South Carolina athletic director and former baseball coach Ray Tanner admitted the NCAA Baseball Selection Committee dropped the ball when it came to the Clemson Regional.
Aaron Fitt of D1Baseball.com reported Tanner admitted as much on having Vanderbilt and St. John’s returning to Clemson for a second straight year. Vanderbilt, who won the Clemson Regional last year by beating the Tigers twice, returns to Clemson as the No. 2 seed once again. St. John’s, who Vandy beat in its first game of last year’s Clemson Regional, will again be the No. 3 seed.
Morehead State, who will play top-seed Clemson on Friday at 6 p.m., is the lone new participant in the Clemson Regional.
“I think in hindsight you say, would you make some adjustments, and you probably could…Maybe if somebody had noticed it immediately it would have been changed,” Fitt quoted Tanner as saying on Twitter.
Tanner is the Chairman of the Selection Committee this year and has already taken some heat from Clemson fans after the committee left the Tigers out as a national seed, while Florida State, who finished five games back of Clemson in the ACC’s Atlantic Division, and North Carolina, received national seeds.
The Tar Heels are the No. 6 overall seed, while FSU is the No. 7 seed. UNC of course tied Clemson for the ACC Regular Season Championship, while Florida State won its second straight ACC Championship this past weekend.
“There were a lot of conversations if you go back to No. 6 through and No. 11,” Tanner said on ESPNU on explaining why the committee placed UNC as a national seed and not Clemson. “We spent so much time trying to sort out from where we started at six and all the way to eleven.
“Clemson was very much in the conversation. The top 50 they were a little bit lite, but it was so close. It was razor thin throughout the process and we landed with Clemson being slightly outside of the first eight that went in.”
Clemson’s players and coaches were not too happy when the selections were announced Monday. In fact, they showed little to no emotions as they watched the show quietly. They only reacted when Tanner spoke about the committee’s reasoning for leaving the Tigers out as a national seed.
“I know the committee has a lot of tough decisions,” said Clemson head coach Monte Lee, who coached under way Tanner at South Carolina as a young assistant coach. “Again, this is like splitting hairs. A lot of the time when you look at those resumes and you are trying to figure out which resume is better than the other one … I’m not in the room. I don’t know exactly what the metrics are that they value, but I do know what I know about our club.
“The 45 wins were the most in the Power 5 schools and the 22 wins tied for the lead in the regular season in the ACC with North Carolina. So we have had a good year. Whether our resume was a little lit in some areas, that is up to them. All I know is the schedule that the ACC gave us, we played it and we won 22 of the 30 games so we did very, very well. I’m proud of our club.”
It is also did not help matters that the Tigers are paired up with the Tallahassee Regional and could play the Seminoles for a possible fifth, sixth and seventh time this season if the two ACC schools meet in the Super Regional round. Right now, the two teams have split their four meetings, including three one-run games.
“Again, I don’t really worry too much about that,” Lee said. “We cannot control the decisions that are made there. All we can control is what we do on the field. We had a great year. We had a great regular season. I thought we played well in the (ACC) Tournament. Obviously, we had a really tough loss to Florida State, who is a great club.”