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A Serious Look at the Tournament
Publication Date: April 26, 2005
We've been here before; you know the format by now. First off, there are fifteen conferences where only the conference tournament winner will advance. Here they are, with my best wild guess at who will win:
Ladies and gentlemen, your #4 seeds.
One Possible At-Large Bid
There are five conferences with teams that will qualify for at-large bids if they need to, so bubble teams should hope for them to win their conference tournament:
Rice's taking over first in the WAC is probably bad news for the rest of the league, since the 2-4 teams have cannibalized each other to the point where it's likely none of them get in. Rice and Pepperdine will be #2 seeds, the rest will be #3s; Rice will host.
There are no independents who will qualify this year, so that leaves us with forty-four bids to play with.
Conf All ISR RPI Status North Carolina 14-4 35-8 25 11 I, #1 Georgia Tech 16-5 30-11 20 5 I, N#1 Miami, Florida 15-5 31-10 12 3 I, N#1 Clemson 12-6 27-16 36 14 I, #1 Florida State 10-8 35-13 42 47 BI, #3(!) North Carolina State 11-10 30-12 31 15 I, #2 Virginia 9-10 30-13 62 40 BO
I would guess that the top three here get to host.
Conf All ISR RPI Status Coastal Carolina 13-2 33-9 32 25 I, #2 Winthrop 13-2 29-14 46 38 BI, #3 Birmingham-Southern 11-4 26-15 75 62 BO
Conf All ISR RPI Status Baylor 13-5 28-16 11 6 I, N#1 Missouri 10-5 30-11 43 56 BI, #3 Texas 11-6 35-8 1 1 I, N#1 Nebraska 10-6 35-9 19 44 I, #2 Oklahoma State 9-9 29-16 55 43 BI, #3 Texas Tech 7-9 27-14 50 46 BI, #3 Oklahoma 7-9 23-18 54 49 BO Texas A&M 6-12 26-19 39 45 BI, #4
There are all sorts of interesting things going on here, mostly because the conference has refused to play out to form this year. Texas is a pretty clear choice for best team in the country right now, but they're stuck in third here, which may cost them the national #1 seed. Missouri is holding on to second, but that's all that's keeping them in the field right now, and they could easily tumble all the way out. Nebraska is neither as good as their poll ranking nor as bad as their RPI, so who knows where they'll go. A&M is much better than they've played in conference; they've just plain been snakebit this year. This could end up anywhere between four and seven bids. Right now, I think Texas, Baylor, and Nebraska host.
Conf All ISR RPI Status Cal State Fullerton 8-1 30-11 4 17 I, #1 Cal Poly 8-1 27-14 23 72 I, #3 Long Beach State 10-2 29-14 6 22 I, #2 UC Irvine 4-5 21-17 37 22 BI, #3
Kind of an off year for the league. Fullerton may get to host, especially if they can hike the RPI a bit, because of the Pac 10 situation. Irvine might be well served to get the conference record to .500; you never know.
Conf All ISR RPI Status Tulane 14-4 36-7 3 2 I, N#1 Texas Christian 13-5 29-13 38 42 I, #3 Southern Mississippi 11-7 29-12 33 30 I, #2 South Florida 10-7 25-21 89 69 BO Alabama-Birmingham 10-8 26-15 72 75 BO Louisville 9-8 22-16 91 101 BO Houston 9-8 18-22 70 71 BO East Carolina 9-9 24-16 56 31 BI, #3
This is a weird one, once you get past the top three. None of the 4-8 teams are currently at a point where they'd get in, but one of them almost has to in the long run. I'm going to pick ECU since they're probably the best of the batch and they're only 1.5 games out of fourth at the moment. Tulane will host.
Conf All ISR RPI Status Creighton 11-4 32-10 45 66 BI, #3 Wichita State 8-4 35-14 29 41 BI, #3
Conf All ISR RPI Status Arizona 10-2 27-14 15 35 I, #2 Oregon State 9-3 30-7 2 8 I, N#1 Arizona State 9-3 28-15 7 10 I, #1 Southern California 8-4 26-13 5 20 I, #2 Stanford 7-5 24-15 8 21 I, #2 California 7-8 27-18 27 63 BO Washington 4-8 24-17 28 61 BO
Cal and Washington are going to most likely be crying shames, although one of them could conceivably play their way in. USC West and Stanford are likely to be the scariest #2 seeds since, well, last year when they pulled the same crap, but you know what I mean.
