College Top 25 Chat: May 14
Hi everybody. Only one more Monday chat
left this season after today — time does fly. Hope everybody had a good
week 13 and a happy Mother's Day. Let's chat!
Terry (Houston): Would taking 2 out of 3 from Central Florida and winning the CUSA tournament guarantee a National seed for Rice?
I wouldn't say "guarantee," no, but I think
the Owls stand a pretty good chance to snag a national seed under that
scenario. Lose this weekend and I think their national seed hopes are
Joel (Baltimore, MD): As a Beaver it's hard to
take, but the Ducks are cruising. Do they, though, have the arms to get
them to Omaha? Is the depth in the pitching staff sufficient?
Well, I have questioned Oregon's pitching
depth all season, but the Ducks have actually handled themselves quite
well every time they've had to deal with a five-game week (like two
weeks ago, when they went 4-1 on the road against Gonzaga and Arizona).
Also, they're likely to be home in regionals and supers, and if they can
stay in the winner's bracket in regionals, they could get to Omaha
without having to use more than three starting pitchers. The bullpen
depth is good enough, with Tommy Thorpe and Joey Housey setting up
Jimmie Sherfy. You can make a very deep postseason run using just five
or six guys (that's what South Carolina did last year, for instance, and
it's what the Beavers typically did during their title years, too).
Tom (Columbia, SC): South Carolina's overall
record is 38-13 and they are 11-10 in one-run games. Does the
tournament selection committee take into account the fact that South
Carolina has lost 10 of 13 games by one-run when selecting the top eight
national seeds? I know we have a lot of work to do this week. Thanks
for taking my question.
I don't think so — ultimately, a loss is a loss. But South Carolina is sitting pretty regardless.
David (Thousand Oaks): Aaron ... Curious as to
the logic behind Fullerton being ranked ahead of UCLA. UCLA has beaten
Fullerton head-to-head, has a stronger RPI, a better overall record, a
significantly better record against Top 25 and plays in a conference
that is on a different planet than Fullerton in terms of strength.
Additionally, UCLA has taken series series against your #7 (previous
#2), 14, 15, 18 and 23 ranked teams. Six teams from the Pac12 are in
your Top 25 while there is not another Big West team close to the Top 25
so the grind and success of UCLA is dominant by all measures it seems.
There are a lot of impressive things about
UCLA's season, and certainly I'd be comfortable with the Bruins being
ranked higher. But they also have four series losses (tied with LSU for
most of any team in our top 24), while the Titans haven't lost a series
since the first weekend at Florida. Yes, UCLA's conference schedule is
much more rigorous, of course. But Fullerton really, really tested
itself in the preconference, going to Gainesville (and winning a game),
going to Texas A&M (and winning the series), hosting TCU (and
winning that series), going to Arizona State for two midweeks (and
splitting those). The Titans did everything they could to play a strong
schedule and handled that schedule with remarkable aplomb, and they have
taken care of business in their conference without any hiccups. No need
to penalize Fullerton for playing in a weaker conference when the
Titans have proven they can hang with the big boys.
jb (SC): Where do you see Clemson falling in thr post season?
A No. 2 seed in a regional. But not in
Columbia, since everyone tells me that would result in some kind of
apocalypse any time I have the audacity to suggest it as a
Pat (Chicago): Since everyone else will
undoubtedly be asking about bubbles/ seeding, I thought I'd mix it up a
little. Do you think the transfer rule requiring a player to sit out a
year has been a good thing for college baseball? I'm a Tulane fan and,
thus, biased since our program was the beneficiary of some outstanding
transfers over the years - but I'll look at it from the opposite vantage
point..doesn't it seem inequitable that a kid on 25% scholarship at a
pricey school like Tulane is penalized for transferring when he and his
family might be be paying 30K in tuition for him to sit on the bench?
Any chance this rule will ever be changed back? I'm curious about your
Thanks for the change of pace, Pat! The
fact that baseball is not a full-scholarship sport is nettlesome when it
comes to the transfer rules. The reason the NCAA started requiring
teams to give players at least a 25 percent scholarship was so it could
justify eliminating the one-time transfer exemption, but really that is
just a fig leaf. A 25-percent scholarship is a drop in the bucket for a
player at an expensive private school, and you're right that it is
rather unfair to restrict that player's movements. This was a compromise
solution aimed at fixing baseball's APR, and it has accomplished that
goal, so any negative repercussions have been swept under the rug. Along
those same lines, I can't imagine the transfer rule ever being
Scott (Virginia): Aaron - let's talk conference
tournies. Am I wrong to think that the selection committee undervalues
them? I feel the same way about the basketball selection committee. As
an example, if NC State wins the ACC tourney, would they still be on the
outside looking in at a natl seed (assuming the teams ahead of them
finish the regular season strong)?
