The College Baseball Super Regionals are set and despite a lot of drama on the surface, there were very few surprises. All of the nation’s top 8 seeds advanced, giving the selection committee a break in determining host sites.

Here is the bracket as is: (Note the first team listed is the host and is playing home in each Super Regional)

No. 1 Miami (50-8 ) vs. Arizona (41-17)

No. 8 Georgia (39-22-1) vs. North Carolina State (41-20)

No. 4 Florida State (52-11) vs. Wichita State (47-15)

No. 5 Cal State Fullerton (41-20) vs. Stanford (37-22-2)

No. 3 Arizona State (48-11) vs. Fresno State (40-28 )

No. 6 Rice (45-13) vs. Texas A&M (46-17)

No. 2 North Carolina (49-12) vs. Coastal Carolina (50-12)

No. 7 LSU (46-16-1) vs. UC Irvine (41-16)

Eyeballing the matchups, I think the road teams with the best chances of stealing upsets in order are:

1. Texas A&M

2. UC Irvine

3. Coastal Carolina

I will make my official picks later in the week.

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The Pistons fired three-year coach Flip Saunders yesterday, following the team’s third straight season losing in the Eastern Conference Finals. Saunders went 176-70 in his three years in Mo-Town, but never was secure on the bench with Pistons General Manager and one of the NBA’s best executives Joe Dumars breathing down his neck.

“I think this team became way too content and did not show up with a sense of urgency to get it done,” Dumars said at a news conference. “I can’t sugarcoat it. It is what it is.”

The Pistons are now kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place. The better part of their roster is getting up in age and they face a dilemma. They can either continue to try to win the championship with what they have and risk becoming too old ala the 2007-08 Miami Heat, or they can move 2-3 of their pieces and risk losing their chemistry.

My guess is they do the latter. I think Dumars will move either Rasheed Wallace or Antonio McDyess in favor of Jason Maxiell. But either way, the energized Pistons’ general manager said Tuesday that something will be done.

“I have no interest in completely ripping the team down,” Dumars said. “Will I look to making significant changes? Yeah, you’re damn right I will.”

Assistant coach Michael Curry is expected to be named the Pistons head coach with a formal announcement expected later this week.

MLB Tidbits:

There is too much in professional baseball to break down every team everyday, but so far, these are a few things that have caught my attention this week as I scroll up and down the major leagues.

World Series Busts

– Preseason world series hopefuls, the Rockies, Tigers and Mariners are a combined 65-108 this season and neither appear close to turning things around any time soon. The Rockies were a bit of an aberration this past year, getting a once in a lifetime winning streak at the most opportune time and the Mariners were the “sexy pick”, because they finished hot last season and made off season moves that appeared to improve their roster. But the biggest surprise to me is the Tigers. With an 88-win club in 2007, the Tigers snagged Edgar Renteria, Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis. Cabrera and Renteria were both sub .300 hitters this past year in the NL East, but both have been sunk in a .270s rut this season. And Willis has battled injury all season and is currently in a battle to crack the starting rotation. We can revisit this in August, but all three of these teams are close to drawing dead.

Road Warriors

The Braves are an amazing 23-7 in the friendly confines of Turner Field, but are just a whopping 7-21 on the road, losing the majority of those contests by one run. But help may possibly be on the way with John Smoltz and Rafael Soriano having already returned and with lefty Mike Gonzales on the mend, giving the Braves the best 1, 2, 3 bullpen punch in all of baseball.

Ortiz Out

Big Papi will miss a month with a wrist injury. The Red Sox all-star slugger is hitting .252 with 13 home runs and 43 RBI on the season. While I think the Red Sox are baseball’s deepest offensive team, I think they may still be in trouble with Ortiz out. This past season, the Sox had the American League’s No. 1 ERA. But this year, they have sunk to the middle of the league and without Curt Schilling, a dominant Josh Beckett and Dice-K, I think the Sox need a dominant offense now more than ever.

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It’s time for the last part of our finals preview. Today, we will talk about the big-guys — the centers.

Lakers:

Pau Gasol:

18.9 pts, 8.4 rebs and 3.2 assists per game

Celtics: Kendrick Perkins:

6.9 pts, 6.1 rebs and 1.1 assists per game

Perkins was fabulous for the Celtics in their last series against the Pistons, but Gasol has been fabulous all season for the Lakers and is the glue behind the team’s run at the finals. It will go down in NBA history as one of the most bone-headed trades of all-time on the part of the Grizzlies to give up such a gifted player for Kwame Brown, bench players and a slew of first round picks.

For the Celtics to have any chance at all in this series, Perkins must be able to contain Gasol on his own. If the Celtics have to switch Garnett over on Gasol, then Lamar Odom will present huge mismatch problems for the Celtics and can tilt the series in the Lakers’ favor.

On the same foot, Gasol must play foul-free basketball on the energetic Perkins and must keep him off the offensive glass, where he crippled the Pistons.

Perkins is an up-and-coming center in an NBA where true centers are an endangered species, but this matchup is still an easy one to call.

Advantage: Lakers

That’s all for me today, my friends. Tomorrow, I will give keys to victory for LSU in their Super Regional, give my Finals predictions as well as some other stuff. But for now, tell me what you think: Earlier, I listed the 3 road teams I think are most likely to upset their opponents this weekend in college baseball. What do you think?

Happy hump-day and God Bless.

-Casey

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