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First Look '07
Publication Date: April 24, 2007
First of all, let me point out that there was a large response to last week's column, so I'm updating the RPI Needs Report daily.
OK, it's time. Who's going to the tournament this year?
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:
There's still time a couple of these to change -- I could easily see Charlotte or Central Michigan managing at large bid -- but that's where we are right now. None of these will host.
One Possible At-Large Bid
There are there 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:
I may be wishcasting a bit with TCU, but there's an interesting dynamic at work there. It's unusual for there to be a team as bad as this year's Air Force team in a conference as good as the MWC, and the six-game schedule is magnifying that effect. As of right now, TCU is at #48 in the RPI. If you remove Air Force from the schedule, they move to #25. That's an astounding effect. None of these will host.
Rem -- Average ISR of remaining opponents I -- In tournament O -- Out of tournament BI -- On the bubble, currently in BO -- On the bubble, currently out
RPI ISR All Conf Rem Status North Carolina 9 19 35-9 14-7 107.4 I Florida State 13 18 37-6 15-3 108.0 I Virginia 15 28 34-10 13-7 105.9 I Clemson 25 34 27-14 11-7 108.0 I North Carolina State 27 38 28-14 11-10 107.9 I Miami, Florida 35 53 26-17 11-10 107.3 BI Wake Forest 41 72 24-22 8-13 105.2 BO Georgia Tech 46 63 26-15 13-7 112.6 BI
The last three are playing chicken, although Wake kind of hit the truck head-on last weekend. Everybody else is fairly secure, although it'll be interesting to see what the committee does with those gaudy, empty records for FSU and UNC. FSU, UNC, and UVa will all host, although there may not be a national #1 here.
RPI ISR All Conf Rem Status Minnesota 16 17 26-7 9-2 96.2 I Michigan 31 27 26-8 11-1 101.7 I
Where'd they come from? These are two legitimately good teams. It's a shame they didn't get to play each other, but neither of them will be objectionable as a #2 seed, and Minnesota's a borderline #1. Minnesota will host.
RPI ISR All Conf Rem Status Texas A&M 6 9 33-10 9-8 112.1 I Texas 7 2 34-12 14-4 116.8 I Oklahoma 19 20 27-15 7-8 108.5 I Kansas State 23 30 25-15 6-9 106.9 I Nebraska 30 35 22-17 8-10 111.6 I Missouri 32 24 28-12 9-6 113.4 I Baylor 42 42 24-19 7-11 113.8 BI Oklahoma State 58 33 31-10 10-5 116.0 BI Texas Tech 63 58 23-18 7-10 112.0 BO
Well, they've eliminated Kansas. There are dangers in finishing eighth in a nine-team conference, but everybody on this list could make a case for themselves by the end of the year. Texas and A&M will host.
RPI ISR All Conf Rem Status Louisville 40 50 28-12 11-4 100.8 BI South Florida 50 84 27-16 9-9 106.2 BO
Every year there's at least one team like South Florida, a fairly average team that the inaccuracies of the RPI elevates into the discussion much longer than they actually deserve. They've improved over last year and appear to be in a good position to dominate the Big East in the future, but this year's version isn't a tournament-quality team. Louisville, on the other hand, isn't really objectionable as an at large team if they make it.
RPI ISR All Conf Rem Status Long Beach State 4 7 24-14 4-2 109.3 I Cal State Fullerton 21 3 27-12 7-2 113.8 I UC Irvine 22 6 29-11 7-5 106.0 I UC Riverside 61 29 24-16 4-2 111.9 BO Cal Poly 85 46 21-20 8-4 111.8 BO
One thing to remember is that the RPI really hates the rest of Long Beach's schedule: they're going to have to almost run the table to end up in the RPI top 8. Riverside looks likely to be the best team sitting at home on June 1, an unfortunate distinction indeed. I think Fullerton and Long Beach both host, but that could have unfortunate side effects. In some ways, having four Western regionals is good progress, but it also means that it's more possible to bunch up the strong Western teams against each other; having only three means that more get to go East and spread their wings. The one saving grace may be that none of the Western teams really look like #3 seeds, unless it's a legitimate #3 like UCLA.
RPI ISR All Conf Rem Status Rice 1 1 33-11 13-2 107.8 I East Carolina 17 26 28-13 6-5 108.4 I Southern Mississippi 39 45 25-18 6-9 107.1 BI Memphis 44 43 27-16 9-6 110.4 BI Houston 47 41 23-17 9-3 107.6 BI Tulane 55 48 29-14 8-7 100.2 BI
Another jumble. I'm guessing that the bottom four on this list are playing for three bids in the long run, and that conference standing will trump RPI, since they're all in a bunch anyway. Rice will host.
