UCSB’s bid for an NCAA Baseball Regional in Las Vegas falls short
While being away from the friendly confines of Caesar Uyesaka Stadium was already a given due to lack of lighting, the UCSB baseball team’s bid to host an NCAA Regional in Las Vegas was denied Sunday afternoon.
The NCAA announced the 16 Regional host sites, with three Pac-12 Conference schools instead receiving the good news, including top-ranked UCLA (47-8), Stanford (41-11) and Oregon State (36-18-1). There are no other host teams in the Pacific time zone.
Despite winning the Big West Conference for the first time since 1986 and the second-best winning percentage in the nation — .833 at 45-9, behind only UCLA’s .855 — the Gauchos are likely to head to one of the three West Coast locations to start their drive toward Omaha.
UCSB is 18-6 on the road this season.
In addition to the three Pac-12 schools, other conferences represented as host sites are:
• SEC (6): Arkansas (41-17), Georgia (44-15), LSU (37-24), Mississippi State (46-13), Ole Miss (37-25), Vanderbilt (49-10)
• ACC (3): Georgia Tech (41-17), Louisville (43-15), North Carolina (42-17)
• Big 12 (3): Oklahoma State (35-18), Texas Tech (39-17), West Virginia (37-20)
• American Athletic (1): East Carolina (43-15)
The all-important RPI rankings as of Saturday night showed the Gauchos at No. 21, one spot behind Oregon State at No. 20. But UCSB was one ahead of Ole Miss, who came in at No. 22.
The remaining 14 hosts were in the top 16 of the RPI, with Tennessee and Texas A&M the only schools not receiving host bids.
LSU will be hosting for the 26th time, while Stanford has done it the second-most at 18. A look at how many times others have hosted:
• Mississippi State: 14
· Oklahoma State: 13
• Georgia Tech: 12
• North Carolina: 11
• Ole Miss: 9
• Arkansas, Louisville, Oregon State: 8
• Texas Tech, Vanderbilt, UCLA: 7
• Georgia: 6
• East Carolina: 5
West Virginia is hosting for the first time since the regional format was introduced in 1975.
The Gauchos are among 31 conference-champion schools who have already qualified for the 64-team, double-elimination tournament. Of those that are hosting, only UCLA, North Carolina, Oklahoma State and Vanderbilt are conference champions.
After UCSB lost two of three to Cal Poly this past weekend, school officials feared that it might take the Gauchos out of the host discussion.
But, here’s how other host teams fared in their conference tournaments:
• AAC: East Carolina was bounced in the quarterfinals, going 1-2, losing both games to Wichita State, which was 28-31 on the season.
• SEC: Arkansas lost in the quarterfinals of the SEC tournament, going 1-2 with losses to Georgia and Ole Miss.
• ACC: Despite being the top seed in the tournament, Louisville dropped its first two games and did not advance out of round-robin pool play.
UCSB will find out its destination at 9 a.m. today, with the live selection show on ESPNU.