May 23, 2007

Your Guide to the Big XII Baseball Tournament

Big XII Player of the Year Kyle Russell, Big XII Pitcher of the Year Adrian Alaniz, and co-Big XII Coach of the Year Augie Garrido lead the Longhorns into the conference tournament starting today (Wednesday, May 23) as the number 1 seed. Texas takes on 8-seed K-State at 1 PM CDT. And friends, you can watch the entire tournament for free at the Big 12 website. But we figured that, since the tourney is such an odd bird, we should inform you as to what exactly is going on before you tune in.

Most postseason college baseball tournaments--e.g., many conference tourneys, NCAA sub-regionals, and the College World Series--are formatted as four-team, double-elimination affairs. In the case of conference tournaments and the CWS, there are 2 of these brackets and the winners play one another for the title in either a single championship game (conferences) or 3-game set (World Series). But the Big XII has just got to be different.

Our conference uses a "pool play" round-robin format instead. So, unlike in a double-elimination setup, we already know who will play whom and when. The official explanation for this system is that it guarantees that each team will play a minimum of three games. That's true, and it's legitimate because it means that fans of any of the eight schools involved will get to see their boys three times no matter what. However, the more important effect of this format is that it guarantees that any given squad plays a maximum of four games. That means that there's no dropping into the losers' bracket and desperately using up all your pitching the week before the NCAA Tournament begins. From a Longhorn perspective, that's a very good thing. Texas' schedule is as follows:

  • Wednesday, 1 PM: vs. 8-seed Kansas State.

  • Thursday, 4:30 PM: vs. 5-seed texas a and m

  • Saturday, 1 PM: vs. 4-seed Nebraska

  • Sunday, 1 PM (hopefully): Championship Game vs. other bracket winner (2. Missouri, 3. OK State, 6. Baylor, 7. oklahoma)

For a more complete explanation of the tournament, its format, and its free video (!), visit the Big 12 Baseball Championship Homepage.

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