I have very mixed opinions about the value
of conference tournaments. On the one hand, it's great that it gives a
team that hasn't had an at-large caliber season some hope that it can
still get hot at the right time and play its way into a regional. On the
other hand, I don't like the idea of overvaluing one weekend at the
expense of an entire 14-week body of work. I think a conference
tournament title in a major conference like the ACC should have some
weight if a team is on the borderline of hosting or getting a national
seed, but you are right that the committee doesn't seem to work that way
(Virginia getting shipped to Irvine after winning the ACC tourney in
2009 comes to mind). Conference tournaments should be a factor in the
committee's deliberations, just not an overriding factor, if that makes
Francis (Chicago): Aaron,
I appreciated your foreshadowing last week, which probably led to
several clicks on your site from Tulane people wanting to know about the
If Tulane can finish third in CUSA are they in the tournament regardless
of their RPI? If not, how many games in the conference tourney do they
have to win? They had a rough weekend injury wise and if the weather
hadn't intervened probably would have swept.
I'm looking at SELA as the bogey team to beat for a spot, and though
they have a better RPI, we own 3-0 advantage on them this year.
Maybe I should start pandering for page
views more often! (OK maybe not — nobody wants an all-SEC chat. Well,
except for the SEC...) Anyway, losing Cannizaro hurts — Rick Jones has
raved about the impact he has had on the infield defensively. I don't
think finishing in third place in C-USA is enough with that RPI. Tulane
is going to have to bolster its case with some good wins in the
conference tournament, I think. The margin for error is so slim with
Tulane that it probably hurt its cause more than helped it by winning
two out of three against Houston — it really needed a sweep. But again,
I'm not sure I'll be able to find 64 teams with stronger cases in
tomorrow's Stock Report. Maybe this is one of those screwy years where
the committee places less emphasis on the RPI (I, for one, would welcome
that). We'll see...
Chicago Boiler (Chicago): Is there a better
college baseball story this weekend than the Purdue Boilermakers winning
their first Big Ten title since 1909? Boiler up!!!!
I think that's got my vote. Congratulations
to the Boilermakers finally getting that monkey off their backs —
that's got to feel good.
Donnell (Seattle): Aaron, how can you drop LSU
six spots when they gave the series away and then they had exams the
same week and had no mid-week games. LSU is better than some of the
teams ahead of them and you punish them for one bad weekend in a long
Well only two teams in our top 24 have lost
four weekend series: LSU and UCLA. Now they are ranked near each other.
Those teams have pretty similar resumes — they've had great seasons
and won a lot of big series against very good opponents, but they've
also had some hiccups (granted most have been against good teams, but a
series loss is a series loss). And this weekend, LSU lost a home series
against a team that was below .500 entering the weekend. So yeah, it's a
little harsh to drop six spots after a 1-2 week, but Oregon deserved to
move up (as the Pac-12 leader, which has won series at Stanford, at
UCLA, at Arizona and swept Arizona State), and Fullerton did not deserve
to drop, which is how LSU wound up at No. 9.
Steve (Greenville, SC): Well, If only 3 SEC
teams get a national seed who is left out? Is the loser of the USC-LSU
series going to be left out or if Kentucky loses 2 of 3 at Miss State
are they left out? Funny how the lock Florida is the 3rd place team in
the East. 4th overall in the SEC....
It's weird, isn't it? You can make
compelling cases for all four, and you can also construct arguments
against all four. South Carolina is the hottest team, but it lost the
head-to-head series against the best teams it has played, Kentucky and
Florida. The Gators have the best RPI and a ridiculous 16-9 record
against the top 25 in the RPI, but as you mentioned they are in fourth
place. LSU is leading the West, has a robust RPI and a series win at
Florida, but it also has four series losses, most of any of these teams.
Kentucky is in first place overall but played the softest nonconference
schedule, lost the head-to-head against the Gators (but beat the Tigers
and Gamecocks), and is the lowest in the RPI. You could drive yourself
crazy trying to sort this out. Still, the Gators are just about a lock,
and the team that wins the SEC should be a lock as well. If that is
Kentucky, that would mean LSU and South Carolina might be playing for a
national seed... or maybe all four of them will get one. There is still
Ted (Earlysville, VA): U VA had some big holes
to fill from last season, yet are playing great ball and seem to be
peaking at the right time. What do you think of the job Coach O'Connor
and his staff have done, and their chances of hosting a regional?
A characteristically stellar coaching job
by one of the best coaching staffs in the business. That team really got
better as the season progressed, and now they are right in the mix to
host a regional. I'll break down their chances in detail in tomorrow's
Stock Report, but I will add that I really didn't expect Virginia to be
in the mix to host a regional about 8 weeks ago.
love these chats (so cal): A few
quesation...USD or Pepperdine to win the WCC? Are both teams safe to
get an at large if they don't win the conference title? Do you like
that they got rid of the best of 3 series to win the conference? And
how do you see those teams in the post season?
