Posted: 12:48 p.m. Monday, May 27, 2013
By Andy Hutchins
Florida's baseball team's chances of making the 2013 NCAA Tournament had dwindled to the slimmest they've been in the last six years under Kevin O'Sullivan entering Monday's selection announcement. But the Gators made it, earning the No. 3 seed in the Bloomington Regional making O'Sullivan the first Florida baseball coach to make six consecutive NCAA Tournaments — and they got a regional draw that might actually allow them to advance.
Florida will travel to that Bloomington Regional, hosted by Indiana, later this week, and open NCAA Tournament play on Friday at 1 p.m. against Austin Peay. Florida also lucked out by not getting one of the eight national seeds as its regional host — and Florida has seen Indiana, which took two of three games from the Gators in Gainesville in March, this year. Valparaiso is also in the Bloomington Regional, and will play Indiana at 7 p.m. on Friday.
The Hoosiers and Governors both have excellent records in 2013 (Indiana is 43-14 and won the Big Ten; Austin Peay is 45-13 and won the Ohio Valley), but are largely untested in the NCAA Tournament: Florida has as many College World Series appearances in the last three years as Indiana will have NCAA Tournament appearances as of Friday, and Austin Peay will have as many lifetime NCAA appearances as Florida has consecutive ones when the Governors play the Gators.
Because of that, and because Florida still has a ton of young talent, I think the Gators have a chance of winning this regional. It is a very small chance, to be fair, but it is still a much, much larger one than they would have had in most of the other regionals.
And if that does, in fact, come to pass? The Bloomington Regional is matched up with No. 7 national seed Florida State's Tallahassee Regional. And Florida hasn't lost in Tallahassee since 2011.