Top 25 Chat: June 10

 Q:  Brad from Florida asks:
DO
you think Florida State will be able to produce the same production in
elimination situations in Omaha as they did in regionals?
 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
Hello everyone, and welcome to the final college chat of the year from
Durham before we take this act to Omaha. We’ll have another chat Friday
and two more next week, so keep coming back.

Aaron Fitt: I
don’t see any reason Florida State can’t keep on mashing. It takes
really good pitching to shut down that offense, and I don’t think any
of the teams on that half of the bracket have what I would call really
good pitching. They all have good pitching, but not really good.
Florida State already put up 18 runs in two games against Georgia this
year, and 19 runs in its final two games against Miami, and if anything
those pitching staffs have worn down a bit since midseason. I expect
that half of the CWS to be very offensive, which means Florida State
has a very good chance to bash its way through. Really, those are four
very good teams, and it wouldn’t be shocking for any of them to break
through.

 Q:  Opey from thousand oaks, ca asks:
What player in this year’s World Series has the most major league potential?
 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
I think I’ll stick with Buster Posey, the fifth overall pick in the
draft last week. He’s got the entire package. I think he’s got a chance
to be a major league All-Star behind the plate.

 Q:  Aaron from Baton Rouge asks:
LSU
jumped all over a very good Stowell and the rest of the stout UCI
pitching staff. . .Are there any pitchers especially right-handers(they
seem to be lunch meat now), that can cool off the Tiger bats in Omaha?
 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
LSU is going to see the best righthander left in the tournament in that
first game against North Carolina. Alex White has a big-time arm and
big-time stuff to match. He’s pitched better the last month than he has
at any point in his career to this point — this is not the same guy
you saw in Omaha last year. His command is much improved, and he’s
added a very good splitter to complement his plus fastball and plus
slider. If anyone can slow LSU down, it’s White.

 Q:  phil from Scottsdale Stadium asks:
Who won? Wallace or Davis?
 A: 

Aaron Fitt: Fresno State.

Aaron Fitt:
Arizona State is saying that fight was staged as a way to loosen up the
team. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t. I don’t really care — either way,
it’s a ridiculous thing to do right before a do-or-die super-regional
game. If staging a fight right before a big game is such a great
motivational tool, why doesn’t any other team on the planet do it? What
a joke. And if the dispute was genuine and they’re just trying to spin
it by saying it was planned, well, that’s even worse. Most teams shave
their heads or dye their hair blonde as a display of unity. Arizona
State’s two biggest stars throw down their gloves and roll around on
the ground like a couple of hooligans. Some unity.

 Q:  Taylor from Houston asks:
That
was a heck of a series down here in Houston this past weekend. A&M
is a good ballclub. Do you think Rice’s pitching has enough to shut
down some of these lineups in the CWS? Their offense is good, but not
the Rice lineups of old. What do you think? Thanks.
 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
North Carolina, Rice and Fresno State all have similar kinds of
lineups, in my estimation: they all stand out more for their good
hitters than their big boppers, though they all have guys who can put a
charge into the ball. I think all three are underrated offensive clubs;
maybe they don’t put up the kind of gaudy numbers that the teams on the
left half of the bracket put up, but they’re full of difficult outs and
good line-drive hitters. LSU’s offense is more similar to those teams
on the other half of the bracket — more power than the other teams on
its half of the bracket, but also plenty of depth. Rice’s starting
pitching hasn’t been terribly consistent lately, but its bullpen has
been good enough to mask those deficiencies. The Owls will simply need
better outings from guys like Ojala, Langwell and Kelley if they’re
going to win that bracket.

 Q:  Taylor from Houston asks:
Aaron, thanks for the chat. After this past weekend, is Miami still your favorite? They’re pretty good!
 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
I am sticking with Miami and North Carolina in the finals, but really
it’s wide open. There’s no team that is head and shoulder above any
other team. This really should be a great CWS. We probably say that
every year, but of course, it’s true just about every year.

