With college baseball bracing for its own mini-version of “March Madness” (maybe due to the gradual start of conference play?), we wanted to take a quick look at the top-12 combo schools for baseball and men’s basketball. The formula is pretty simple: schools currently in the top-50 of the CB360 Composite National Rankings and those included among the 68-team field of the 2012 NCAA men’s basketball championship (which released the full seeding, 1-68, this year for the first time). front-page photo courtesy of North Carolina
This top-12 baseball/basketball combo list includes four schools from the ACC (North Carolina, Florida State, Virginia and NC State), plus two each from the SEC (Florida & Kentucky) and the Big 12 (Baylor and Texas), along with one each from Big Ten (Purdue), CUSA (Southern Miss), Pac-12 (Cal) and BIG EAST (Louisville).
Here’s the top-12:
(1) North Carolina (#4 CB360 top-50 … #4 overall seed, NCAA men’s basketball)
(2) Florida State (#6 CB30 … #17 MBB)
(3) Florida (#1 CB360 … #28 MBB)
(4) Kentucky (#29 CB360 … #1 MBB)
(5) NC State (#23 CB360 … #32 MBB)
(6) Purdue (#21 CB360 … #37 MBB)
(7) Baylor (#38 CB360 … #9 MBB)
(8) Louisville (#26 CB360 … #42 MBB)
(9) Virginia (#42 CB360 … #39 MBB)
(10) Texas (#41 CB360 … #43 MBB)
(11) California (#24 CB360 … #45 MBB)
(12) Southern Mississippi (#49 CB360 … #35 MBB)
At least one college baseball player is competing in the 2012 NCAA men’s basketball championship, as Notre Dame freshman righthanded pitcher Pat Connaughton has been a starting swingman with the Irish men’s hoops team during the 2011-12 season (Baseball America rated Connaughton as the #15 incoming freshman pitcher this season in all of college baseball). The 6-foot-5, 205-pounder’s versatile contributions on the basketball court have included averaging 6.9 points and 4.5 rebounds per game for the Irish, while shooting 35% from 3-point range. Connaughton is set to join the ND baseball team immediately after the Irish basketball season is completed.
There’s another interesting connection involving both Vanderbilt and North Carolina. The Commodores baseball team has fallen out of the CB360 top-50, but the Vanderbilt men’s basketball team is surging into the NCAA men’s basketball championship, after knocking off top-ranked Kentucky in the SEC title game. Vanderbilt basketball coach Kevin Stallings – like UNC’s Roy Williams – attended the 2009 College World Series, cheering on his son Jacob Stallings (now a senior catcher for UNC).