College Top 25 Chat: April 27



Moderator: Aaron Fitt will chat about the new Top 25 rankings and college baseball in general at 2:30 p.m. ET.

 Q:  Marc from Austin, Tx asks:
With Texas going 0-3-1 on the week, did they destroy any shot they had at getting a Top 8? What would we need to do against Baylor/A&M to get back in the discussion? Would winning both be good enough, or do we need to sweep one?
 A: 

Aaron Fitt: Hi everyone - I don't have a lot of time this week, so the chat might be shorter than usual. I'll try to squeeze in as many questions as I can.

Aaron Fitt: I think Texas' national seed hopes are still very much alive. This team has had two bad weekends all year, but most teams have had two or three bad weekends. Texas is still No. 9 in the RPI and just a half-game out of first in the Big 12. The team that wins that league, if it's Texas or Oklahoma, will be a national seed. The next two weekends won't be easy, but I think winning both series should be enough.

 Q:  Andy from Lexington KY asks:
Do all 8 SEC Tournament teams make the NCAA tournament?
 A: 

Aaron Fitt: Probably, but not definitely. Vanderbilt is very much on the bubble right now, and South Carolina shouldn't get too comfortable either. That Vandy-S.C. series this weekend is absolutely huge. I think the SEC could get between six and nine bids, but seven or eight is probably the most likely. The ninth team, Auburn, is in a lot of trouble.

 Q:  Sandy from Hattiesburg, MS asks:
How do you see conference USA finishing out this year? How many teams from CUSA will we see playing in the post season? Which team has been the biggest surprise and which team has been a disappointment?
 A: 

Aaron Fitt: Rice and ECU are the only locks. Tulane and Southern Miss are both in the 70s in the RPI, which is not at-large territory. This could be a two-bid league unless one of those teams or Houston or somebody else makes a run through the conference tournament. Really, the whole league has been disappointing except for Rice, ECU and UAB, which is improved at least and is probably the biggest surprise.

 Q:  Mike from Center Moriches asks:
Aaron. I am the a parent of a BC player. We played @ Duke this week, lost 2 of 3 . I have 2 questions First where at this time is Tony Sanchez, and Belfiore sitting in the draft, and also Duke's Lefty Manno is one of the most effective pitchers we have faced. I hated him on Friday night for beating us but man this young man can pitch, where does he figure to be drafted Mike
 A: 

Aaron Fitt: I was over at Duke on Sunday to see Sanchez hit a homer and Belfiore throw five strong innings of relief. Both of those guys are going to be drafted very well — I'll say supplemental first round for Sanchez (second round at the latest), and third-to-fourth round for Belfiore. He's an athletic, physical lefthander with plenty of velocity and enough stuff to start — a lot to like there. He needs to refine his secondary stuff, but he's got feel for a slider, changeup and a curveball. As for Manno, he's had a terrific year, but his smallish size and lack of big-time velocity figures to make him an 8-12 round type guy.

 Q:  carl from chapel hill asks:
Question how many teams from the acc will make the NCAA and one more question name the top 5 to ten pitching prospects in the acc
 A: 

Aaron Fitt: Six. Like the SEC, the ACC has six locks and three bubble teams (Boston College, Virginia Tech and Duke). Duke has regional-caliber talent but doesn't have the resume (series losses to Wake and Maryland were killers, and the RPI is mediocre). BC and Virginia Tech both have two difficult series remaining, and are likely to lose both. I do think BC has a chance to pull off the upset against Miami at home next weekend; that series is critical. If the Eagles win that one, I think they'll sneak in.

 Q:  Jason from Charlottesville, VA asks:
Aaron, do you think UVa is a lock to be hosting a regional and making a serious run at Omaha this year? Also, who do you think their best draft prospects are right now?
 A: 

Aaron Fitt: Definitely not a lock, if only because the ACC has so many host contenders. UNC and Georgia Tech are locks to host, and I still think Miami is in very good shape to host as well. That leaves Virginia competing with Clemson and Florida State for a fourth host site. It seems one of those Atlantic Division teams has the upperhand over a fourth Coastal Division team. The other option is Virginia could overtake Miami in the pecking order (the Cavs are already ahead of the Canes in the standings). Florida State could be in trouble because a three-game series against Grambling State late will be an RPI killer. Clemson has the most favorable remaining schedule and perhaps the most talent, so I believe the Tigers will host. You could go round and round in this discussion — there are six worthy candidates for four likely sites — but we'll just have to see how the last two weeks play out. As for UVa's draft prospects, for this year, the best are Tyler Cannon and Andrew Carraway, but neither are huge prospects. The team's best overall prospect is Danny Hultzen, who is a very, very strong bet to go in the first round in two years.

 Q:  Zach from Seattle asks:
If Washington State keeps winning its Pac-10 series, will that be enough to earn them a birth. If you look at their record there are a lot of close losses early to top 25 teams (Arkansas, Rice, Pepperdine).
 A: 

Aaron Fitt: I discussed Washington State's chances in today's Three Strikes over on the college blog. I think the Cougars are in pretty good shape after winning that series at USC. The remaining schedule is kind and entails no plane trips.

