By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
For the first time in 10 years and the first time under coach John Cohen, Mississippi State will host an NCAA regional.
MSU was announced as one of the 16 host sites Sunday night.
The No. 16-ranked Bulldogs will learn of the three teams coming to Starkville when the full 64-team field is announced today at 11 a.m. on ESPNU.
The Starkville Regional begins Friday with games at 2 and 7 p.m., with MSU playing in the later game versus the No. 4 seed.
Those will also be the game times Saturday and Sunday, and if necessary, another game would be played at 7 p.m. Monday.
NCAA regionals use a double elimination format.
“Having played in a regional tournament at Dudy Noble Field three times during my career at Mississippi State, I can attest to the electric atmosphere that our fans create,” said Cohen, who’s in his fifth year as coach.“I’m excited about our players having the opportunity to experience that great tournament atmosphere here.”
Last time MSU hosted a regional, it went 2-2 as North Carolina won the regional.
MSU has hosted a regional 11 times, winning five of them. State hosted a super regional in 2007, beating Clemson to advance to the College World Series.
The strong points on MSU’s resume this year include an RPI ranking of 10, a record of 21-15 against top-50 RPI teams, and a strong finish to the season. The Bulldogs have won seven of their last time games, including three wins over South Carolina (No. 12 RPI) and a 3-1 showing in the SEC Tournament.
Strength of schedule also helped. By the numbers, MSU played the toughest SEC schedule this season, with its 10 opponents owning an average RPI rank of 25.1 – all of those teams currently reside in the top 50.
Other regional hosts include league champion LSU, South Carolina and Vanderbilt.