One of the greatest things about the NCAA Baseball Tournament is that literally anyone can win it. It does not matter what seed you are, what conference you are in, or if you are hosting or not, you have a shot. A year ago, Ole Miss, who was the last team in the NCAA tournament field, won the CWS. There are so many teams that can win it every year, but to help narrow it down, here are five darkhorse teams that can win the CWS:
Top College World Series Dark Horses
5. Campbell (44-13), 2 seed
Campbell has had a phenomenal season and most people believed that the Camels were in a great position to host, however, the selection committee did not agree. The Camels won the Big South Conference regular season and tournament championship, along with some impressive non-conference wins. The Camels’ non-conference wins include a sweep over East Carolina, along with wins over Coastal Carolina, and North Carolina.
Campbell is a No. 2 seed in the Columbia regional, which includes No. 1 seed South Carolina, No. 3 seed NC State, and No. 4 seed Central Connecticut State.
A year ago, the Camels put up a fight against the No. 1 overall seed Tennessee and put the College Baseball world on notice. This season Campbell is hungrier than ever and I believe that they got a great draw, even though they are not a host. Campbell is a veteran team that always plays with a chip on their shoulder and I would watch out for the Camels.
4. Indiana (41-18), 3 seed
Indiana is a bit of a wild card. The Hoosiers are 30th in the RPI and finished second in the Big 10. Indiana’s only problem is they do not have that many ranked wins. Indiana has looked very good at times this season, but they have not played the toughest schedule either.
Indiana is the No. 3 seed in the Lexington regional, which includes No. 1 seed Kentucky, No. 2 seed West Virginia, and No. 4 seed Ball State.
I like the matchups for the Hoosiers in the Lexington regional. Indiana has a very tough first game against West Virginia, however, the Mountaineers are not playing their best ball right now. I also like that Indiana has already played Kentucky this season so there is some familiarity between the two. Since Kentucky basically dominated Indiana the first go around it will be interesting to see how the Hoosiers respond if they play again.
3. Southern Miss (41-19), 2 seed
Southern Miss was another one of those teams that had a good enough resume to host, but unfortunately did not end up being a host site. If there was a regional Southern Miss would like to go to, it would be Auburn. I believe the Golden Eagles have the best pitching in the Auburn Regional and that could play a big part in Southern Miss advancing.
Southern Miss is the No. 2 seed in Auburn regional, which includes No. 1 seed Auburn, No. 3 seed Samford, and No. 4 seed Penn.
Legendary coach Scott Berry announced that he is retiring after this season. Coach Berry has won a ton of games and made the postseason eight times, and even made a super regional a year ago. However, Coach Berry has never been able to take the Golden Eagles to Omaha. Southern Miss players have a lot more to play for this offseason, and I believe that the Golden Eagles will make a serious run.
2. Texas A&M (36-25), 2 seed
Texas A&M has had an interesting last couple of weeks. Heading into the SEC tournament, the Aggies were barely even in the NCAA tournament and headed into Hoover as a No. 10 seed. Texas A&M then went on to win four games and make the SEC championship game. The Aggies defeated Tennessee, South Carolina, LSU, and Arkansas to help strengthen their resume heading into the postseason.
Texas A&M is the No. 2 seed in the Stanford regional, which includes No. 1 seed Stanford, No. 3 seed Cal State Fullerton, and No. 4 seed San Jose State.
The Aggies have had their ups and downs this season, but this team is coming to form at the perfect time. Texas A&M is one of the hottest teams in the country and they get to travel to Stanford, which is a very questionable team. I expect the Aggies to make it out of the Stanford regional pretty easily and make another run at Omaha.
1. Tennessee (38-19), 2 seed
Everybody knows how dominant that Tennessee team was a year ago, but this year’s Tennessee team is very different. The Vols were basically left for dead in mid-April, but since then they turned things around going 11-4 in the last 15 SEC games. Tennessee lost in the first round of the SEC tournament which hurt, but history shows that an early exit in the conference tournaments benefits teams later on.
Tennessee is the No. 2 seed in the Clemson regional, which includes No. 1 seed Clemson, No. 3 seed Charlotte, and No. 4 seed Lipscomb.
Obviously, this was a terrible draw for Tennessee but an even worse draw for Clemson. Clemson is on a sixteen-game winning streak and the Tigers have been dominant since late March. However, the Vols still have one of the best pitching staffs in the entire country. I also think that the Vols getting upset a year ago will benefit them in this year’s postseason and cause them to play with a sense of urgency. I truly believe that if Tennessee can keep the bats hot along with their dominant pitching, the Vols have a great chance to go on a run and get back to Omaha.
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