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NCAA Baseball Tournament 2013: Bloomington Regional Preview -- The Teams Florida Will Face

One of the last SEC teams to make the field heads north to Indiana to take on the B1G Champion, a team from the Ohio Valley Conference and the very definition of an automatic qualifier


Looking at the NCAA baseball tournament regionals that involve SEC teams

Winner faces winner of the Tallahassee Regional

(1) Indiana
RPI: 12*
Record: 43-14, 15-6 B1G

The Hoosiers powered their way to the B1G Championship this year, both in the regular season and at the conference's sparsely-attended tournament. Four players with more than 100 at-bats put up an on-base percentage of .400 or above, and Indiana as a team had an .833 OPS. Kyle Schwarber slugged 16 home runs, while Justin Cureton swiped 21 bases on 28 attempts. Meanwhile, seven Indiana pitchers with double-digit appearances held their ERA under 3.00, the main reason the team has a 2.57 ERA on the season. Also good to know since Indiana is hosting: the team is 16-3 at home this season. The Hoosiers took two of three early in the season at Florida, though SEC fans will note that they also dropped a game at Kentucky when the Wildcats were in the middle of their late-season implosion.

(2) Austin Peay
RPI: 26
Record: 45-13, 22-7 OVC

I always root for the Governors, because they have the slogan / cheer "Let's Go Peay," and I love the idea of large groups of people yelling about urinating. In any case, Austin Peay ranked first in the Ohio Valley Conference in on-base percentage and second in slugging and ERA -- a big reason why the Governors were second in the conference at the end of the year. They also won the conference tournament. Austin Peay had a degree of success against B1G teams, beating both Iowa and Michigan State in regular-season series. The Governors weren't as lucky against the SEC, dropping games to both Mississippi State and Kentucky. All but two of the Governors' regular starters have an on-base percentage of better than .400. Craig Massoni leads the way with 16 homers and a gaudy .683 slugging percentage, topping Jordan Hankins' 11 long balls and .548 slugging percentage. Cody Hudson has stolen 30 bases and been caught just eight times. The rotation is led by Lee Ridenhour, who has a 2.22 ERA, while Tyler Rogers has 21 saves and a 1.83 ERA in 44.1 innings. Casey Delgado has 100 strikeouts.

(3) Florida
RPI: 36
Record: 29-28, 14-16 SEC

The Gators don't need much introduction to SEC fans. A brutal schedule and an inexperienced team made Florida lucky to be above .500 at the end of the season, but the degree of difficulty also gave them the RPI that put them in the tournament. There's not a ton of power in the lineup -- no player has more than five home runs on the season and the team has a .357 slugging percentage. The pitching staff has done slightly better this season, with the star arguably being Johnny Magliozzi with a team-leading 2.49 ERA and 12 saves, though his season ended on a sour note in the SEC tournament. The one hopeful spot from Florida's season is that a young team might be battle-tested after facing a difficult schedule, but the team's late-season slump would suggest otherwise.

(4) Valparaiso
RPI: 174
Record: 31-26, 13-11 Horizon

Can you say "automatic qualifier"? I knew you could. The Crusaders swept through the Horizon League championship to lock up a spot despite a terrible RPI and mediocre record. They started out 3-9 before making their way around .500, which is pretty much where they would stay for the rest of the season. And the 5-17 record on the road also suggests that Valparaiso might not be in the tournament for long. Just two Crusaders with at least 100 at-bats have an on-base percentage of .400 or above, the entire team has eight home runs on the season, and the lowest opponents' batting average for one of their regular starters is .285 -- which isn't terrible, but also isn't the best number in the BBCOR era.

* Based on Boyd's World pseudo-RPIs because the NCAA hasn't as of this writing shown the competence necessary to have the most recent RPIs posted on their website