RPI ISR All Conf Rem Status Wichita State 14 16 34-11 13-2 106.2 I Creighton 49 36 27-11 12-3 100.8 BI Evansville 52 57 26-15 9-6 107.6 BO Southern Illinois 57 70 25-15 5-7 103.1 BO
At any given point in the season this year, the league has had anywhere from one to four bids. I'm guessing that Creighton manages to play up to the point of getting in, but it's awfully wobbly. Wichita State will host.
RPI ISR All Conf Rem Status Arizona State 10 4 33-10 10-2 114.5 I Arizona 26 10 31-9 9-3 112.4 I Oregon State 29 5 32-8 4-5 112.8 I Southern California 45 31 21-21 4-8 111.0 BO UCLA 51 32 22-17 8-1 116.7 BI
There are a bunch of questions here: Does the committee ignore the RPI and give a #1 (or even a national #1) to Arizona and/or OSU? Can USC West get their heads above water? Will UCLA manage to win enough over the top three on the list to stay in the picture? If I have to guess (and I suppose I do), Arizona State gets to host and OSU wins enough from here out to host as a #2.
RPI ISR All Conf Rem Status Vanderbilt 2 8 36-8 12-6 107.8 I South Carolina 3 14 32-11 10-8 105.1 I Mississippi State 5 15 27-10 9-7 106.9 I Arkansas 8 11 33-11 13-5 110.4 I Mississippi 11 23 28-15 10-8 113.2 I Florida 28 61 23-20 10-8 109.1 BI Louisiana State 37 55 23-18 8-9 109.8 BI Auburn 43 49 27-17 6-12 117.5 BO Kentucky 53 54 28-12 7-10 110.5 BO
It's an unusual year, because three SEC teams have already been removed from serious contention. The RPI is really helping the league here, since they probably only deserve five bids, but all of the four currently on the bubble have significant warts that could overrule even a favorable RPI. Getting to Birmingham will not be the guarantee that it usually is.
The top of the league isn't shining as thoroughly as it was a month ago, but there will probably be four hosts among them. Right now, we'll say Vandy, USC East, MSU, and Arkansas.
RPI ISR All Conf Rem Status College of Charleston 33 44 31-10 12-3 101.3 I Western Carolina 36 47 28-13 11-4 98.3 I
A late season disaster could derail either of those, but they're solid teams that outclass the rest of the league, and the RPI should get them both in.
RPI ISR All Conf Rem Status Louisiana-Lafayette 20 22 30-12 13-5 101.6 I Troy 38 39 26-16 11-7 103.1 BI Middle Tennessee State 64 80 24-21 12-9 103.3 BO Florida Atlantic 67 83 26-16 8-13 101.2 BO New Orleans 83 71 27-13 12-6 107.2 BO
There's a weird shuffling here that's leaving the bottom three listed in range if everything broke right, while Troy could still slide off, especially if they end up behind one of the others. UL-L is having an excellent year, although last weekend in Tempe kind of displayed the difference in having an excellent year and being a serious contender.
RPI ISR All Conf Rem Status San Diego 18 12 32-14 10-2 112.4 I Pepperdine 24 13 30-13 10-2 113.1 I
This is a really strange conference this year, as it's completely bipolar; the rest of the league after these two is relatively weak. These two will be pretty good canaries in the coal mine to see how much the committee is relying on the RPI this year -- one or both should end up as #1 seeds, but both could end up as really scary #2's. Pepperdine could host, but probably won't.
America East Clemson Minnesota UCLA A10 North Carolina State Coastal Carolina Arizona CAA North Carolina UC Irvine South Carolina Horizon Virginia UC Riverside Kentucky Ivy Miami, Florida Cal State Fullerton Vanderbilt MAAC Georgia Tech Long Beach State Arkansas MAC Stetson East Carolina Mississippi State MEAC Texas Rice Mississippi Mid-Continent Oklahoma State Southern Mississippi Florida NEC Missouri Memphis College of Charleston OVC Oklahoma Tulane Western Carolina Patriot Texas A&M Houston Louisiana-Lafayette Southland Nebraska Wichita State Troy SWAC Kansas State Creighton Pepperdine WAC South Florida Oregon State San Diego Florida State Michigan Arizona State Texas Christian
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.
