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The 2005 Conference Races
Publication Date: May 10, 2005
Best of Breed
Why does this matter? How many teams are there in Division I? To how many of them is the conference title the only realistic aim for the season? Can you define rhetorical?
W L Remaining Northeastern 10 4 @Maine, Stony Brook Maine 10 5 Northeastern, Binghamton Vermont 10 5 Stony Brook, Albany Binghamton 9 5 Hartford, @Maine
Got to do these in something other than alphabetical order one of these days. There's nothing wrong with the AmEast, I suppose; I just get tired of doing it first every time, and I'm sure the MAAC gets short shrift by the time I get there. Anyway, this is a nice, tight race at this point -- Maine's at home the rest of the way and has been the best of the bunch overall, Northeastern's got a slight lead, Vermont has an easier schedule, Binghamton could pull into a tie this weekend if Maine takes two. Enjoy the next couple of weeks if you're a fan of these guys.
W L Remaining Georgia Tech 18 6 Virginia Tech, @UNC Miami, Florida 17 6 @Virginia, @Clemson North Carolina 15 6 @Florida State, Georgia Tech Florida State 15 9 UNC, @NCSU Clemson 15 9 @Wake Forest, Miami
Rainouts and the UNC-Miami "tie" make this slightly complicated (and I'm sure the Heels would love to have the two against Virginia Tech back). I'd say the schedule slightly favors Miami if they didn't have to go on the road (and who knows if the fact that this is the first time the Canes have left home in May since 1938 is a factor); with things as they are, I'll go with the Yellow Jackets to hang on. The FSU-UNC series this weekend has some fairly big postseason implications, I'd guess.
W L Remaining Troy 19 5 Stetson, @Jacksonville Central Florida 16 8 Georgia State, @Mercer
This is what happens when teams don't pay attention to what they're supposed to do. Troy hasn't been better than UCF at any point in the season, except that they've won more games, including winning two of three from them at home last weekend, and they've built a nice little three game lead coming down the stretch, with neither team facing noticably different schedules. They presumably get the pennant, and we'll see what that does to the postseason.
Atlantic 10 East
W L Remaining Rhode Island 17 4 @UMass
Atlantic 10 West
W L Remaining George Washington 12 6 LaSalle, @Temple Dayton 11 7 @Xavier, Richmond Richmond 11 7 @Duquesne, @Dayton
URI has clinched. The West is more interesting, but GW would look to have a clear shot as the other two battle it out. Kudos to the league for making up rained out games.
W L Remaining St. John's 16 4 @Villanova Boston College 15 7 @UConn
BC needs a lot of help here, so just keep one eye on this one.
W L Remaining Coastal Carolina 16 2 @UNC-Asheville, @Winthrop Winthrop 16 2 @BSC, Coastal Carolina Birmingham-Southern 14 4 Winthrop, @UNC-Asheville
Great scheduling here. Coastal gets a slight edge from the schedule, but Winthrop gets to be at home if they can make it to that last weekend in range.
W L Remaining Illinois 18 6 @Minnesota, Iowa Iowa 15 9 @Purdue, @Illinois
Those are four-game series, so Iowa's still in range. The Illinois-Missouri game on the 18th is also interesting from a comparative basis.
W L Remaining Baylor 15 6 @Texas A&M, Missouri Nebraska 14 7 @Texas Tech, Kansas State Texas 14 9 Texas A&M Missouri 12 9 Kansas, @Baylor
From the silver lining department, Texas probably ended A&M's chances of making the NCAA tournament by rolling over in Kansas last weekend. Nebraska is in interesting shape to steal another one with KState coming in to end up.
W L Remaining Cal State Fullerton 13 2 Long Beach, @UC Riverside Cal Poly 9 3 @Long Beach, UC Riverside, @UC Irvine Long Beach State 11 4 Cal Poly, @Fullerton
There are no guarantees, but I'd assume that Fullerton will win this one. The battle for second will mostly be settled this weekend.
W L Remaining North Carolina-Wilmington 15 3 VCU, @Old Dominion Virginia Commonwealth 13 5 @UNC-Wilmington, Delaware
Line 'em up, let 'em play. If VCU can go into Wilmington this weekend and sweep, they take it. Otherwise (and most likely), the Seahawks win.
W L Remaining Tulane 19 5 @St. Louis, TCU Texas Christian 17 7 Louisville, @Tulane
See above. TCU has to stay in range this weekend (which won't be easy; St. Louis is not nearly as good as Louisville) and then go sweep in Turchin Field.