I'm going to stick with the Toreros, my
pick all season long, but it really could go either way. Looks like it
will come down to that series in Malibu in two weeks, and Pepperdine has
played well down the stretch, winning their last five series. I think
USD is more offensive but Pepperdine is better defensively, especially
up the middle. It should be a good matchup, and I think both teams
ultimately to wind up in regionals—
where I think USD has the higher
ceiling, but I wouldn't pick either team to win a regional at this stage
(though one of them could get hot). The WCC is actually going to a real
conference tournament starting next year, and the coaches seem excited
Mike (Dallas): Any chance TCU hosts a regional if they win out regular season and MWC Tournament?
I don't think so — just too many teams to leapfrog, if you'll pardon the pun.
Nick DiCo (Raleigh, NC): A long distance hello
all the way from Raleigh! My question is, what will be a better sign of
how good/dangerous NC State is in Regional & Super Regional
(hopefully) play - this upcoming weekend series against #1 Florida State
in Tallahassee or the ACC Championship Series in Greensboro? Thanks!
I put more stock in weekend series than
conference tournaments, where the schedule is completely different and
teams aren't in their usual rhythm. If you can win a three-games series
against a good club in a hostile location, you are good enough to make a
deep postseason run. But if NC State doesn't win this series in
Tallahassee, it doesn't disqualify the Wolfpack as a legit postseason
contender. The 'Pack won't have to go through Tallahassee in the NCAA
tournament, of course.
Greg (Los Angeles, CA): Has Gelalich played himself into late first round contention? First team all american possibilities?
No for first-round consideration, yes for
first-team All-America contention. Scouts like him as more of a
second/third-rounder for this draft.
Dave (Jackson, MS): I assume Kentucky, LSU,
Florida, and South Carolina are locks to host, but what are the chances
the SEC gets a fifth site and what must Ole Miss do over the next 10-12
days to be that host?
Ole Miss is still an outside possibility,
but it's awfully crowded. I think the Rebels need to basically win out
and have a strong showing in Hoover, and they need a lot of help from
other teams faltering. Last week, I had Stanford, Virginia and Arizona
as my last three hosts; I would still have those three teams ahead of
Ole Miss, and I'd have Texas A&M and UCF ahead of the Rebels as
well. So really, you'd need three of those five teams to finish poorly
to have a chance, the way I see it.
Keith (Long Island): did st johns lose any chance of an at large bid by losing the series against louisville?
I won't go so far as to say the Johnnies
are completely out of the at-large race, because they are still leading
the Big East and are still in the 50s in the RPI. But Ed Blankmeyer said
last week that he knew the last two weeks would basically decide his
team's at-large fate, so losing the Louisville series was a big blow.
Josh (Mobile, AL): Hey Aaron, say South
Carolina takes 2 of 3 from LSU, regardless of how the East shakes out,
will they be a lock for a National Seed? Or will the committee want to
reward LSU for winning the weaker West? Also, FSU goes 1—3 and they're
still #1? They're 0-3 against UF and haven't played a weekend series
against a top-10 caliber team yet this season.
I have to imagine whichever team wins that
SC-LSU series will be a national seed, period. If South Carolina loses
that series, I think it will find itself outside of the top 8 because it
will have lost series against the SEC's other big 3. In that scenario,
LSU, Kentucky and Florida will all be 2-1 in series against the other
big 3. That is a clear separator. As for Florida State — this was a
tough week to decide No. 1. None of us loved keeping FSU there after a
1-3 week, and we entertained five total candidates for the top spot. Had
South Carolina swept its two games against Georgia, it would have
likely been No. 1, but a split wasn't quite enough to dislodge a team
that was utterly dominating the ACC and still hadn't lost a series all
year as of our meeting this morning (and FSU then proceeded to lose the
first game of today's doubleheader, so that series streak is over... but
hindsight is 20/20).
Rick M. (Nashville, Ill.): The Billikens from
Saint Louis University have 37 wins (still have four regular-season
games remaining) and will be the No. 1 seed at the A-10 Championship.
Their RPI is not the best, but if they were to advance to the A-10 title
game and lose, any chance at an at-large bid?
Afraid not — that's the reality of life in
the A-10, and Billikens coach Darin Hendrickson knows it (he
acknowledged as much last week in our Weekend Preview). Saint Louis is
No. 137 in the RPI, and you have zero chance of getting an at-large spot
if you are outside the top, say, 65 (and even teams outside the top 50
are generally viewed as real long shots).
LMU Lion (Joplin, MO): The WCC picture is
slightly muddled, and LMU will hopefully screw things up even more by
creeping up and winning the title. Now that Gonzaga has floundered, we
are most likely not looking at three teams in the postseason, are we?
And speaking of LMU, their young Friday and Saturday starters are making
me optimistic about the future.
Indeed, Gonzaga is trending in the wrong
direction, and I think they'll be on the wrong side of the bubble in
tomorrow's Stock Report, thus making the WCC a two-bid league barring
LMU crashing the party. But yes, you should feel very good about LMU's
future. We ranked their recruiting class in the top 25 this fall, and
those freshmen are backing up the accolades. Welmon and Megill are
already very good — they will be even better in the next two years.
OK folks, that's it for today. Thanks for stopping by, as always!