|4/19||Brigham Young||Jesse Craig||Texas Christian||9.0||7||0||0||0||6||31||33||130|
|4/20||Arizona||Preston Guilmet||Washington State||8.0||7||1||1||3||12||30||33||134|
|4/20||Elon||Steven Hensley||Western Carolina||7.1||8||4||4||3||4||27||34||121|
|4/20||Appalachian State||Matt Andress||Georgia Southern||8.1||4||4||4||4||4||27||33||134|
|4/20||Texas Tech||Aj Ramos||Kansas||9.0||3||0||0||1||5||29||31||137|
|4/20||Sacred Heart||Chris Howard||Long Island||9.0||6||0||0||6||4||33||39||138|
|4/20||Northern Iowa||Jenkins||North Dakota State||8.0||2||2||2||6||15||26||32||140(*)|
|4/20||Northwestern||Dan Schwartz||Penn State||8.1||7||5||5||5||9||30||37||140(*)|
|4/20||Portland||David Gruener||San Francisco||9.0||10||3||3||2||5||34||37||124|
|4/20||Mississippi||Will Kline||South Carolina||7.0||5||5||5||2||8||26||29||129|
|4/20||St. John's||Scott Barnes||Georgetown||9.0||0||0||0||3||14||29||32||130|
|4/20||Lamar||Allen Harrington||Texas A&M-Corpus Christi||7.1||9||3||2||1||9||30||33||124|
|4/20||Central Arkansas||Pritchett||Texas State||9.0||9||5||5||3||4||35||41||137(*)|
|4/20||Notre Dame||David Phelps||West Virginia||9.0||7||2||2||3||6||33||36||144|
|4/21||LeMoyne||Bobby Blevins||St. Peter's||9.0||7||0||0||1||15||33||34||133(*)|
|4/21||Florida A&M||Cirilo Manego||Maryland-Eastern Shore||9.0||8||1||0||3||10||32||41||142|
|4/21||Maryland-Eastern Shore||Dustin Longchamps||Florida A&M||8.0||8||4||3||3||6||33||38||126|
|4/21||Georgia Southern||Aaron Eubanks||Appalachian State||5.2||5||2||2||3||4||23||28||126|
|4/21||Appalachian State||Aubrey Edens||Georgia Southern||8.2||6||3||2||3||7||31||36||133|
|4/21||Akron||Frank Turocy||Bowling Green State||7.1||6||3||3||4||3||28||32||122|
|4/21||UC Riverside||Marc Rzepczynski||Cal Poly||8.0||7||3||3||3||7||30||35||121|
|4/21||Cal Poly||Matt Leonard||UC Riverside||9.0||3||0||0||4||9||29||33||130|
|4/21||Fordham||Javier Martinez||St. Louis||7.1||5||6||5||7||5||26||37||138(*)|
|4/21||Hofstra||Charlie Frago||James Madison||7.2||9||9||8||3||2||32||36||121|
|4/21||Oklahoma||Heath Taylor||Kansas State||6.0||7||7||5||7||5||22||31||128|
|4/21||Western Kentucky||Matt Ridings||Louisiana-Monroe||9.0||9||5||5||1||10||33||35||140|
|4/21||Mississippi||Lance Lynn||South Carolina||9.0||3||0||0||2||12||30||32||132|
|4/21||Southeastern Louisiana||Wade Miley||Texas-Arlington||6.2||8||2||0||4||4||27||32||123|
|4/21||St. Bonaventure||Cody Vincent||Rhode Island||9.0||8||5||4||4||6||32||37||132(*)|
|4/21||New Mexico||Jacob Norton||Utah||9.0||12||4||4||1||6||35||38||130|
|4/22||East Tennessee State||Caleb Glafenhein||Belmont||9.0||11||4||4||2||3||36||41||142|
|4/22||Savannah State||John Keene||East Carolina||7.0||14||12||6||4||2||37||42||146|
|4/22||Maryland-Eastern Shore||Jamar Cadejuste||Florida A&M||8.0||13||9||9||4||5||33||38||133(*)|
|4/22||Sacred Heart||Jared Balbach||Long Island||7.0||4||1||1||7||4||25||32||128|
|4/24||Georgia Southern||Josh Lairsey||Georgia State||8.0||7||3||1||0||7||31||32||125|
|4/24||UC Davis||Bryan Evans||San Francisco||8.0||4||1||1||2||10||27||30||125|
(*) Pitch count is estimated. As always, I welcome actual pitch count corrections.If you're interested in reprinting this or any other Boyd's World material for your publication or Web site, please read the reprint policy and contact me
|Boyd's World-> Breadcrumbs Back to Omaha-> First Look '07||About the author, Boyd Nation|