Lance Ringler’s Men’s NCAA primer


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Ringler’s Fab 5

1.) Washington: There is no way for me to go against the Huskies at this point. Matt Thurmond’s squad has won three times this spring, including consecutive titles at the Pac-10 Championship and NCAA West Regional. Washington has not finished worse than third this spring.

2.) Oklahoma State: This team has been one of the nation’s best, if not the best, all season. But that also was the case entering the NCAA finals last year, where OSU was stunned in match play. The Cowboys will arrive at The Honors Course with one goal: Victory.

3.) Texas A&M: With the confidence from last year’s title and the momentum of a strong finish this season, the Aggies will be a tough team to beat.

4.) Stanford: The Cardinal have placed in the top 4 in eight of 10 events this year. There might not be a more talented team from top to bottom. The Cardinal will be a tough out if they reach match play.

5.) Oregon: If winning truly breeds confidence, then consider the Ducks one of the top teams headed to Tennessee. Oregon has won three of its past four events – including a 10-shot victory at the NCAA Southwest Regional.

• • •

Number crunching

26.7: The percentage of the 30-team field that is from the Pac-10 Conference.

17.3: The average ranking of Oklahoma State’s top three players, best in the NCAA field. It takes three points to win a match in the event’s match-play portion.

• • •

Overachievers

1.) North Florida: Last year, the Ospreys did not even receive a regional bid. North Florida finished the season below .500 and ranked No. 77 in the final Golfweek rankings. Fast forward one year, and this team could contend for a spot in match play.

2.) Penn State: The Nittany Lions did it in 2004 at Yale, and now they’ve done it again – reached the NCAA Championship. Greg Nye’s 11th-seeded bunch will be the Cinderella story in Chattanooga.

3.) San Diego: One of the last teams to get into regional play a year ago, the Toreros moved on to the finals and were just eight shots from the match play portion of the championship. This year, the Toreros back that up with the program’s best season and a return trip to the finals. Is this small private school from the West Coast Conference overachieving? Or is Tim Mickelson’s bunch that good?

• • •

Underachievers

1.) Arizona State: Maybe it’s me, but this group has a load of talent, right? It seems the Sun Devils can’t get the bottom of the lineup to show up each week. If they do at the NCAA finals, look out.

2.) Duke: It took a Central Regional-best performance in the final round for the Blue Devils to advance. Head coach Jamie Green, in just his first full season guiding Duke, has led his squad to the finals in consecutive seasons. The timetable may be on the correct path, but expectations are high.

3.) LSU: At times the Tigers have showcased just how good they can be, which leads many to wonder why they are not in contention more often. LSU has three wins but has placed sixth or worse five times.

• • •

The NCAA Championship field, in order of Golfweek/Sagarin College Ranking:

  • 1. Oklahoma State
  • 2. Texas A&M
  • 3. Washington
  • 4. Stanford
  • 5. Augusta State
  • 6. Florida
  • 7. Texas
  • 8. UCLA
  • 9. Oregon
  • 10. USC
  • 11. Texas Tech
  • 12. Illinois
  • 14. Clemson
  • 15. UNLV
  • 16. Arizona State
  • 17. Georgia Tech
  • 19. Florida State
  • 20. TCU
  • 21. North Florida
  • 22. Virginia
  • 23. Duke
  • 24. Oregon State
  • 26. Tennessee
  • 27. California
  • 29. LSU
  • 31. San Diego
  • 41. Kent State
  • 49. Baylor
  • 56. Georgia Southern
  • 60. Penn State
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