W L Remaining Youngstown State 7 1 @UIC, UWM Wisconsin-Milwaukee 11 5 @YSU Illinois-Chicago 10 6 YSU
YSU's series against Butler was rained out, which leaves us with this mess. On the other hand, if they had played, there's no reason to think they wouldn't have swept them, which would leave us in more or less the same state. I don't have a clue who will win this, which is nice.
Ivy League Gehrig
W L Cornell 11 9
Ivy League Rolfe
W L Harvard 15 5
This one's already done (one of the hazards of this column; there is no good time to publish it with the MEAC and Pac-10 finishing over a month apart). Harvard has already won the championship series.
W L Remaining Siena 15 3 Marist, @LeMoyne Marist 17 4 @Siena, @Iona LeMoyne 13 6 @Manhattan, Siena
These three are quite close together in actual quality, as far as I can tell, so this should be fun. That gives Siena the toughest schedule. On the other hand, the head-to-head this weekend makes it hard for LeMoyne to get back in range.
W L Remaining Miami, Ohio 12 3 @Northern Illinois, @Kent State Akron 8 5 @EMU, Ohio
W L Remaining Ball State 15 4 @Marshall Western Michigan 11 5 @Kent State, Bowling Green Central Michigan 12 6 @Buffalo, EMU
Wow. How hard do you have to work at it to make sure that absolutely none of the contenders play each other anywhere close to the end of the season? Take the current leaders if you're guessing, I suppose.
W L Remaining Oral Roberts 15 1 @Western Illinois, @Chicago State Western Illinois 12 4 Oral Roberts, @Southern Utah
Stop me if you've heard this one before.
W L North Carolina A&T 12 6
They also won the tournament, so the MEAC will have a new representative this year.
W L Remaining Creighton 15 6 @Evansville Wichita State 12 6 Indiana State, @Bradley Southern Illinois 13 8 Illinois State
The three-game series have been a nice change this year. Having two of the three leaders playing South Dakota State instead of each other isn't particularly, although you could excuse Creighton and SIU if they're a bit surprised to be here. SIU's probably out, but Wichita has a shot, since Bradley isn't nearly as good as Evansville. By the way, Creighton and Nebraska pulled in over 20,000 at Rosenblatt Tuesday night.
W L Remaining Nevada-Las Vegas 19 5 @BYU, Utah Brigham Young 17 7 UNLV, @SDSU
They'll settle this one this weekend, mostly. BYU is at home and slightly better, but they really need a sweep, so there's some good dramatic tension here.
W L Remaining Quinnipiac 15 5 Monmouth Sacred Heart 15 6 @CCSU Monmouth 14 6 @Quinnipiac
Well, they're all really bad, but they're well-matched, and that's worth something. Today's Quinnipiac-Monmouth doubleheader will go most of the way toward settling it, unless it doesn't.
W L Remaining Morehead State 14 6 Eastern Illinois, @Eastern Kentucky Austin Peay State 14 7 Eastern Kentucky, Jacksonville State Jacksonville State 14 7 @Murray State, @APSU Murray State 12 9 Jacksonville State, @Samford Eastern Kentucky 11 9 @APSU, Morehead State
Now, that's really good scheduling. I haven't worked out the math, but I think any of the five could still legitimately come out on top.
W L Remaining Arizona 12 3 @ASU, @Stanford, California Oregon State 14 4 @Washington, USC Arizona State 10 5 Arizona, @Washington, Washington State Southern California 9 6 Washington State, @Oregon State, Stanford
USC West is still in it because there are three weeks left. The schedule probably favors OSU, although there may be a minor lame duck problem with them finishing a week before the others.
W L Army 17 3
The regular season is over; the championship round this weekend has Lehigh and Bucknell playing for the right to challenge Army for the automatic bid.
W L Remaining Tennessee 15 8 @LSU, Georgia Florida 15 9 Mississippi State, @Vanderbilt
W L Remaining Alabama 14 10 Arkansas, @Auburn Louisiana State 14 10 Tennessee, @Mississippi State Mississippi 13 11 South Carolina, @Arkansas Mississippi State 11 12 @Florida, LSU Arkansas 11 13 @Alabama, Mississippi Auburn 11 13 @Georgia, Alabama
This is what happens when you have tons of good teams and no great teams. It's really unlikely that the bottom three in the West could play their way through the thicket, but they're all within my three-games-with-six-left radius, so here they are. It's an oddity that the division leaders (with the exception of LSU) aren't that close to being the best teams in the league, but that may be forgotten one way or the other over the next couple of weeks.
W L College of Charleston 23 2
Finally, we get a runaway (although Army would have qualified if I had done this a week earlier). Georgia Southern is actually a quite decent team, but they're 6.5 back already.
