Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

FSU, UF May Land Regionals State Schools in Mix

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

FSU, UF May Land Regionals State Schools in Mix

Article excerpt

TALLAHASSEE -- Responding to the expansion of the NCAA Division I baseball tournament to 64 teams, a record number of schools are submitting bids to host one of the 16, four-team regional tournaments set for May 28-30.

Four state schools -- Florida State, Miami, Florida and upstart Florida Atlantic -- will submit host bids to the nine-member NCAA Baseball Committee by today's deadline. The committee will spend the weekend pouring over the bids in an effort to announce the 16 regional sites Monday.

The 64-team bracket -- made up of 29 automatic conference qualifiers and 35 at-large selections -- will be announced May 24. The baseball committee will seed the entire field, with the top eight seeds positioned to avoid any head-to-head matchups in the super regional round, a best-ofthree series between two regional champions.

Schools must also submit super regional bids by today, though the hosts cannot be announced until May 31, following the completion of regional action.

"We'll have over 30 [bids] for sure, and what we hope to do is name as many teams as we can on Monday," NCAA Director of Championships Dennis Poppe said.

"We do put credence on the top teams deserving to host; and some teams are still playing their way in [to the tournament]. We may, or may not, be able to fill the top 16 teams on Monday, but we hope to."

Florida, a regional tournament host in 1996 and 1998, is one of those programs. Despite a strong schedule, the Gators (33-21) head into the final weekend of the regular season with a one-game lead over Kentucky for the eighth and final spot in the Southeastern Conference tournament.

The Gators host Alabama in a three-game series, while Kentucky travels to Louisiana State. Failure to qualify for the SEC tournament will almost certainly be eliminate the Gators from NCAA consideration.

"We recognize that we still have some work to do to host one," Florida Athletic Director Jeremy Foley said. "But there are 16 sites and our power rating in pretty good. …

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