The Daily Nole

What to Watch For Wednesday: Four FSU Teams Set to Start NCAA Tournament

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With the NFL Draft wrapping up over the weekend, one might suspect that this will be a quiet week in Florida State athletics, but that will hardly be the case. Over the next week, four different FSU programs will begin NCAA Tournament play, beginning with a pair of teams on Friday.

In our first installment of “What to Watch For Wednesday”, we present five key things that all FSU fans should be paying attention to that take place within the next week:

1. Beach Volleyball’s Championship Push
After winning a fourth straight CCSA Championship on Easter Sunday, Florida State beach volleyball was awarded with the No. 3 seed in the NCAA Championships in Gulf Shores, Alabama. That gets underway on Friday for the Seminoles against Cal Poly at noon EST on ESPNU. Since beach volleyball became an NCAA sport, the Seminoles have played for two of the three national championships but have been unable to bring home a title.

The two teams that FSU fell to for the national championship over the last three years were USC in 2016 and UCLA last season. The Women of Troy and Bruins happen to be the top two seeds in this year’s championships. Top-seeded USC defeated FSU 3-2 in each of the two meetings during the regular season while second-seeded UCLA beat the Seminoles 4-1 in each of the two meetings.

Those two Los Angeles schools combined to hand FSU four of its five losses. The only other team to beat Florida State this season was LSU. The Seminoles beat the Tigers 3-0 for the CCSA title. LSU is the No. 5 seed.

2. FSU Baseball Starters vs. Former Pitching Coach Mike Bell
As Florida State baseball hosts Pittsburgh this weekend, the Seminoles will be greeted by a familiar face in the opposing dugout and that’s former pitching coach Mike Bell. Bell has limped through his first season as Pittsburgh head coach and will look to try to figure out a pitching staff that he once coached.

FSU baseball has won three straight ACC series and 10 of 12 games overall. A big reason for that is the weekend rotation. After a slow start, Drew Parrish and C.J. Van Eyk have really come along in recent weeks. Parrish was named the ACC Pitcher of the Week after striking out 10 batters in seven shutout innings in a win over Wake Forest this past weekend. Parrish has not allowed an earned run in his last 21 innings.

Van Eyk has also been pitching well of late. He’s won each of his last three starts while boasting a 2.84 ERA and allowing just 14 hits in 19 innings. Conor Grady, who was named ACC Pitcher of the Week last month, will make his second straight weekend start. Grady has struggled in each of his last two starts. The series gets underway at 6 p.m. EST on Friday and wraps up with 1 p.m. EST contests on Saturday and Sunday.

3. FSU Tennis Teams at the NCAA Tournament
Both Florida State tennis teams will begin the NCAA Tournament this week. The FSU men will be in action first on Friday in Gainesville as they are the No. 2 seed in the regional and will take on third-seeded UCF.. FSU is 18-10 for the season and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season before falling to Alabama. The top seed in the regional is host and No. 3 national seed Florida. The Gators beat the Seminoles 4-1 when the teams met in Lake Nona on Feb. 2.

The FSU women will host their regional as the No. 11 national seed. The Seminoles open things later Friday against South Alabama. The winner will move on to face either UCF or Alabama. Florida State is 20-6 for the season and narrowly missed reaching the ACC Championship. The Seminoles reached the Elite Eight for the first time in program history last year.

4. FSU Women’s Golf at the NCAA Tournament
Florida State women’s golf will be the fourth and final FSU program to get the NCAA Tournament started within the next week. The Seminoles will be in Auburn to begin NCAA Regional action. FSU is coming off a second-place finish in the ACC Tournament with three players — Frida Kinhult, Puk Lyng Thomsen and Beatrice Wallin — all finishing in the top 10. That was the most of any school.

The Seminoles will be the No. 3 seed in Auburn and among 18 total teams. The top six teams will advance to the NCAA Championships. FSU reached the NCAA Championships last season where it finished 12th.

5. FSU Football’s Remaining Undrafted Free Agents
Defensive linemen Brian Burns and Demarcus Christmas were the only two Florida State football players drafted in this weekend’s NFL Draft, but a number of others, including defensive linemen Wally Aime and Fred Jones, tackle Derrick Kelly and wide receiver Nyqwan Murray have found homes. Those who have not to this point include running back Jacques Patrick and center Alec Eberle. Those two could soon be given an opportunity of their own. NoleGameday.com has reported that Eberle will sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Mike Ferguson is the editor of The Daily Nole. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson. Like The Daily Nole on Facebook. To pitch an idea, author a post or to learn more about The Daily Nole, email Mike Ferguson at Mike@TheDailyNole.com.

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