Commentary

Do national seeds matter?

Coaches make a big deal about getting a top-eight seed, but they don't seem to matter

Updated: May 13, 2011, 4:08 PM ET
By Ryan McGee | ESPN The Magazine
HultzenCourtesy Bruce NewmanDanny Hultzen and Virginia will probably be the No. 1 national seed, if you care about such things.

Welcome back to Three Hits & Bunt, where we have ESPNU's Tuesday night Nebraska-Creighton telecast on a constant "A Clockwork Orange" loop to try and remind ourselves that we're looking at the ballpark that will be hosting the College World Series in just five weeks.

Who will have the inside track to become one of the Omaha Eight? Funny you should ask ...

Single: Planting some (national) seeds

This time of year there are three kinds of college baseball coaches. The first group is already thinking about next year. The second group is desperately scrambling to make it into the field of 64.

But it's the third group that we hear most from, endlessly yapping not about upcoming games or their chances in the postseason, rather what their status will be when that postseason begins. More specifically, whether or not their school will have a big ole digit added to its name come June.

"Getting a national seed is a big deal," admits UNC head coach Mike Fox, not typically one for hyperbole. "It's a prestige thing, for sure. Only eight of the 64 schools get a national seed. But more importantly, it also pretty much guarantees that you're going to play all your NCAA games at home until you, hopefully, make it to Omaha. That's a huge advantage."

One would certainly think so. But when I ran the numbers this week against a pile of stats given to me by my man Jeremy Mills at last year's College World Series, it might not be the sure-fire boost to a national title shot that most fans, and even coaches, might think.


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Ryan McGee | email

ESPN The Magazine, NASCAR