For a preview of this weekend's NCAA baseball regional action, we welcome back Brian Foley, editor of The College Baseball Blog for Five Good Minutes.
BCI: First, put Boston College's accomplishment of receiving an NCAA tournament berth for the first time in 42 years in perspective. Just how important is experience in the National tournament for the Eagles baseball program?
TCBB: It is more important to the future of the program to get into the NCAA Tournament. The potential student-athletes in the Northeast don't look at the Boston College program being elite with several kids heading down to southern programs and becoming excellent players.
BCI: Selection Monday wasn't without its fair share of controversy. Two somewhat controversial selection committee decisions were the omission of Duke from the field of 64 and the ACC baseball tournament champs Virginia not being selected as a regional host. Did the selection committee get it right in the ACC? Tell us why these were the correct selections.
TCBB: The reason why Duke was left out was due to their pathetic RPI of 75. Boston College, on the other hand, had an RPI of 30, but won two less games in the conference than Duke did. The biggest issue is Duke's non-conference schedule. Their schedule this year was an absolute joke and has been for a few years. This Duke team was good enough to be in the NCAA tournament but with pathetic non-conference scheduling, it hurt the team in the long run.
Virginia as the #2 in the Irvine regional isn't the issue. The problem is that East Carolina got a number 1 seed which is preposterous. UVA is a better team than ECU and the Pirates will likely not get out of the NCAA Regionals.
BCI: For the Eagles, is this season more of a "one and done" kind of season, or can we expect BC to build on this season and have more successful seasons to come?
TCBB: BC has a solid base for next season and if they continue to recruit well, that base is just going to get better and better. Pat Dean should be the number 1 starting pitcher next season and John Leonard has started pitching much better over the last two weeks which is encouraging. Mike Dennhardt should be in the rotation next year also.
The biggest issue the Eagles will face over the next few years will be the loss of Tony Sanchez defensively, but the Eagles should be able to get a serviceable catcher to come into the program and play.
BCI: How do other ACC programs view BC's success this season, particularly in the ACC baseball championship? Do you think they see BC's success as a bit of an aberration? Or given BC's success against Georgia Tech and Miami (FL) in the ACC tournament, did the Eagles serve notice to the rest of the league that they can be competitive in the ACC?
TCBB: Miami (Fla)'s head coach Jim Morris stated before the season that Boston College was a team to watch and it came true. The victories in the ACC Tournament are nice and all, but you need to make some noise in the NCAA Tournament now as this is the time of year when push comes to shove.
BCI: There is certainly no love lost between Boston College and the Big East. So we had to chuckle a little when the ACC fielded a record-tying seven teams while the Big East only received one tournament berth (Louisville). How much of a factor was the switch in conference affiliation in terms of snapping our 42 year NCAA tournament drought? In other words, would BC have been able to get to this point if they were still a member of the Big East?
TCBB: The biggest difference between BC in the Big East and BC now is that the program is fully funded. Yes, the ACC is a much better conference but there are some years that the Big East gets 3 or 4 teams into the NCAAs. Plus the Big East team in Louisville is actually hosting a regional this year.
BCI: We don't know much about our opponents in the Austin regional. Give us a brief scouting report on Texas, Texas State and Army.
TCBB: I will have a complete Regional preview of every team in the country on my site in the coming days. Texas has a great pitching staff while Texas State has a solid hitting squad. Army was the best overall program in the Patriot League. However, the Black Knights really don't have any stars on the squad that could play at any of the other tournament-bound schools right now.
BCI: Should BC simply "be happy to be here?" Or given their success in the ACC Tournament, can Eagles fans expect BC to make a run at winning this opening regional and advancing to the super regionals?
TCBB: BC could win the regional. They just need some outstanding pitching and timely hitting. BC can play with any team in the country but they can also lose to anyone. See: the Holy Cross game this season.
BCI: Prediction time. First, the Austin regional. Here at BC Interruption we like to play a game called over/under. So over/under - 1.5 wins for the Eagles in the Austin regional?
TCBB: I will take the over. I say the Eagles beat Texas State twice and lose twice to Texas. I think it will be a disappointment if Boston College doesn't play for the Regional Title.
BCI: Which of New England's two NCAA tournament representatives will make more noise in the NCAAs? Boston College or Dartmouth?
TCBB: Dartmouth is 0 and 2 and barbecue. BC should at least win a game.
BCI: Who advances out of the Austin regional?
BCI: Last one, who ya got winning it all? Last time we had you on the blog back in March, you correctly picked Japan to win it all in the World Baseball Classic. So here's your opportunity to gloat a bit and double down on a correct championship prediction.
TCBB: North Carolina has an easy road to Omaha but they will lose to LSU in the College World Series championship series.
BCI: Thanks again for joining us Brian.
For all your college baseball needs and coverage of this weekend's NCAA regionals, go check out The College Baseball Blog.