The second installment of our NCAA tournament preview capsules is Grambling State University. While many of us are knowledgeable about our Cougs, little is likely known about the other three opponents this weekend. In an effort to expand your horizons, we're setting out to change that by giving you a view of who stands in the way of the Super Regionals.
We'll be back with the rest of the team previews later in the week.
Record: 22-30, 10-13 Southwestern Athletic Conference
Coach:- 1st year at Grambling (22-30)
How they got here: Automatic bid after winning the SWAC tournament
NCAA Tournament history: This is Grambling State's first tournament appearance in the last 25 years.
The season in a nutshell: The Tigers opened the season with seven straight losses before finally reeling off three wins in a row. Their season never really got on track, with the team losing 10 straight to start the month of April. Grambling State did win at the right times, though, winning their last two games of the regular season and sweeping the conference tournament. Without that, they don't sniff the postseason.
Standing in the batter's box, you don't want to face ... If I had to pick one, it would probably be Adrian Turner. Grambling just doesn't have an imposing pitching staff at all. All of their starters run have an ERA hovering around or above 6, with Turner's being the best at 5.90. He's 5-5 with 90 IP in 14 starts, so Turner looks to be the workhorse for the Tigers.
The fact of the matter is that all of Grambling's pitchers have high ERAs, FIPs, and low strikeout numbers. All of this is a recipe to get teed off on in Arkansas.
Looking down from the hill, don't give anything to hit to ... Steve Kletke. Kletke leads the team in slugging, OPS, and wOBA. He also posts a batting average north of .300 and appears to be one of the few power threats on the team. He's tied for the team lead with 11 HRs, leads the team with 41 RBIs, also hitting 12 doubles.
Grambling State also has a decent amount of team speed, with 7 players posting double digit stolen bases and 3 above 20. Mychal Roby possession an odd combination of power and speed, hitting 10 HRs while stealing 14 bases in 16 attempts.
The Tigers could win the regional if ... the other three teams are simultaneously struck with the plague and have to forfeit. I would also accept "their awesome band tramples the opponents in a freak pre-game incident" as an answer here. Grambling State is the worst team in this tournament and it's not even close. They come in with the worst record, worst RPI, and worst ISR of all tournament teams. They lucked into the tournament by making a good run at the right time, but they won't strike fear in anyone.
The Tigers will be 0-2-barbecue if ... play like Grambling State. They open against Arkansas, who has decided to hold back on using their ace until the second game of the weekend. That alone should tell you how serious teams are taking this matchup. Strictly by the numbers, Grambling is easily outclassed by all three other teams in the regional bracket.
There really is no good news for Grambling here. They start off play against top-seeded Arkansas before likely heading to a matchup with the loser of WSU/KSU. Grambling should be proud of running the table in the conference tournament and making the NCAAs, but that should be where the dream ends.