Get your coolers and foldout chairs ready: we could be playing baseball in Oxford for the next couple of weekends. The selection committee awarded Ole Miss’ SEC Championship run with the No. 4 national seed in this year’s NCAA Tourney, meaning the Rebs hold home field advantage through the first two rounds.
Tennessee Tech, Missouri State and St. Louis will head to Oxford this weekend for the regional round—a very manageable draw considering that most projections had Southern Miss, a hot-hitting traditional rival whose fans would have travelled, as the two-seed in Oxford. Still, Tennessee Tech is now walkover: they piled up 48 wins this season and lead the country in batting average and homers. And four-seed St. Louis is a potential problem in the Rebels’ first game because they carry a legit ace.
If the Rebs can take care of business in the opening round, they’ll host the winner of the Austin regional, which includes Big 12 regular season champ Texas, Texas A&M, Indiana and Texas Southern. That probably either means a rematch of the 2005 Oxford super regional against the Longhorns or another game against the Aggies, who the Rebs have already beat three times this season (including in the SEC Tourney last week).
Ole Miss definitely moved itself up the seeding ladder in Hoover, a run that culminated with a win over LSU in the championship on Sunday. Thanks to changes in the NCAA Tourney structure, that higher national seed actually matters this year (in years past, there wasn’t really an advantage to be being No. 4 as opposed to, say, No. 7). For the first time, the selection committee seeded the top 16 seeds and paired up potential super regionals according to those numbers.