The NCAA has selected Hattiesburg over Knoxville. Southern Miss will play host to Tennessee this weekend for a best-of-three series. The winner will advance to the College World Series in Omaha.
Neither Tennessee or Southern Miss landed a national top 16 seed, which meant the NCAA had to decide who would host.
“Since there is no true seeding of two-seeds, it would largely just be looking at the merits of the two bids (venue, hotels, guarantees, etc.),” the NCAA said in a statement. “But it would be fully a committee decision.”
That criteria led them to select Hattiesburg over Knoxville.
Are we surprised? You probably shouldn’t be. Tennessee has been the villain of the college baseball world for a few years now. The resumes aren’t all that close, even if that’s not what the NCAA used to make their decision. Tennessee’s RPI of 12th beats Southern Miss, who checks in at 18th. Tennessee wins in the strength of schedule category too, ranking 19th while the Golden Eagles come in at 44th.
Anyways, this will be Tennessee’s third straight Super Regional appearance. Tennessee swept LSU in 2021 to advance, but lost in 2022 to Notre Dame. They’ll have to go on the road this year, which has been an area of weakness all season long.
Southern Miss dropped their opener in the Auburn Regional, but rebounded to eliminate Auburn on Saturday. They moved on to eliminate Samford on Sunday, then forced a Monday matchup with Penn on Sunday night. The Golden Eagles beat Penn 11-7 on Monday afternoon to advance.
Southern Miss brings a 45-18 overall record into the supers. Tennessee, now one of the hotter teams left in the tournament, has won 18 of their last 23 games.
Game one comes on Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. ET on ESPNU. Game two will be Sunday, and game three on Monday (if needed).
2023 NCAA Baseball Tournament: Super Regional Matchups
No. 1 Wake Forest vs. No. 16 Alabama
No. 8 Stanford vs. Texas
No. 5 LSU vs. No. 12 Kentucky
Tennessee vs. Southern Miss
No. 2 Florida vs. No. 15 South Carolina
No. 7 Virginia vs. Duke
Oregon vs. Oral Roberts
TCU vs. No. 14 Indiana State