GRAND JUNCTION, CO – The NCAA has released the teams that will participate in the 2016 NCAA II tournament during its Selection Show on may 15, 2016. There are eight regions in the NCAA II, and the winner of each regional tournament will go on to the College World Series, in Cary, North Carolina.
For the South Central Region Tournament, the six teams that earned bids (either through winning their conference tournament/regular season or being selected by the NCAA committee) are (in order of seeding):
- Colorado Mesa Mavericks (41-11)
- St. Edward’s Hilltoppers (40-10)
- Angelo State Rams (35-20)
- West Texas A&M Buffaloes (36-18)
- Texas A&M – Kingsville Javelinas (32-17)
- Lubbock Christian Chaparrals (35-14)
This is another great region, top to bottom. There is not one game that we can definitely call and say “no contest.” So this should be a lot of great baseball, from first pitch on Thursday to the final out on Monday. Several of these teams have been here before, with two of them having gone to Cary in the last couple of years. So, there isn’t going to be any other way but nose-to-the-grindstone baseball, for the team that ends up heading east next week.
The Colorado Mesa Mavericks, who lost in the final game at Cary two years ago, and who sported D2 baseball’s best record last year, is making another run. We do not see many holes again this year with this squad, and barring a collapse in this tournament…they are the favorite.
We argued with some folks early in the preseason, when we told them that we really do like the chances for the St. Edward’s Hilltoppers this year. They said that the Hilltoppers were a good team, but having a chance to make it to the Region was 50-50 and forget about them in Cary. Well, look whose the #2 seed? Look who won 40 games? While we break our arms patting ourselves on the back, there is still work to do for St. Edward’s. This won’t be easy…but we like their chances!
The Angelo State Rams were able to make their run to Cary last year. Coming back this season, it at first looked like they wouldn’t even be good enough to make the regional. But the Rams were able to settle in and start playing like we thought they would. They know the way…but they are going to need to play some very good, fundamental baseball to make it out of the region this year.
Coming in at #4, the West Texas A&M Buffaloes also are an annual playoff program. While they struggled at times this season to find their footing, they did what they needed to in order to make it to Grand Junction this weekend. As we stated above, any of the 6 teams has a shot to come out of this. If the Buffaloes can get the right pitching match-ups and get run support, they could make noise.
Texas A&M – Kingsville Javelinas had an off year last year. It appears they have reloaded with a solid team that can play with anyone. That being said, there are some inconsistencies that were noticed this year that cost them at times. If they can keep those in check, and play to their capability, then they will have a good week. If not, they may go home early. The first game will tell the tale.
The good news story this year is the Lubbock Christian Chaparrals. in their first year of eligibility for the playoffs, the Chaparrals are sitting right here with the big boys in the NCAA tournament. We expect we will see a lot of this team in the coming years. And we should see them give Colorado Mesa a run for their money in the first game. That game will tell us if Lubbock Christian is ready for the big stage yet.
We see upset possibilities all over this tournament. While the Colorado Mesa Mavericks have been on top all year they are beatable. This is one where we almost went off the #1 seed and predicted an upset.
While it may happen, we aren’t going to go against the Mavs. Colorado Mesa will take this one.
Click HERE for all tournament brackets & schedules