Dialing up FSU and LSU’s Chances in the Super Regional

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LSU looked dominant in the Baton Rouge Regionals; they went 3-0 and won pretty handedly against Stony Brook and Southern Miss. It does seem like the offense is clicking on all cylinders, and so is the pitching. Their first game against Stony Brook really set the tone of the Regional by absolutely destroying them 17-3. Then LSU, in my opinion, handled USM easily in their second and third games, winning 8-4 and 6-4. It just never felt like the games were in doubt. Everything was just rolling the Tiger’s way. Playing at home really helped with that, and thanks to Georgia getting knocked out of the postseason, LSU gets to host the Super Regional against an old baseball powerhouse, FSU.

Although FSU wasn’t the team they usually are this season, they still played well enough to finish 6th in the ACC, and their win over NC State in the ACC Tournament was a big help in their seeding, 3 seed, in the Athens Regional. In that Athens Regional, FSU did not play like a 3 seed, however. They tore that Regional up. FSU was able to win all 3 of their games and beat the 1 seed, and number 4 national seed, Georgia twice! They didn’t just win these games though, they were able to win handedly (12-3 and 10-1). It was an absolute rout.

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In the entire Athens Regional, Florida State scored 35 runs and only allowed 11. In these games, the Seminoles hit 9 home runs and batted .375. Needless to say, Florida State is hot, but I think they going to have a rude awakening once they get to Baton Rouge and play in Alex Box Stadium. In road games this year, FSU has a record of 9-10, and history has proven that they struggle in Super Regionals away from home. Although the Seminoles have reached the Super Regionals 17 of the last 21 years, they have gone 0-5 in Super Regionals away from Tallahassee. That advantage for LSU is just too great.

No matter how hot you might think Florida State is right now, LSU is just as hot, and has just so much more talent on their team. If this were in Tallahassee then this might have a different expectation and might be a closer series, but LSU at home is just too scary for any team. We are forgetting that LSU was the preseason number 1 team this year, and they are just now starting to play like it. FSU might get one, but LSU has a great chance to win this Super Regional.

LSU in 3. Book it.

Baton Rouge Super Regional Schedule:

June 8 – 3:00 PM ET – ESPN

June 9 – 6:00 PM ET – ESPN2

June 10 – 8:30 PM ET – ESPN (If Necessary)

 

-Parmesan Don

@soft7parm

What Are LSU’s Chances of Getting Out of the Baton Rouge Regional?

For the 26th time the Road to Omaha must go through Baton Rouge, LA, as LSU will once again be hosting a Regional Round of the NCAA baseball tournament. To be honest, and I think I speak for a lot of people when I say this, I was surprised with just how safely LSU was as a Regional host. I think that had LSU not performed the way they did at in the SEC Tournament, we would be looking at them sitting at a 2 seed. Thank God they were able to beat Mississippi State, because that was absolutely needed. I just don’t feel that this team would be able to be successful had they been a 2 seed and not been lucky enough to play at home and be the best team in the region.

This just isn’t like every other LSU team we’ve had in the past few years. Unfortunately, they aren’t super deep, and don’t have the stellar pitching I think most LSU fans are used to seeing; however, they have proven to be scrappy. For how young they are, they have been able to prove themselves late in games and get some unbelievable wins. I also won’t dog on the pitching too much because it’s not terrible, they just don’t have the talent and depth at the position. This isn’t like we have Ben McDonald, Aaron Nola, or even Alex Lange on the mound as their ace, but when Cole Henry, Matthew Beck, and Eric Walker are on their game then I think LSU’s pitching staff is a force to be reckoned with. I also love it when Zach “Wild Thing” Hess is able to strike batters out to get us out of an inning and then he walks back to the dugout screaming and beating his chest. I think LSU’s bats can keep them in a game and win it if the bullpen is on. LSU is just so young.

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With that being said, let’s jump into the teams in the Baton Rouge Regional.

2 Arizona State (37-17, 16-13 Pac-12, 33 RPI, 87 SOS)

ASU made it into this regional as an at-large bid out of the Pac-12. The Sun Devils are a very strong offensive team. They lead the country in home runs (92); led by Hunter Bishop with 22. They also have two players, Hunter Bishop and Spencer Torkelson, who are nominated for the Golden Spikes award. However, after starting the season 21-0, the Sun Devils have taken a turn. It was a bumpy road along the way, and in their last lost 7 games they lost 5. In addition, they finished 5th in the Pac-12, and their record against the teams that finished ahead of them (UCLA, Stanford, Oregon St, and Cal) was an unimpressive 4-7. The biggest thing LSU needs to do is control ASU’s bats and I think they should be able to figure this team out. Arizona State just lacks the momentum needed to succeed going into the regionals.