There's an interesting phenomenon going on out West in regards to hosting this year. The two best candidates to host are Arizona State and Oregon State, assuming that Oregon State addresses their capacity problem with some temporary bleachers or something. That leaves Fullerton, USC West, and Stanford to scrap for a third site, with Fullerton having a slight edge at the moment. It's possible, if I'm being optimistic, that that might actually help some teams -- with only one California regional available, more teams are going to have to travel, and the logistics of getting somewhere back East aren't much different from getting to Tempe or Corvallis. We'll see, but there might be good things here.
Conf All ISR RPI Status Florida 13-5 30-10 10 4 I, N#1 Alabama 11-7 30-13 34 27 I, #2 Tennessee 10-7 30-13 40 32 I, #3 South Carolina 10-8 30-11 24 18 I, #2 Louisiana State 10-8 29-13 13 9 I, N#1 Mississippi State 9-8 28-12 30 26 I, #2 Vanderbilt 9-9 28-12 26 12 I, #1 Mississippi 9-9 29-13 17 7 I, #1 Arkansas 8-10 32-11 14 19 I, #1 Auburn 8-10 26-17 44 16 I, #2 Georgia 6-11 22-18 53 29 BO
You want the really bad news? Kentucky is improving at the programatic and recruiting level.
Realistically, the only way the conference doesn't get ten bids at this point is if the committee decides that ten is too many. I can't predict that decision one way or the other. It's worth noting, though, that although the RPI does come in too high on most of them, the ISR's show the top ten here to be tournament-worthy. I'll guess that Florida, LSU, USC East, Arkansas, and Ole Miss get to host, but there's a lot of ball between now and that decision.
There's an oddity going on here and in the ACC in that several teams who would usually get a #1 based on RPI -- Clemson, NCSU, Vandy, Ole Miss, Arkansas, and Auburn -- are mired lower than expected in the standings. I'm assuming that situation will sort itself out, so any of that group could float between a #1 and a #2, and Southern California or Stanford could also slip in.
Conf All ISR RPI Status College of Charleston 16-2 32-9 37 24 I, #2 Georgia Southern 13-4 28-12 47 23 I, #2 Elon 15-9 26-18 81 57 BO
Conf All ISR RPI Status Louisiana-Lafayette 9-3 36-8 16 13 I, #1 South Alabama 10-5 26-18 60 39 BI, #3
Louisiana-Lafayette is the current sixteenth host team; they'll need to end well.
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.
|April 22||Cal State Fullerton||Ricky Romero||UC Davis||8.2||6||1||1||2||12||31||33||124|
|April 22||Hofstra||David Huth||William and Mary||7.0||9||4||2||5||4||28||35||121|
|April 22||Coastal Carolina||Ricky Shefka||Liberty||8.0||10||2||1||1||6||35||36||127|
|April 22||Virginia Tech||Jake Chaney||Marshall||8.0||8||4||2||3||9||29||34||125|
|April 22||McNeese State||Jacob Marceaux||Texas-Arlington||8.0||7||5||4||4||10||31||35||122|
|April 22||Fresno State||Matt Garza||Nevada||8.0||2||1||0||6||9||27||33||144(*)|
|April 22||Arkansas-Little Rock||Bennett Cromer||New Orleans||9.0||7||3||2||3||5||33||37||140(*)|
|April 22||South Alabama||Jeramy Simmons||Middle Tennessee State||8.1||7||5||5||6||7||30||37||142(*)|
|April 22||Utah Valley State||Jed Jensen||South Dakota State||7.2||9||5||2||4||6||32||37||143(*)|
|April 22||Oklahoma State||Thomas Cowley||Texas||9.0||6||4||2||3||6||31||36||123|
|April 22||Texas A&M-Corpus Christi||Trey Hearne||Northern Colorado||7.2||10||6||6||3||4||32||35||132|
|April 23||Alabama State||Ricky Harris||Mississippi Valley State||7.0||4||5||4||8||8||23||32||135(*)|
|April 23||Arkansas-Pine Bluff||Kenyota Ento||Texas Southern||6.0||14||10||10||5||4||30||38||146(*)|
|April 23||Baylor||Mark McCormick||Nebraska||6.2||4||1||1||2||9||24||26||125|