W L Northwestern State 17 4
And another. In this case, they're four up on Texas State and Arlington, and that should be enough.
W L Mississippi Valley State 18 6
W L Southern 17 7 Texas Southern 17 7
The regular season's over; the tournament is next week.
W L Remaining Louisiana-Lafayette 13 5 MTSU, @Western Kentucky South Alabama 14 7 @Arkansas State New Mexico State 10 8 UALR, @MTSU
ULL would basically have to give this away at this point.
West Coast Coast
W L Remaining Gonzaga 13 10 @St. Mary's, @Loyola Marymount San Diego 15 12 Loyola Marymount Loyola Marymount 12 11 @San Diego, Gonzaga
West Coast West
W L Remaining San Francisco 17 7 Portland, @Pepperdine Pepperdine 16 7 Santa Clara, USF
These are two really nice races that actually mean something because of the WCC's two-team championship round. San Diego can make a big move this weekend, while the West will come down to the last weekend at Pepperdine. USF has been quietly excellent this year, and I hope that news is getting out enough to get the into the tournament despite an unfairly bad RPI.
W L Remaining Rice 13 8 @Nevada, Hawaii, SJSU Hawaii 12 10 Fresno State, @Rice, @Louisiana Tech Nevada 11 10 Rice, @SJSU, Fresno State Fresno State 11 11 @Hawaii, Louisiana Tech, @Nevada San Jose State 11 13 Nevada, @Rice
OK, but Louisiana Tech is definitely out. This is probably Rice's to lose, but it's not the runaway that you would have expected, and there are still three weeks left.
This means absolutely nothing, ignore it.
This is one generic layman's predictions for who gets in the tournament. I'm not going to bother picking a team from the one-bid conferences, since the conference tournament will just be a crapshoot, but if I only list one team from a conference, they'll get an at large bid if they don't get the automatic bid.
America East Florida State Cal State Fullerton Mississippi State A10 North Carolina Cal Poly Northwestern State Big East North Carolina State Oregon State Wichita State CAA Georgia Tech Stanford Creighton Horizon Clemson Arizona State East Carolina MAAC Troy Arizona Tulane MAC Central Florida Southern California Southern Mississippi Mid-Continent Texas Louisiana State Texas Christian NEC Nebraska Mississippi College of Charleston OVC Texas Tech South Carolina Georgia Southern Patriot Baylor Florida Pepperdine SWAC Oklahoma State Arkansas San Francisco Rice Missouri Alabama Louisiana-Lafayette Illinois Winthrop Auburn South Alabama Brigham Young Coastal Carolina Vanderbilt North Carolina A&T Miami, Florida Long Beach State Tennessee Harvard
Pitch Count Watch
Rather than keep returning to the subject of pitch counts and pitcher usage in general too often for my main theme, I'm just going to run a standard feature down here where I point out potential problems; feel free to stop reading above this if the subject doesn't interest you. This will just be a quick listing of questionable starts that have caught my eye -- the general threshold for listing is 120 actual pitches or 130 estimated, although short rest will also get a pitcher listed if I catch it. Don't blame me; I'm just the messenger.
|May 06||Cal Poly||Garrett Olson||Cal State Fullerton||9.0||5||3||2||1||7||31||36||133|
|May 06||Coastal Carolina||Ricky Shefka||Charleston Southern||9.0||5||2||2||2||9||30||36||121|
|May 06||Bradley||Brandon Magee||Evansville||8.0||7||1||0||2||4||30||35||122|
|May 06||Arkansas||Nick Schmidt||Florida||9.0||7||1||1||1||7||33||34||139|
|May 06||Louisiana-Monroe||Matt Green||Southwest Missouri State||7.0||8||4||3||4||10||30||36||153(*)|
|May 06||Missouri||Max Scherzer||Nebraska||9.0||4||1||1||2||9||29||34||133|
|May 06||New Mexico||Danny Ray Herrera||Brigham Young||9.0||3||1||1||3||8||30||33||125|
