Clemson Monday learned the three teams that will be coming to Doug Kingsmore Stadium while USC and defending national champion Coastal Carolina learned they will be home for June.
The Tigers will be the #1 seed for their regional which will include #2 seed Vanderbilt, #3 St. John’s and #4 UNC-Greensboro. The Tigers will open up against Greensboro Friday night at 7:00 PM on ESPN. Vanderbilt and St. John’s will play at Noon Friday on the SEC Network and ESPN3.
Clemson faltered down the stretch of the season and went 0-2 in last week’s ACC Tournament. The Tigers are 39-19. Vandy, coached by former Jack Leggett assistant and Presbyterian head coach Tim Corbin, is 33-22-1 and lost to USC last Tuesday in the play-in round of the SEC Tournament. St. John’s lost to Xavier in the Big East championship game and is 42-11. And Greensboro won the Southern Conference Tournament championship and is 35-22.
Clemson has the highest RPI in the regional at #12. Vanderbilt has an RPI of #25. St. John’s is at #36 and UNC Greensboro comes in at #128. The winner of the Clemson regional will play the winner from the Oregon State regional in the Super Regional. The Beavers are the top national seed.
USC, at #32 in the RPI, is the highest ranked team not in the tournament. The Gamecocks worked their way into the conversation with a 3-2 week at the SEC Tournament reaching the semi-finals. But eight straight SEC series losses and an overall losing SEC record worked against the Gamecocks who are out of the tournament for the second time in three seasons.
Coastal will not get the chance to defend its championship despite winning the Sun Belt regular season championship. The Chanticleers lost their only game in the Sun Belt Tournament, a tournament which had to adjust its schedule to single elimination only due to the weather. The chants won 37 games but only 2 against top 50 teams and their strength of schedule was 93rd.
Coastal becomes just the fourth defending champion not to make the tournament since the field was expanded to 64 teams in 1999.
The national top eight seeds are Oregon St. (49-4), North Carolina (47-12), Florida (42-16), LSU (43-17), Texas Tech (43-15), TCU (42-16), Louisville (47-10) and Stanford (40-14).