|April 23||Centenary||J. C. Biagi||Western Illinois||8.0||6||4||2||4||6||31||36||144(*)|
|April 23||Western Illinois||Pat Kohorst||Centenary||9.0||5||2||2||5||6||29||36||136(*)|
|April 23||Central Michigan||Ty Dunham||Northern Illinois||8.0||9||6||3||2||7||35||38||149(*)|
|April 23||The Citadel||Justin Smith||Charleston Southern||7.1||7||6||6||2||7||30||35||133|
|April 23||Clemson||Robert Rohrbaugh||North Carolina State||6.0||5||5||2||3||6||23||26||125|
|April 23||North Carolina A&T||M Hauff||Coppin State||9.0||7||0||0||2||14||34||36||152(*)|
|April 23||Appalachian State||Scott Clark||East Tennessee State||5.0||11||9||7||5||4||24||30||125|
|April 23||Southeast Missouri State||Joey Evans||Eastern Illinois||9.0||13||4||2||0||7||38||40||133|
|April 23||Florida||Alan Horne||Auburn||7.0||11||4||4||2||8||30||33||122|
|April 23||George Mason||Gant||Virginia Commonwealth||5.0||8||5||4||7||7||21||29||136|
|April 23||Western Carolina||Brian Barnes||Georgia Southern||7.2||10||6||5||2||5||34||38||121|
|April 23||Birmingham-Southern||David Horne||High Point||9.0||8||1||0||4||4||31||37||136|
|April 23||Kentucky||Aaron Tennyson||Mississippi State||9.0||15||5||3||3||3||40||45||141|
|April 23||Rice||Eddie Degerman||Louisiana Tech||7.2||5||1||0||2||10||26||28||122|
|April 23||Loyola Marymount||S. Kahn||San Francisco||9.0||1||0||0||7||6||26||35||137(*)|
|April 23||Norfolk State||Williams||Florida A&M||8.0||9||3||3||5||2||32||38||145(*)|
|April 23||Florida A&M||Michael Tavernier||Norfolk State||10.0||9||4||3||4||5||38||42||147(*)|
|April 23||Oakland||Aaron Hines||Chicago State||9.0||11||6||4||4||5||37||43||150(*)|
|April 23||Chicago State||Chris Freshour||Oakland||6.2||12||10||10||6||5||32||39||152(*)|
|April 23||North Carolina-Asheville||Tim Johnson||Radford||8.0||5||4||3||9||3||24||38||133(*)|
|April 23||Murray State||Craig Kraus||Tennessee Tech||7.0||13||6||4||1||4||34||35||122|
|April 23||Texas-Pan American||Ricky Broyles||Western Kentucky||9.0||12||1||1||2||5||37||39||146(*)|
|April 24||Boston College||Joe Martinez||Georgetown||9.0||9||4||4||2||11||36||38||151(*)|
|April 24||Georgia||Will Startup||Mississippi||9.0||6||3||3||5||3||29||38||134(*)|
|April 24||Georgia Southern||Dustin Evans||Western Carolina||9.0||5||1||1||3||6||31||35||121|
|April 24||Rice||Joe Savery||Louisiana Tech||9.0||5||2||0||0||8||31||32||121|
|April 24||North Carolina-Greensboro||Chris Mason||Elon||8.0||7||8||2||1||11||33||36||138|
|April 24||Northwestern State||Dereck Cloeren||Lamar||9.0||5||5||5||3||6||31||34||126|
|April 24||New York Tech||Perez||Quinnipiac||8.0||4||3||2||8||7||26||37||143(*)|
|April 24||Texas||Adrian Alaniz||Oklahoma State||7.0||9||3||3||0||8||27||33||126|
|April 24||Oklahoma State||Rick Rivas||Texas||8.0||6||2||2||5||6||29||36||133|
|April 24||Wagner||Mike McTamney||Sacred Heart||7.0||8||4||1||2||7||29||34||131|
|April 25||Yale||Jon Hollis||Dartmouth||9.0||8||3||3||2||6||31||37||134|
|April 25||Fairleigh Dickinson||Stephen Eng||Long Island||9.0||11||2||1||1||7||37||39||147(*)|
|April 26||Appalachian State||Chad Antley||Charlotte||7.0||7||2||2||3||5||26||30||123|
|April 26||Louisiana Tech||Mitch Tucker||Louisiana-Monroe||7.0||8||3||3||2||8||29||32||124|
|April 26||Mississippi||Anthony Cupps||Memphis||6.0||4||3||3||3||12||23||27||122|
|April 26||Texas Southern||Guillory||Sam Houston State||9.0||12||12||8||7||10||38||47||157(*)|
|April 27||Brigham Young||James Platt||Northern Colorado||8.0||10||2||2||1||6||31||35||142|
|April 28||Nebraska||Joba Chamberlain||Oklahoma||6.2||6||5||2||4||6||23||29||125|
|April 28||Oklahoma||Daniel McCutchen||Nebraska||9.0||6||1||1||2||9||32||34||131|
(*) Pitch count is estimated.
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