NCAA men's D-I regional previews
Turning my head for a few minutes away from the action at the NCAA Women's Championship to ponder what might take place this weekend in the six NCAA men's regionals being contested across the country.
__The Course at Yale, New Haven, Conn.
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Shouldn't have a problem: UCLA
On the good side of the bubble: South Carolina, Alabama, East Tennessee State
On the bad side of the bubble: Virginia, Kent State, Charlotte
Will play respectably: Southeastern Louisiana, Vanderbilt, Penn State, UNC Wilmington
Just happy to be there: Columbia, Lafayette
Most likely player to advance as an individual: Corey Nagy, Charlotte
Texas has showed signs of being a dangerous team this spring and I think things will come together this weekend. The only reason I give them an edge of UCLA is because of the distance the Bruins have to travel. That doesn't mean, though, Derek Freeman's squad isn't going to be ready to play. South Carolina will find some inspiration from the school's women's team taking the East Regional title two weeks ago and advance to nationals. I think Bud Cauley has a little something to prove, which means only good things for Alabama. East Tennessee State being the fifth team out of the regional is only a hunch, but I think Fred Warren can get his guys focused in big moments.
__Capital City Club, Alpharetta, Ga.
Winner:__ Georgia Tech
Shouldn't have a problem: Oklahoma State, Arizona State
On the good side of the bubble: Clemson, Arkansas
On the bad side of the bubble: Wake Forest, Mississippi, Furman
Will play respectably: BYU, Coastal Carolina, Georgia Southern
Just happy to be there: South Alabama, Towson
Most likely player to advance as an individual: Jonathan Randolph, Mississippi
Georgia Tech's home course advantage allows them to slip past Oklahoma State and take the team title. That said, the Cowboys aren't a team to sleep on, obviously. It's been a while since Arizona State was in peak form, but I think the Sun Devils find a way to get the job done. Despite the fact that the TIgers have failed to get out of regionals two times in the past three years, Clemson gets the job done. NCAA runner-up Arkansas is a bit of a flier here, only because they haven't made a whole lot of noise in 2009-10. Still they're a gritty type of team that seems to rise to the challenge.
__The Warren GC, Notre Dame, Ind.
Shouldn't have a problem:__ Florida, Florida State
On the good side of the bubble: Duke, N.C. State
On the bad side of the bubble: LSU, Iowa, Michigan, Northwestern
Will play respectably: Indiana, Virginia Tech__
Just happy to be there:__ Murray State, Detroit Mercy, St. Francis (Pa.)__
Most likely player to advance as an individual:__ John Petersen, LSU
I've been high on Stanford all season so why stop now. The Cardinal typically play well at tough courses. Florida's talent gets the job done, even if it's not always pretty. Florida State takes the next step in its rise to national contender. Duke isn't a flashy team, but the Blue Devils know how to get the job done. Matt Hill went it alone a year ago at Inverness, but this time around he brings his N.C. State teammates with him.
__South Central Regional
__Traditions Club, Bryan, Texas
Winner: Texas A&M
Shouldn't have a problem: Georgia
On the good side of the bubble: Texas Tech, TCU, Pepperdine
On the bad side of the bubble: North Florida, Auburn, Baylor
Will play respectably: North Carolina, Tulsa, Rice, Wichita State
Just happy to be there: Georgetown, Jackson State
Most likely player to advance as an individual: Dustin Garza, Wichita State
There is no bigger lock for a team to advance to nationals than Texas A&M, which is only fair when you're talking about the defending NCAA champs. Georgia had me eating crow after its SEC championship, so I'm not betting against the Bulldogs. Texas Tech does a great job almost year of falling under the radar and then stepping up come the postseason. TCU also will enjoy getting to play at a regional not too far from home. Pepperdine is a flier, but the Waves are frequent overachievers.
__Carlton Oaks CC, Santee, Calif.
Winner: Augusta State
Shouldn't have a problem: Oregon
On the good side of the bubble: San Diego State, California, Arizona
On the bad side of the bubble: UNLV, Tennessee, Chattanooga__
Will play respectably:__ UCF, UC Irvine, Missouri
Just happy to be there: New Mexico State, Oral Roberts
Most likely player to advance as an individual: Brett Kanda, UNLV
All five starters can win tournaments at Augusta State, which makes them a dangerous bunch even if they're flying cross country. Oregon has made believers of pretty much everyone, with Casey Martin a good bet to win national coach of the year. San Diego State benefits from playing close to home and California finds the mojo it showed at the Arizona Intercollegiate in February. Arizona has only had four top-fives all season, so predicting it will happen this week is a bit of a long shot, but Wildcat golf has been having a pretty good run on the women's side so why not the men?
__Gold Mountain GC (Olympic Course), Bremerton, Wash.
Shouldn't have a problem:__ USC, Illinois
On the good side of the bubble: San Diego, Colorado State
On the bad side of the bubble: Oregon State, SMU, New Mexico
Will play respectably: Middle Tennessee State, Fresno State
Just happy to be there: Eastern Michigan, VCU, Loyola (Md.)
Most likely player to advance as an individual: Diego Velasquez, Oregon State
Washington is a serious threat to win the NCAA title and sometimes serious threats to win the title stumble at regionals. Not the Huskies. USC hasn't won a tournament this season and is a young bunch, but also one that shouldn't be underestimated. Mike Small's ability to get his team motivated allows Illinois to enjoy its stay in the Pacific Northwest. San Diego's trip to nationals a year ago made this group hungry to return. No one expects much from Colorado State, which might serve as the best motivation the Rams could ever conjure up.