game 2, No. 1 TCU vs. No. 4 Oral Roberts, 6 p.m., June 3
Game 3, Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2, 1 p.m., June 4
Game 4, Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner, 6 p.m., June 4
Game 5: Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 loser, 1 p.m., June 5
Game 6: Game 4 winner vs. Game 5 winner, 6 p.m., June 5
Game 7 (if necessary): Game 4 winner vs. Game 5 winner, 6 p.m., June 6

New Mexico takes part in the Tempe region and the Lobos have the worst record of any team in the NCAA baseball tournament with a record of 20-39 and most likely will not be advancing on -- or winning a game in their region.

Here is what MLB Bonus Baby says about the Tempe region:

Arizona State will need to get strong outings from their weekend rotation in order to win this one. The committee did them no favors by placing Arkansas and Charlotte in their Regional. Even New Mexico is a strong team given their seed. Brady Rodgers is a pretty good bet to do just that, but Jake Barrett has been very inconsistent. 3 seed Charlotte has three excellent starters in Corey Roberts, Andrew Smith and Tyler Barnette that could allow them to steal a few games. Arkansas received a fantastic start from Ryne Stanek during the SEC Tournament and he could be a game changer if he does something like that again. DJ Baxendale has stepped into the ace role with Davenport down to injury. Arkansas takes this one after a big week from their talented freshmen.

So, the Lobos are getting some love despite their 20-39 record, but they have been hot by going 4-0 in the Mountain West tournament. 

Baseball America put together an extensive breakdown of each region and here is some of what they are saying about New Mexico:

...they caught fire at the perfect time, beating juggernaut TCU twice en route to the MWC title. UNM's .339 winning percentage is the worst for a regional team since Texas Southern carried a 16-32 record (.333) into the 2008 tournament. But the Lobos are playing with a lot of confidence now. They got quality starts in the conference tournament from Rudy Jaramillo (4-8, 4.42), Richard Olson (3-7, 6.45) and Austin House (1-2, 5.92), and they'll need more of the same to have any chance in this loaded regional.

Also, do not forget to check back at the interview I did with SB Nation's Arizona State blog, House of Sparky about the New Mexico matchup. The Lobos did play Arizona State in their series opener and were swept by the Sun Devils.

Here is the schedule for the Tempe region:

All times MT
Game 1, No. 2 Arkansas vs. No. 3 Charlotte, 1 p.m., June 3
Game 2, No. 1 Arizona St. vs. No. 4 New Mexico, 6 p.m., June 3
Game 3, Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2, 1 p.m., June 4
Game 4, Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner, 6 p.m., June 4
Game 5: Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 loser, 12 p.m., June 5
Game 6: Game 4 winner vs. Game 5 winner, 5 p.m., June 5
Game 7 (if necessary): Game 4 winner vs. Game 5 winner, 5:30 p.m., June 6

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