 Q:  James from Alexandria, VA asks:
Is
there a player of the year award that Buster Posey won’t win at this
point? If the season ended today, he’d win the NCAA Division I triple
crown. Has that ever even happened before?! It’s time people start
recognizing that this isn’t just one of the great seasons of 2008, it’s
one of the great seasons in the history of college baseball. Especially
when you consider the fact that he plays CATCHER and the fact that he
was recently named the Academic All-American of the Year to boot.
 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
Indiana’s Mike Smith is the only player ever to win the Division I
triple crown back in 1992, but Posey is doing it against much better
competition on the grandest stage. By the time he’s done, this might go
down as the greatest season ever in college baseball.
That said, I refuse to spill the beans about who will win our College
Player of the Year award later this week!

 Q:  Christian Merritt from Baton Rouge, LA asks:
After
being picked to finish 5th in the SEC West, LSU has now advanced to
Omaha. What do you think of the Tigers chances to win the CWS?
 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
I don’t love LSU’s chances to win it all, but I’m not going to dismiss
them either. I just think that teams typically fare better at the CWS
when they’ve been to Omaha before, which is why UNC, Rice, Miami and
Georgia are so dangerous. All those teams have been to Omaha in the
last two years and have veteran leaders who know what this event is all
about.

 Q:  Patrick from Houston asks:
How far do you see Rice going in the CWS and do you think they should worry about facing Fresno State given their run recently?
 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
They’d better not take Fresno State lightly, that’s for sure. But I
don’t think that’ll be a problem — this is a younger Rice team than
last year’s CWS edition, but the Owls still have plenty of veterans
who’ve been here before. They’ll be ready. I like Rice to reach the
final four, but I don’t think they match up great against North
Carolina.

 Q:  Eric from Huntington Beach asks:
With
Fresno completing the impressive upset of ASU it is now apparent that
the bracket in Long Baech had to be one of the toughest of all time.
All those teams could have won a regional and possibly had chances of
going to the World Series. I don’t think you can say that of any other
bracket. What are your thoughts?
 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
I agree. We dubbed it the Regional of Death going into the postseason,
and it lived up to the hype. I caught a little flack from
Bethune-Cookman supporters for saying Fresno was a more dangerous No. 4
seed than B-CU, but as good as the Wildcats were, they weren’t a threat
to go to Omaha.

 Q:  Bob from SC asks:
What happened to Coastal this past weekend? Were the Tar heels that overpowering?
 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
I think that’s the value of experience, first of all. North Carolina
looked very, very comfortable this weekend, and Coastal looked
downright skittish. Those guys made six errors in the first game, for
Pete’s sake. I also agree with Gary Gilmore’s assessment Sunday that
there isn’t a huge difference between Coastal and UNC offensively, but
the Tar Heels had a major edge on the mound — both with their
front-line pitching and their depth. Coastal was just overmatched by a
more experienced, more talented team. But winning a regional should
help the Chanticleers elevate their program to that next level and get
ever closer to Omaha in the next few years.

 Q:  Jamie R from tampa asks:
Can
FSU make some noise in Omaha? Is there enough quality arms? Their
pitching seems to compare favorably to some of the other clubs at the
CWS.
 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
Really, all four teams on the left side of the bracket are pretty
similar on the mound. None have a truly overpowering ace — although
Chris Hernandez and Jeremy Bleich are very talented lefties, they won’t
just blow people away like Alex White will. All have vulnerable
starting pitching and quality stoppers at the back of the bullpen.
Georgia has a little more bullpen depth than the rest of those teams,
but Georgia also lags behind those other teams offensively (after you
get by the middle of the order). All of that is just a long way of
saying that any one of those four teams could win that bracket and it
wouldn’t be a big surprise.

 Q:  Kip from Maine asks:
Can
you give a quick top 8 looking forward to ’09? I know UNC, Rice, Ore
St., and Irvine are some teams that look good for next season.
 A: 

Aaron Fitt: You’ll have to wait until after the CWS to get my 8 for 2009, but you’ve got a few of the leading candidates there…

 Q:  Andy from Niagra Falls asks:
It’s Tuesday. Did you guys forget about ask BA?
 A: 

Aaron Fitt: Jim Callis posted a mighty fine Ask BA yesterday.

