Notre Dame (35-14) will travel to Statesboro, Ga., to open regional play after the selection committee’s baffling decision not to select South Bend as the regional play host.
Link Jarrett’s team will be the second seed and will play in an open tournament against Texas Tech (37-20). Georgia Southern (40-18), the region’s top seed, will face UNC Greensboro (34-28), the program Jarrett served as head coach from 2013 to 2019.
Mike Buddie, who holds a chair on the selection committee, tried to explain why Notre Dame was left out as a regional host on ESPN2 after the selection show.
“I think this is my sixth year on the committee and a lot of times the RPI and conference finish are a little more aligned,” Buddie explained. “It was a good thing because we never want to rely on just one metric. It really forced us to dig in.
“When we were looking at Notre Dame, Oklahoma and LSU for some of these final host spots, we had to be very particular. Instead of just looking at Quad 1, we looked at the record against the 1-25 ranked teams to try to separate ourselves. Our belief was to be a national seed unless you did something spectacular in your conference’s regular season and/or won the tournament like East Carolina, Stanford and the Tennessee have been able to make it into elite teams.
Buddie’s explanation also got a little confusing when he blamed geography for Notre Dame’s slippage out of the regional home line.
“Certainly the regular season had to count,” Buddie said. “Notre Dame was one of four seeds in the ACC and some of the others didn’t finish in the top two. Extremely tough. We certainly know Notre Dame is a great team and had a phenomenal year. Unfortunately for Geography is sometimes their enemy. They lost three games – three conference games. Two to Virginia Tech and one to NC State. Those three games, or even two of them, could have tipped in a meaningful direction for the game. either of those teams. Sadly, sure, but that’s what makes baseball beautiful and frustrating all at once.”
The Regional is a double elimination tournament and the winner will have the opportunity to face the winner of the Knoxville Regional in a best of three Super Regional.
Texas Tech has reached the College World Series four times under Tim Tadlock as head coach: 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2019.
Last week, the Red Raiders went 1-2 in the Big 12 tournament. Texas Tech beat Kansas State 5-3 before falling to Oklahoma (6-3) and Kansas State (6-5/11).
As for shared opponents, Michigan is the only team both programs have played as the Red Raiders beat the Wolverines 7-6 in the season opener on Feb. 18. Notre Dame defeated Michigan 14-5 on April 12.
This will be Notre Dame’s 24th NCAA Tournament appearance in program history and the Fighting Irish hold a 45-46 record in the Field of 64. It’s also the first time since 2006 that Notre Dame has back-to-back appearances. in the tournament.
The Statesboro Regional will begin play on Friday.
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