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Regional Rooting Interests: May 23

Same deal as last week, every day we’re going to tell you who you should be rooting for if you want WVU to have a better shot at hosting a NCAA Regional

John Lowe (@JohnEverett24)

Just like last week, the WVU baseball team seems to be on the fringes of hosting NCAA Tournament games for the first time since 1955.

So every day through Memorial Day (or at least as long as it makes sense), we’ll go through every game Mountaineer fans should be keeping an eye on for NCAA Regional hosting implications.

#19 WVU (35-18) vs. #10 Texas Tech (37-15)

Approx. 6:30 p.m. ET on Fox College Sports Central

The Mountaineers gave their fans quite a scare yesterday when Kansas scored six unanswered runs in the fourth and fifth innings. WVU still escaped with a 12-8 win thanks to Brandon White doing just about everything asked from him and some strong late pitching by Dillon Meadows.

Alek Manoah is scheduled to get the start against the Red Raiders, who survived a scare of their own in the ninth inning against Kansas State. Manoah dealt a complete game 2-0 shutout win against Texas Tech in Morgantown on April 12, striking out 15.

Caleb Kilian will start on the mound for Tech. He had a complete game of his own in the Red Raiders’ 3-0 win over WVU later in that series on April 14.

The winner of this game will take Friday off and will play the remaining one-loss team in “bracket one” on Saturday at 10 a.m.

Kansas State (25-32) vs. Kansas (31-25)

10 a.m. ET on Fox College Sports Central

This game really only holds implications for WVU because it determines who they could play next if they lose to the Red Raiders.

It’s tough to pick against the Jayhawks, considering they swept K-State pretty handily last weekend, along with the fact that they created some fireworks in yesterday’s loss to the Mountaineers.

#22 Ole Miss (34-24) vs. #13 Texas A&M (37-20)

10:30 a.m. ET on SEC Network

The loser of this game might have to sweat it out on the hosting bubble.

In the SEC’s first elimination game since the field narrowed down to eight, both teams are hoping to secure home field advantage through the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament.

The obvious pull here is for the Rebels, but it’s likely that Texas A&M has a regional hosting gig locked up after their series win over Arkansas last weekend and having a forgivable loss to Georgia yesterday.

#17 Miami (38-17) vs. Virginia (32-23)

3 p.m. ET on ACC Network Extra

Like WVU, Miami finds themselves on the hosting edge.

In their first game of ACC Tournament pool play, the Hurricanes face an RPI top 50 Virginia squad, so it’s not too likely that a loss would kill their hosting chance unless teams like WVU, Illinois, Creighton and Dallas Baptist start making a lot of noise.

Cal Poly (26-27) at #14 UC Santa Barbara (44-7)

6 p.m. ET on BigWest.TV

It doesn’t quite seem like anything will stop the Gaucho train in the Big West as they stand as the last regional host according to D1Baseball.

Last weekend, UCSB flirted with disaster in the series finale against Hawai’i but flew home with the sweep. If you’re a WVU fan, you just want one Cal Poly win in this series and one extra innings game. Nothing to derail how much this team has accomplished, but just enough to give the NCAA selection committee some doubts.

#15 NC State (41-15) vs. Wake Forest (31-25)

7 p.m. ET on AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh/ACC Network Extra

The Wolfpack look pretty safe to host a regional after their series win at North Carolina last weekend, but there is still time to see what might happen for them in Durham.

NC State is one of the hottest teams in the country and it looks like a likely destination for WVU if they don’t end up hosting. I don’t think Randy Mazey would like the idea of facing one of the nation’s hottest teams on the road, so Go Deacs!

USC (23-28-1) at #12 Oregon State (35-16-1)

9 p.m. ET on Pac-12 Networks

Oregon State is still creeping close to the hosting bubble after splitting a two-game series with Stanford last weekend. A series loss to USC (RPI: 98) could really tip the scales into the Mountaineers favor.

The only problem for WVU should that happen is will head-to-head be considered? The Beavers took two of three from West Virginia in Corvallis back in early March.