Brackets set for U of H and Rice to Begin Journey to College World Series


The University of Houston Cougars and the Rice Owls gathered around the televisions Monday to watch as the brackets for the road to the College World Sereies were released during the NCAA selection show. The Coogs were anxious to find out where they would be traveling, while the Owls already knew that they would be hosting, but were awaiting to see who they would be matched up with in their regional bracket. The brackets are out, and both teams know who will stand in their way on the first weekend on the Road to Omaha.

Rice, who got word Sunday night that they would be hosting a regional at Reckling Park, will have a Texas feel to their bracket as a couple of familiar, in-state foes come to town. The top seeded C-USA champion Owls (41-18), will kick things off Friday night at 7:00 against fourth seeded George Mason University (34-20). The other side of their bracket will feature a renewal of what was the biggest rivalry in the state of Texas, as the second seeded Texas Longhorns (38-18), face off against the three seed Texas A&M Aggies (33-24) at 3:00 Friday afternoon.

The former Big XII foes, who saw their annual series come to an end once the Aggies departed the Big XII for the SEC, will rekindle their still prevalent dislike for one another. No matter what the results are in Friday’s action, Rice will be playing one of their Lone Star buddies on Saturday. Should the Owls win, they would face the winner of UT and A&M. If George Mason pulls the upset, the Owls would play the Horns-Aggies loser in an elimination game.

Jun 8, 2013; Raleigh, NC, USA; Rice Owls head coach Wayne Graham argues with a referee in the game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack during the Raleigh super regional of the 2013 NCAA baseball tournament at Doak Field. North Carolina State defeated Rice 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Rice was 1-2 vs the Longhorns this season, losing both games in Houston. Texas beat the Owls 2-0 in the Houston College Classic at Minute Maid Park in February, and again 5-2 at Reckling Park in April. Rice was victorious a week later in their most recent matchup, a 7-2 road win in Austin. The Owls dropped a close 6-5 home game in their lone matchup with A&M in April.

While the Owls will enjoy home-field advantage this weekend, the Cougars will travel to one of the toughest locales in the country, Alex Box Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Houston’s reward for winning the AAC tournament this past weekend  is a number two seed in the regional hosted by annual national powerhouse and the top seeded LSU Tigers. The Cougars (44-15), will open up Friday night at 7:00 against the number three seed Bryant (42-14), of the Northeast Conference.

Many may not be familiar with the Bulldogs, who will be making their second consecutive NCAA tournament appearance. Located in Smithville, Rhode Island, Bryant won the Northeast Conference Tournament for the second year in a row. This will be the first foray into the postseason for U of H since 2008. A win would setup a likely matchup with the Bayou Bengals of LSU on Saturday. The Tigers (44-14-1) kick off the regional Friday at 2:00 against fourth seed Southeastern Louisiana (37-23).

Should the Cougars have to face the Tigers at any point this weekend, they will be faced with a definite hostile environment. LSU was the national leader in attendance this season, drawing an average of 10,812 fans. That is apart of the challenge that the Coogs will face this weekend, but they have played well on the road all season so they should be well equiped to handle it. The Baton Rouge Regional is paired with the Houston Regional in the bracket, which sets up a possible super regional matchup between Rice and UH in Houston for a trip to the College World Series if both teams survive and advance this weekend.

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