 Q:  Tyler from San Diego asks:
What
schools do you think next year have a chance of getting in the Top 25
that aren’t in it this year? Also, what programs do you think will
appear on the radar in the next coupe years. The up and coming programs?
 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
Fun question. A few up-and-coming teams that I think are poised for top
25-caliber seasons in 2009: San Diego State, UC Santa Barbara, South
Florida, Santa Clara. A couple for the next few years: St. Mary’s, High
Point (I like the Butch Thompson hire a great deal), and the real wild
card, Oregon. Seriously, don’t be surprised if the Ducks find
themselves in the top 25 next year — many of their top recruits
slipped in the draft and could wind up at Eugene. Those guys could hit
the ground running.

 Q:  pete from starkville asks:
what is your take on MSU’s hire of John Cohen?
and what are your feelings on Polk’s feelings?
 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
It’s a terrific hire, really. That’s not saying Tommy Raffo wouldn’t
have been a great hire too, but Cohen’s got that proven track record as
a head coach, and he’s going to do a terrific job. Coach Polk is
entitled to his opinions, but he’s not doing any good going on the
warpath like this. It’s one thing to rail against the NCAA, and it’s
another thing to tarnish your legacy at the program you built into a
national power by demanding your name be removed from the stadium and
writing the program out of your will. Don’t forget, Cohen is a former
MSU player — it’s not like Raffo was passed over for a complete
outsider. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised by Coach Polk’s words —
he’s never been afraid to tell it how he sees it. But I think it’s a
pity he couldn’t hold his tongue this time.

 Q:  Justin from Nashville, TN asks:
Just
wondering, what do you think Vanderbilt will be like next year after
losing Pedro Alvarez, Ryan Flaherty, and several other seniors?
 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
The Commodores have a ton of young talent already there and a ton more
coming in this fall. That should be a young, exciting team next year,
and should be a CWS contender again by 2010.

 Q:  Nick from New Orleans asks:
How
does UCI’s pitching compare to UNC and what are LSU’s chances in the
opening game and in the series itself? they have a good bullpen that
has a pretty good amount of quality arms what are your thoughts?
 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
Irvine has good pitching, but they don’t have any power arms in the
class of Alex White or Matt Harvey. Even Scott Gorgen doesn’t have that
kind of stuff. I also like UNC’s bullpen depth better than Irvine’s,
and the Tar Heels have a senior stopper in Rob Wooten who won’t melt
down the way Eric Pettis did in Game Two.

 Q:  Jimmy from Middlesboro, Ky asks:
What
do you think of UK’s hiring of Gary Henderson? Will he be able to
convince Rusin to come back and hold on to the highly rated recruiting
class? Thanks so much.
 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
I like the Gary Henderson hire — he’s got a very nice track record as
a pitching coach and was a big part of building the foundation for a
national championship team at Oregon State before coming to UK. Rusin
went in the 23rd round, so I would be very surprised if he signs. I
think the bulk of that class will show up at school, and it has a
chance to be the nation’s best. Brad Bohannon stayed on board as the
recruiting coordinator there and will do his best to shepherd those
guys to class.

 Q:  Chris from Rock Hill S.C. asks:
This
year’s CWS looks like it has a good chance at breaking two streaks. 1)
and ACC team has never won the CWS and 2) A National Seed has not won
the CWS since 2003. What do you think?
 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
Considering six of the eight teams left are national seeds, I’d say
it’s a pretty high-percentage bet that a national seed could win this
year. And if the ACC can’t break through and win a title this year,
when it has the top three teams in the rankings and sends them all to
Omaha, then maybe the league ought to just stick to basketball.

Aaron Fitt: That’s all for today — stop by Friday for a chat from Omaha.

College | #2008 #Chat

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