Notre Dame stunned the college baseball world by eliminating top-ranked Tennessee from the NCAA tournament on Sunday.
The Volunteers, who entered the super regionals with just seven losses all season, suffered a 7-3 defeat in the deciding matchup of the three-game series. Tennessee finished 57-9 without a ticket to the College Baseball World Series.
“I think ultimately this is a complete meltdown,” Finebaum said. “Tony Vitello was here a week ago talking about all the things that people don’t like about him. Let’s be honest. He comes off brash and a know it all.”
While Vitello’s instilled confidence in his team, Finebaum said the same traits that have made him beloved among Tennessee supporters have turned him into a common enemy elsewhere.
“That’s what made him so popular in Knoxville,” Finebaum added. “That’s (also) what has made him such a villain and vilified today.”
Finebaum specializes in college football, where a renown head coach like Nick Saban losing twice in a season is considered a disappointment. However, baseball is different story.
Even juggernauts are prone to the occasional upset, so “complete meltdown” may be an overly harsh way of describing two losses.
Also, the top team will have a target on its back regardless of the coach’s personality.
Notre Dame is one of four unranked schools to make the eight-team College World Series pool in Omaha, Nebraska. The Fighting Irish will begin their quest for a championship against No. 9 Texas on Friday night.