So here's how we'll handle at least the first two rounds of the baseball tourney: C&F will put up capsules giving you a brief look at each of the teams, then go with specific breakdowns of the foe for a particular day on that morning. Which means check back on Friday to see more about the Charlotte 49ers. RPIs, per usual, are from the NCAA.
(1) N.C. State, 38-20 (RPI: 12). The Wolfpack season hit a high point after a 4-2 win over, well, High Point. N.C. State was ranked No. 17 after the 4-2 victory on May 4 but slid all the way out of the Top 25 after a 1-2 showing at the ACC tournament. The Wolfpack have not a single player with double-digit numbers in the home run department. That's not a problem when your pitching staff has a 3.41 ERA and holds opponents to a .239 batting average.
(3) Charlotte, 43-14 (RPI: 50). The Gamecocks' first opponent started out winning 11 of its first 12 and never really looked back. The 49ers lost just two series during the year -- vs. Xavier and vs. Duquesne. They swept through the Atlantic 10 tournament in three games, outscoring opponents 28-11, the closest game being a 4-3 win in 11 innings over Xavier in the championship. The Niners played South Carolina at the Sarge on March 5, winning 11-2. But the Gamecocks beat Charlotte twice in the regionals last year and are 22-7 against the 49ers all time. More on Charlotte tomorrow.
(4) James Madison, 38-17 (RPI: 60). The Dukes lost six of their last 10, backing into the Colonial Athletic Association tournament. But James Madison ran off four straight wins to take the crown, outscoring opponents 39-20 along the way. (And most of those runs for opponents came in an 18-14 slugfest against George Mason.) If N.C. State is built on pitching, James Madison is focused on offense. The team hit .322, smacked 71 home runs and had a .929 OPS. On the other hand, they have three pitchers with an ERA of less than 5.00.