IU baseball has hit a landmark achievement in their program history. The Hoosiers will be hosting their first ever regional in the NCAA tournament. This coincides perfectly with the brand new construction of Bart Kaufman Field. Although it does remain unfinished aesthetically, the new stadium is gorgeous none the less. This is a perfect opportunity for the baseball team, IU and the greater Bloomington area to show off for a national audience.
Indiana will play host to Austin Peay, Florida and Valparaiso in their respective regional. The Hoosiers have already shown their mettle against Florida earlier in the year by dispatching the Gators in 2 of 3 games on their home field. So there should be some confidence in that matchup. Indiana though, has not yet played Austin Peay who is the hottest team in the nation on a 15 game win streak.
First the Hoosiers have to dispatch the Horizon League champions Valparaiso in the double elimination tournament. I don't imagine they'll be too large of a threat. Most of the quality competition they have faced did not end well, including a mid-season whipping by the Sun Devils in 2 of 3 games. The Crusaders are beneficiaries of a hot run in the conference tournament. Outside of that victory they didn't have a chance of getting in.
I really think from everything I've read that this bracket comes down to Austin Peay and IU. The Gators will be a tough out but they're very young. This isn't your typical SEC team that is loaded with experienced draftable talent. Certainly their ability is high but the experience is very low.
Austin Peay brings in a gaudy record from the Horizon League and a 4-2 record over Big Ten teams (Iowa and Michigan State). Winning 15 straight games is no easy feat so you have to know the Governors mean business. A upperclassmen loaded roster suggests that the Governors won't be easily phased by heading on the road in the tournament and they'll come to play.
Overall you have to feel pretty good about IU's chances to get to the Tallahassee super regional. Once there, much like the MLB playoffs anything can happen if a pitcher or hitter gets hot. Hopefully the Hoosiers can take this ride in the NCAA tournament beyond this weekend and well into the month of June.
For ticketing information check out the Hoosiers ticket office. Indiana starts their playoff run against Valparaiso at 7 pm on Friday.