ARTICLE OF THE DAY

A Look at The Field
by Coach Gary Overton
5/24/05

The ECU Baseball Pirates drew the No. 4 seed in the Conference USA tournament and will play fifth seeded Houston in the opening game of the tournament Wednesday morning at 10a.m. EDT in Hattiesburg, Mississippi at Pete Taylor Park. The Pirates and Cougars, who did not meet during the 2005 season, will face either Tulane or UAB in the second round, depending on the outcome of both contests.

East Carolina finished the regular season with a record of 34-22 overall and an 18-12 mark in Conference USA, but will the fourth place finish be good enough to impress the NCAA Division I Baseball Committee when it passes out bids on Monday? Leaving nothing to chance the Pirates can make it a moot point by winning the C-USA Tournament, but here’s a look at the field and possibilities for what the Pirates need to do for advancement into NCAA play:

Conference USA – Tulane is a national seed while TCU and Southern Miss are probably in, but this league has generally been a four-team entrant and that serves ECU very well. The Pirates are the only other deserving team and have played a very demanding schedule with several quality wins. A win against Tulane in the league tournament would boost ECU’s RPI and two wins should secure the berth.

America East – One bid only and it appears Northeastern has an inside track. Don’t count out Maine who is no stranger to NCAA Tournament play.

Atlantic Coast Conference – Seven teams will probably make the field here. Miami and Georgia Tech are most certain to host with Florida St. and one other a definite possibility. That other could possibly be Clemson after sweeping Miami along with a strong finish or UNC after two wins against Ga. Tech or even N.C. State after its two impressive wins against Florida St. Regardless of the host teams, all six will enter along with Virginia.

Atlantic Sun – Two bids go out here as regular season champion Troy deserves one, likewise for future C-USA opponent Central Florida with a 40-16 overall record.

Atlantic 10 – Only one bid will come from this league and there is no reason to think anyone other than Rhode Island or George Washington will get it.

Big East – By virtue of a series sweep over Notre Dame two weeks ago, St. Johns is the only worthy candidate of a bid and that is in jeopardy should the Red Storm not win this tournament.

Big South – Coastal Carolina 44-12 has been red hot throughout the season and solidified its stance by knocking off Ga. Tech and UNC on the road in consecutive weeks. While the Chanticleers will not host, they are not far from doing so or being seeded no. 1. Winthrop at 39-19 should also receive a bid unless an undeserving team wins their tournament

Big Ten – Illinois and Michigan are the teams here, but the Wolverines only because of some quality wins, two of which came in the Keith LeClair Classic at Clark-LeClair Stadium in March. The team not winning this tournament has every reason to worry.

Big 12 – Texas, Baylor, and Nebraska will all host but who will get in after that? Missouri has a chance, but not much is expected from any of the other pretenders.

Big West – This underrated league boasts two teams who should definitely host as no. 1 seeds in Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State. After that, Cal Poly is a possibility, but probably can be placed on the downside of the bubble.

CAA – Wilmington is a strong possibility to win the tournament as its played on the UNC-W campus and the Seahawks ran away with the regular season crown. Only two quality wins which came against ECU and Virginia make them a stretch to advance as an at-large entry.

Horizon – Illinois-Chicago, like UNC-W in the Colonial, won its regular season going away and is only deserving team in this league.

Ivy – Harvard has clinched.

Metro-Atlantic – Look for Marist to continue their NCAA run as only one team advances here also.

Mid-American – Another underrated league as four teams, Miami-Ohio, Ball St., Kent St., and Central Michigan vie for one spot.

Mid-Continent – Oral Roberts is working to secure this league's one and only spot.

MEAC – Former ECU opponent NCA&T has won this tournament and looks forward to NCAA.

Missouri Valley – Look for Creighton  41-13 and Wichita State  43-20 to advance but Southern Illinois 35-18 is making a push.

Mountain West – BYU will continue their winning ways into the NCAA unless it fails to win the league tournament.

Northeast – Won yesterday by Quinnipiac.

Ohio Valley – One bid only, possibly Jacksonville St.

Pac 10 – Oregon St. is not only a host but national seed as well. Arizona, Arizona St. and Stanford make this a five bid league. This league also makes a lot of noise in NCAA play so watch out if you have to play one.

Patriot League – Army won it weeks ago.

SEC – A record nine teams have advanced the last two years and this year should be no exception. Auburn will be the only entrant not qualifying for its conference tournament and still advancing. Vanderbilt with a 36-19 record isn’t good enough after finishing 10th in the league. All eight teams in league tournament action move on in the NCAA’s.

Southern – Former opponent of ECU, College of Charleston has played its way into a possible host site and no.1 seed.

Southland – Northwestern St., is another team playing its league championship at home.

SWAC – Southern Univ. should garner the bid from this league.

Sun Belt – Louisiana-Lafayette is bidding for a no.1 seed while South Alabama looks to be in.

West Coast – Pepperdine as always.

WAC – Rice, who else?

Here’s hoping for a competitive field with the Pirates getting their seventh consecutive NCAA regional appearance.

Coach Gary Overton