 Q:  ceburn from oxford asks:
Does Ole Miss have enough pitching to make it through the SEC tourney and a regional?
 A: 

Aaron Fitt: The SEC tournament will be harder to get through than a regional, because I don't know that Ole Miss has enough pitching to win four straight games. But they're not in bad shape for a regional, because not many teams have two better arms than Scott Bittle and Drew Pomeranz. Between Bukvich, Irwin and Baker, I think somebody will step up and give the Rebels a viable third option. Baker, in particular, pitched very well last week and could be the answer.

 Q:  Doug from Fountain Valley asks:
Hi Aaaron, With their recent 5 out of 6 conference wins, and 6 of 8 overall, can UCLA realistically hope for a regional if they can get their overall record back over .500? Will it all come down that 3 game set against Fullerton next month?
 A: 

Aaron Fitt: Doug, the problem is UCLA's overall record. The Bruins have played a hellish schedule and could very well finish the year with a number of very impressive quality wins, but the committee is unlikely to take a team that failed to win 30 games. Just look at Oregon State last year: the Beavers won five series against teams that were either No. 1 or No. 2 seeds in regionals, but they were just 28-24 overall and 61st in the RPI. UCLA is 19-21 overall and 68th in the RPI. You've got to figure UCLA must get 30 wins just to have a chance; that would mean winning 11 of their last 16 games, which would still put them just four games over .500, just as Oregon State was a year ago. If the committee said no to the two-time defending champs, it seems unlikely they'll say yes to UCLA with a similar resume. I think the Bruins need to win 13 or 14 of their last 16 to really feel good about their chances.

 Q:  Johnny Reb from Gods Country asks:
What SEC teams do you see hosting after this weekend? The Rebels had 27,000 people in attendance over the weekend. That is pretty Strong!! Hotty Toddy!!
 A: 

Aaron Fitt: LSU is a lock. The way I see it, Georgia, Arkansas and Ole Miss are competing for two or three host sites; it is certainly possible all four could host.

 Q:  Nick from Fort Worth, TX asks:
How impressive was TCU's series win over San Diego State? What do they need to accomplish in the coming weeks to be able to host a regional?
 A: 

Aaron Fitt: That was a huge series, no doubt. Coupled with Baylor's sudden slide, I think that series win gives TCU a real chance to host. Winning that upcoming midweek game against Texas A&M would be a huge boost to those hosting hopes, as it would at least slightly improve TCU's lousy record against Big 12 teams.

 Q:  Ryan from Albuquerque asks:
With consecutive conference series loses to New Mexico and TCU do you still see San Diego State as a #2 seed in a regional as you had them in your predicted field of 64? Also, would New Mexico have had any consideration for this week's top 25 if Saturday's game wouldn't have been called due to rain after four innings and a 9-3 lead at BYU.
 A: 

Aaron Fitt: Right now, San Diego State has been downgraded from No. 2 seed to bubble status. It will be tough for the fourth-place team in the MWC to get an at-large bid, and the Aztecs already have eight conference losses. And if New Mexico had been able to win that series against BYU, the Lobos would certainly have made a strong push to get back into the rankings.

 Q:  Craig from Canada asks:
USA Baseball announced the first 17 of 36 invitees to the 2009 USA Baseball National Team Trials. What do you think of their first selections and how do you think this year's team will stack up against last year's undefeated team?
 A: 

Aaron Fitt: It's a great group. In particular, I really love all the power arms they've got lined up. Last year's team went on that amazing 24-0 run on the strength of its power pitching, and this team looks like it will be constructed similarly.

 Q:  Paul R from Southern California asks:
It sure looks like UCLA is giving the PAC-10 a run for its money, after sweeping Washington last weekend and taking 2 out of 3 from Oregon State this weekend. Are you sure you want to count them out of playoffs just yet?
 A: 

Aaron Fitt: Yeah, but losing back-to-back series to Washington State and Stanford the two weeks before really, really hurt. And I don't like the Bruins' chances of padding their overall record in those last seven games against Fullerton, Irvine and Arizona State.

 Q:  Tim from Texas asks:
How could you possibly have Baylor ranked ahead of Texas A&M? Texas A&M won the head-to-head, have more total wins, and are six spots in front of Baylor in the conference standings? The first place team in a conference shouldn't be ranked behind four other teams in their own conference.
 A: 

Aaron Fitt: Why not? That conference is all bunched together at the top. If you want a poll that just changes every time one team takes a half-game lead over another in the conference standings, what do you need us for? Just look at the conference standings. Baylor has been much more consistent than A&M all year long until the last six games. We hit Baylor 8 spots in the rankings after this tough stretch, but Baylor's credentials are still pretty similar to A&M's. Baylor has played 11 games against top 25 teams and won five of them, while A&M is 4-3 against the top 25. I do believe A&M is the better team and is more likely to get to Omaha, however.

 Q:  Hayden Casson from Ocala, FL asks:
How does the sweep of South Carolina this past weekend help the Gators for a regional host and how do you think they will fare against Georgia and LSU in the upcoming weeks?
 A: 

Aaron Fitt: This weekend kept Florida's hosting hopes alive, but the Gators need to win one or both of those series to have a shot at it. I don't particularly like their chances to do that.

Aaron Fitt: Got a phone call, so I'll have to cut this short. Have a good week, everyone.