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3 Southern Miss (38-19, 20-10 CUSA, 45 RPI, SOS 96)

Southern Miss was the big winner at the Conference USA tournament by securing their auto-bid. Had they not won, they might be in the same position as Louisiana Tech who did not make the tournament. Southern Miss was a pre-season top-25, but entered into the CUSA tournament as a fringe regional selection. The only other team to make it into a regional out of CUSA is FAU, who was the CUSA regular season champion, and was able to make it in as an at-large bid. The Golden Eagles’ biggest problems come from their play in the field. They have committed 81 errors on the season, and only 287 of the 512 runs they allowed were earned. I’m not so sure about that being something that can easily be fixed for this regional, and these mental mistakes should pose to be a major issue for Southern Miss going forward. I don’t expect a lot from this team as a result.

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4 Stony Brook (31-21, 15-9 America East, 138 RPI, 255 SOS)

LSU is very familiar with Stony Brook. Back in 2012 they beat LSU to win the Baton Rouge Regional, which shocked everyone. However, this team is not nearly as talented as Stony Brook’s 2012 team. This is Stony Brook’s first time back in the NCAA tournament since 2015. They were able to win the American East’s regular season and their conference tournament, but 6 of the 7 conference teams were within 4 games of each other at the end of the regular season. They were nearly as dominant as they were back in 2012; however, they were able to sweep the American East Conference Tournament to get that auto-bid. Stony Brook really hasn’t been boosted by an out of conference resumé at all, and as a result, they don’t have a lot of quality wins. However, they are one of the only teams in history to defeat LSU in a Baton Rouge Regional, so obviously they have history. I just don’t think history repeats itself this year.

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Before LSU was awarded a 1 seed, I was not confident in their ability to make it out of a regional. However, now that I know they will be playing in Alex Box Stadium in front of all the LSU fan, I’m a lot less worried. Also, after looking at all the teams, the only team that, I believe, really poses a threat to the Tigers is ASU, but they just aren’t the same team they were earlier in the season and are really dependent on their ability to hit home runs. So, we shall see what LSU is able to do with this regional, but I’m confident in their chances to advance.

The Baton Rouge Regional Schedule:

Friday, May 31

Game 1 – 1 p.m. ET – 2 Arizona State vs. 3 Southern Miss (ESPN3)

Game 2 – 7 p.m. ET – 1 LSU vs. 4 Stony Brook (ESPNU/ESPN3)

Saturday, June 1

Game 3 – 1 p.m. ET – Game 1 Loser vs. Game 2 Loser (TV TBA)

Game 4 – 7 p.m. ET – Game 1 Winner vs. Game 2 Winner (TV TBA)

Sunday, June 2

Game 5 – 3 p.m. ET – Game 3 Winner vs. Game 4 Loser (TV TBA)

Game 6 – 9 p.m. ET – Game 4 Winner vs. Game 5 Winner (TV TBA)

Monday, June 3

Game 7 – Time TBA – Game 6 Winner vs. Game 6 Loser (if necessary) – TV TBA

 

– Parmesan Don

@soft7parm

LSU Suspends Head Coach Will Wade Indefinitely

On Friday, LSU basketball announced that they would suspend head coach Will Wade indefinitely after a phone conversation between Wade and Christian Dawkins, a basketball middleman, that had been tapped by the FBI back in 2017. The conversation went as follows:

“I was thinking last night on this Smart thing,” Wade said. “I’ll be honest with you, I’m [expletive] tired of dealing with the thing. Like I’m just [expletive] sick of dealing with the [expletive]. Like, this should not be that [expletive] complicated.”

With no elaboration on Javonte Smart, who is now a freshman stud at LSU.

“Dude,” Wade continued to Dawkins, referring to the third party involved in the recruitment, “I went to him with a [expletive] strong-ass offer about a month ago. [Expletive] strong.

“The problem was, I know why he didn’t take it now, it was [expletive] tilted toward the family a little bit,” Wade continued. “It was tilted toward taking care of the mom, taking care of the kid. Like it was tilted towards that. Now I know for a fact he didn’t explain everything to the mom. I know now, he didn’t get enough of the piece of the pie in the deal.”

Dawkins responded by saying, “Hmmmm.”

“It was a [expletive] hell of a [expletive] offer,” Wade continued. “Hell of an offer.”

“OK,” Dawkins said.

“Especially for a kid who is going to be a two- or three-year kid,” Wade said.

The FBI also cited many other coaches in this including Bruce Pearl, Auburn, and Sean Miller, Arizona.

What really sucks about this whole thing is this might be the best LSU team since Shaq was there. As an LSU fan, this might be the first year since I was alive that I feel like we have a legitimate chance to make a deep run in the tournament (at least more than when we had Big Baby, Tyrus Thomas, and Marcus Thornton).

All of that being said, LSU did the right thing. It was obvious that they had fault and that there was a clear issue coming from Wade. So for them to be the first to lay the hammer down was incredibly smart. I think that’s a consensus amongst everyone. The SEC made a statement that they supported LSU and the basketball program in this.

It’s going to be interesting to see how this young LSU team deals with this, and see if they can adapt. I hope they can, but it’ll be very hard. Will Wade was a stellar coach and was a great leader.

This brings the question of whether college programs should be able to pay their players and allow them to profit off their likeness. However, that is a question for another day.

-Parmesan Don