NCAA men's golf: Previewing the six regionals

NCAA men's golf: Previewing the six regionals

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NCAA men's golf: Previewing the six regionals

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Please fasten your seatbelts, we are ready for takeoff.

That might sum up the feeling for 81 teams as they prepare to tee it up Monday morning at six different sites with NCAA Division I men’s golf regional competition getting underway. | Complete field

My take on each site…

Myrtle Beach Regional

With no host team, TPC Myrtle Beach was a spot many teams were hoping to be assigned to. This is one of the deeper regionals, in my opinion, and it may go as deep as No. 11 Cal State Fullerton with hopes of advancing. With most of the field playing on a surface and in an environment they may not normally see, this will be an interesting site on who can adjust the quickest and gain some early confidence. This looks like a nine-for-three site with Wake Forest and California being penciled in. And we always use pencil, not ink, because there are no guarantees.

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Louisville Regional

Louisville was one destination most did not want to have to make travel plans for. With the best team in college golf the past two years predicted to be the No. 1 seed and host Louisville slated to be a seed within the top five, it would only intensify what was up for grabs. Host teams seeded within the top five advance to the NCAA finals almost nine out of 10 times – 88.7 percent to be exact. Joining the gathering at the University of Louisville Golf Club will be Auburn, the stroke-play champions by 16 shots at the SEC Championship. The Tigers will be hard to push out of the top five. Baylor is playing much better than a No. 5 seed and should hold serve in its spot. As for the rest of the field, it will be tough to crack the top five.

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Austin Regional

The host Texas Longhorns are perhaps the weakest of the No. 1 seeds, but playing at home at the University of Texas Golf Club nullifies that. Not only does the host teams always advance when they are a No. 1 seed, they usually win. But, overall this is one of the weaker regional locations and could open the door for a deeper seed to qualify for a trip to the national championship. How deep? No. 12 UMKC would be the ultimate of longshots, but Saint Mary’s (Calif.) and Sam Houston State could make a run. While a few underdogs will be doing their best to stay in contention, the middle seeds will need to be stingy with every shot.

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Athens Regional

Another site with a top-five seed being the host team as well, with Georgia snagging the No. 3 seed. If there is one regional that has the best chance of seeing all chalk advance, this is the site. Which team has the best chance to break up the top five at the University of Georgia Golf Course? That would probably be the No. 7 seed Campbell or No. 8 seed Kentucky. Tennessee, the 6th seed, has been a bit up-and-down this spring and its seeding is more of a reflection of the fall season compared to the spring. SMU is the one wild card here and with Noah Goodwin slated to be back in the lineup, the Mustangs could be much better than how they have played lately.

Stanford Regional

This looks more like the Stanford Invitational than the NCAA Stanford Regional, just saying. The home team and the title-chasing Arizona State Sun Devils are clearly the favorites to not only win but easily advance. After the two Pac-12 squads, this site it appears to be a heavyweight title fight that goes the distance. You would like to pencil in LSU, but we can’t forget what happened to the Tigers when they were shipped to the West Coast last year as No. 1 seed and finished sixth failing to advance to the finals. Kansas should feel comfortable. It was one year ago when the Jayhawks played its regional in the state of California and won the school’s first regional title. With most of the field being from the eastern side of the United States, that plays into the hands of one dark horse. UNCG could be a double-digit seed that makes the cut. Looking at the individual side of things, if Georgia Southern’s Steven Fisk wants to make a case for player-of-year, a win at Stanford will help that cause.

Pullman Regional

Like Myrtle Beach, the Pullman Regional does not have a host team. Which is a good thing for the 14 teams making the trip to Palouse Ridge Golf Club. However, that’s where it stops. This site is loaded with a few NCAA match-play title contenders in Oklahoma, Georgia Tech and South Carolina. All three are ranked in the top 10 of the Golfweek/Sagarin spring-only rankings. And the Yellow Jackets are the No. 2-ranked team in all of college golf in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings. Maybe we can tab Georgia Tech as the unofficial host. This year marks the fourth time in the past five years the Yellow Jackets have been sent to the West Coast for regional play. Overall, this regional is tough. Purdue and Kent State are the No. 10 and 11 seeds and have history of successful regional play. They join a trio of teams from the western parts in UCLA, BYU and Colorado State who should feel comfortable in Pullman.


   

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