|May 06||North Carolina-Greensboro||Chris Mason||Wofford||9.0||8||0||0||3||7||33||37||125|
|May 06||UCLA||Hector Ambriz||Oregon State||7.0||5||0||0||2||7||23||27||130|
|May 06||Pepperdine||P. Coleman||Portland||7.2||4||0||0||4||7||24||29||128|
|May 06||San Francisco||Pereira||Santa Clara||9.0||4||2||2||3||12||31||34||143(*)|
|May 06||UC Irvine||Chris Nicoll||Pacific||7.0||4||3||3||3||9||24||29||130|
|May 06||Troy||Landon Brazell||Central Florida||6.1||11||12||11||3||6||28||34||123|
|May 06||Southern Illinois||Tyler Norrick||Wichita State||7.2||9||4||3||1||5||30||31||124|
|May 07||Alabama||Wade LeBlanc||Mississippi State||8.0||7||3||2||3||6||31||35||133|
|May 07||Alabama-Birmingham||Jeff Brown||Southern Mississippi||6.1||8||5||5||2||2||23||28||122|
|May 07||Miami, Ohio||Graham Taylor||Bowling Green State||9.0||5||1||1||2||2||32||35||122|
|May 07||Coastal Carolina||Jake Hurry||Charleston Southern||7.0||5||2||1||6||9||23||32||129|
|May 07||Florida||Alan Horne||Arkansas||9.0||4||2||2||5||12||28||33||130|
|May 07||Vermont||Derek Miller||Maryland-Baltimore County||9.0||5||1||1||5||8||30||35||139(*)|
|May 07||New Mexico||Darren Coltrinari||Brigham Young||7.0||10||6||5||2||5||29||32||127|
|May 07||Wofford||Andrew Hewitt||North Carolina-Greensboro||8.2||10||6||6||4||6||31||37||132(*)|
|May 07||Utah||Josh Cooper||San Diego State||6.0||10||8||7||5||7||24||34||121|
|May 07||Utah||Matt Crockett||San Diego State||7.2||7||5||5||7||3||29||36||135|
|May 07||San Jose State||Branden Dewing||Fresno State||8.2||12||5||5||4||5||35||41||146(*)|
|May 07||West Virginia||Fagler||Seton Hall||8.0||11||1||1||1||7||32||34||126|
|May 07||St. Louis||Ryan Bird||Houston||9.0||5||1||1||6||9||29||36||135|
|May 07||Loyola Marymount||Stephen Kahn||St. Mary's||9.0||6||3||3||3||7||35||38||152(*)|
|May 07||Troy||Brent Adcock||Central Florida||9.0||7||5||4||3||5||31||37||134|
|May 07||Central Michigan||Josh Collmenter||Western Michigan||8.2||11||2||2||2||9||34||39||146(*)|
|May 07||Southern Illinois||P. J. Finigan||Wichita State||9.0||2||1||0||5||6||31||36||125|
|May 08||Murray State||Billy Fares||Austin Peay State||8.2||9||4||2||1||7||34||36||151|
|May 08||Miami, Ohio||John Ely||Bowling Green State||9.0||8||1||1||1||9||31||34||128|
|May 08||Charleston Southern||Ryan Sowers||Coastal Carolina||8.0||8||3||2||2||7||28||33||134|
|May 08||Eastern Illinois||Chris Vaculik||Eastern Kentucky||8.2||9||3||1||5||5||33||38||140(*)|
|May 08||George Washington||Josh Wilkie||Xavier||8.0||6||3||1||3||7||31||34||121|
|May 08||Louisiana Tech||Matt Lacy||Nevada||8.2||8||1||1||5||10||31||37||144(*)|
|May 08||Southeast Missouri State||Derek Herbig||Morehead State||8.0||8||2||2||5||6||30||37||124|
|May 08||Kansas State||Adam Cowart||Oklahoma||8.1||8||5||4||3||8||33||36||134|
|May 08||Old Dominion||Hunter Hall||Virginia Commonwealth||6.1||9||8||4||2||3||30||35||122|
|May 08||Utah||Jason Price||San Diego State||9.0||10||8||8||4||5||32||40||143|
|May 08||Southern Utah||Jeff Oliverson||Northern Colorado||6.1||10||6||2||1||7||30||32||126|
|May 08||Tennessee-Martin||Massey||Jacksonville State||9.0||6||3||3||2||4||34||36||122|
|May 09||Harvard||Frank Herrmann||Cornell||9.0||8||0||0||1||6||30||32||121|
|May 10||Northern Colorado||Ayers||Wichita State||9.0||6||5||2||5||4||32||41||143(*)|
|May 10||West Virginia||Kenny Durst||Akron||9.0||6||4||3||2||4||32||36||124|
|May 11||South Dakota State||Tyson Bothof||Northern Iowa||7.1||9||5||5||4||10||31||36||135|
|May 12||Georgia Southern||Everett Teaford||College of Charleston||6.1||16||9||5||2||4||32||34||124|
|May 12||New Mexico||Karsten Gaarder||San Diego State||9.0||4||0||0||3||6||29||34||139|
(*) Pitch count is estimated.
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