The Florida Gators of the diamond will roll into the 2017 NCAA Tournament on the same road to Omaha they have been on for most of recent memory:
The one that doesn’t leave Gainesville.
Florida earned the No. 3 national seed in the 2017 NCAA Tournament, the eighth national seed in the past nine years for Kevin O’Sullivan’s Gators, and is in line to host both a Gainesville Regional this weekend and a Gainesville Super Regional next weekend.
That run of Selection Committee esteem is unprecedented in Florida history, and also unmatched in the nation in the last nine years — no team in the country has as many national seeds as Florida since 2009.
If Florida is going to convert that into a sixth College World Series under O’Sullivan, it will do so by prevailing over a regional stocked with Florida teams and the winner of the Winston-Salem Regional hosted by Wake Forest. Florida will be joined in Gainesville by No. 2 seed South Florida, No. 3 seed Bethune-Cookman, and No. 4 seed Marist.
But Florida will not have to play against either of the Sunshine State’s other two Big Three teams — teams it has dominated in postseason play, of course — on its projected path to Omaha.
The Tallahassee Regional hosted by Florida State is paired with the Lubbock Regional hosted by Texas Tech, meaning that the Gators cannot defeat the Seminoles with a College World Series berth on the line like they did in 2015 and 2016. And Miami’s storied streak of 44 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances is over, as the Hurricanes failed to make the field for the first time since 1972.