Ole Miss heads to Los Angeles this weekend to face UCLA, Maryland and CSU Bakersfield in the regional round of the NCAA Tourney. If you already know how a regional works and are just here for the schedule/results, skip to the bottom. The rest of us are gonna take a quick refresher course.
Think of a regional as a four-team, double-elimination mini-tournament. The clubs are seeded one through four, with the top seed playing host in their home stadium (in this case, UCLA). You start with the one vs. four seed and the two vs. three. You play baseball until there's only one team left. That team moves on to the second round.
Here's the thing about regionals: the format give a major advantage to a team that wins early. If you win your first two, you get a bye into the regional finals. If you lose either of your first two, you drop down into the losers bracket and have to play an extra game in order to fight your way back up, then have to beat the undefeated team twice in a row. So losing either of the first two games guarantees you'll need to play a total of five games in order to win a regional.
Ole Miss doesn't have a reliable fourth pitcher, much less a fifth. UCLA, meanwhile, has one of the deepest staffs in the country, even after they lost their regular third starter to a stress fracture. My point is that the Rebs really need to win their first two games if they hope to escape L.A.
Here's the schedule. Games aren't on TV unless otherwise noted, but you'll be able to catch them all online at WatchESPN.com.
UCLA 7, CSU Bakersfield 2
Game 3: CSU Bakersfield 2, Ole Miss 1 (Ole Miss eliminated)
Game 4: Maryland 3, UCLA 1
Game 5: UCLA 9, CSU Bakersfield 1 (CSU Bakersfield eliminated)
Game 6: UCLA 4, Maryland 2
Game 7: UCLA (3-1) vs. Maryland (2-1) -- 10 p.m. CT