College Chat With Will Kimmey

Q:  Steven from Corvallis, OR asks:
Besides the pitching staff, whos the best prospect on Oregon States roster?

Will Kimmey:
Welcome everyone. It’s hard to figure out what excites me more today,
the apex of the college baseball nearing, or the season finale of 24

Will Kimmey: Junior OF Cole Gillespie is your
answer here, as his 10 home runs have provided much needed offensive
sock to the Beavers pitching-and-defense formula.

 Q:  Joe from Houston asks:
is your projection on the eight protected seeds? How much impact will
conference tournaments have on the selection? Thanks.

Will Kimmey:
The conference tournaments have proven very important in recent years.
Just using the SEC as an example, South Carolina was the No. 3 team in
that league during the regular season in 2004, won the SEC tournament
and ended up the No. 2 national seed. Mississippi was tied for second
last year, went to the final of the SEC tournament and earned a No. 5
national seed. For now, here’s what I’ve got, in order: Rice, Clemson,
Alabama, Texas, North Carolina, Cal State Fullerton, Oregon State all
seem very safe. The last spot likely goes to whichever of Kentucky or
Georgia does the best in the SEC tourney, or maybe fast-rising Oklahoma
State if it can win the Big 12 tournament or reach the final. G.Tech
and UVa also have shots if either can win the ACC, and there’s an
outside shot for Oklahoma and Nebraska, but they’d likely need to win
the Big 12 event, same for Arkansas in the SEC.

 Q:  Diamond Dons Fan from West Coast (The better baseball coast) asks:
do you think with USF starting rotation of Scott Cousin (Top 2 round
talent for draft) Aaron Poreda (2007 possible 1st rounder) and Pat
Mcguigan (Possible all-america 2006 candiate) they can make some noise
in a regional and win?

Will Kimmey:
Those guys have combined for 22 wins and an aggregate ERA near 2.70, so
clearly that’s why San Francisco has made it this far. It’s a fair to
predict USF staying out West if it makes the NCAA tournament, and it
deserves to get in. But all the arms are out West, and I’d like
Fullerton or Oregon State’s starters much better in a regional against
USF. Same for UCLA, which is also in the mix out there. Getting paired
with Arizona State, which has struggled to come up with enough solid
arms to get through a weekend in three of the last four series, would
be the best bet for a USF upset. I’d actually like the Dons’ chances
more if they got shipped East, where their stylistic differences might
cause more troubles for an opponent more used to slugging the ball
around the park.

 Q:  david from mississippi asks:
Will, how far does ole miss have to go in the s.e.c tournament in order to host a regional?
Also do you think Presley and Coghlan will be drafted high enough to leave ole miss after their junior years?

Will Kimmey:
Mississippi is behind Kentucky, Alabama and Georgia in the pecking
order for now, and right there with Arkansas for a possible 4th SEC
host site. I’d say it needs to advance to at least the semifinals, and
getting to the final like last year would make it feel safe. Coghlan
looks like a cinch to sign, because he’s going to be at least a top
five rounds guy. Presley could go either way, depending on where he’s

 Q:  Sean from Fullerton asks:
many teams will the Big West Conference get into the NCAA playoffs? If
Fullerton can sweep Long Beach will that keep the Dirtbags out of the

Will Kimmey:
The Big West always gets underrated come NCAA selection time. But LB
picked a bad year to struggle. Getting swept would put it no worse than
a tie with UC Irvine, which it beat in an earlier series, but it would
also mean a record too close to .500 for my liking out of a tournament
team. It needs to win the series to feel safe on selection day. UC
Irvine also has a strong case for selection as it should finish over
.500 in the league and has played against and beaten very solid
competition this year.

 Q:  Rick from Jacksonville asks:
Will, can you ever remember the state of Florida not having a team in the top 25? Wow.

Will Kimmey:
I hadn’t actually thought about it that way, but you’re right. As much
as some like to believe, we don’t really look at specific states or
regions or conferences when putting together the rankings. It’s
normally something that jumps out once the order is complete. But we’re
probably looking at the first year in a very long time where there
might be no NCAA tournament games anywhere in that state. None of the
teams there have done anything to merit that benefit.

 Q:  derek from VA Tech asks:
I guess I’ll ask the default question… who are your CWS teams right now, and whose your dark horse?

Will Kimmey:
Rice, Clemson, North Carolina, Texas, Oregon State, Georgia, Alabama,
Notre Dame. Take Tulane, UCLA and Pepperdine as upset picks. Let’s give
the title to Texas, as we did in the preseason. Fullerton’s absence is
based on Vinnie Pestano’s injury.

 Q:  Mike from San Antonio asks:
Will, we missed you last week. Right now it seems that most think
Houston is a “high #2” seed or possibly a #1 seed on the road. If they
win the C-USA tourney(beating Rice along the way)do they host? What
about making the tourney final?

Will Kimmey:
Remember, folks, in all these tournament scenarios it’s not your team
in a vaccuum, it’s what all the other teams clustered near it are doing
as well. It seems probable that Houston could play its way to a No. 1
seed by winning the CUSA tournament. It’s in range RPI-wise now, and
that’d be a nice cherry on top of its resume. Its record vs. the Top 25
isn’t all that exciting, so it probably needs that to jump from a 2 to
a 1. Getting to the final could be enough, but again it’s really going
to depend on how other power conference tournaments go as well. But as
the 2 seed in CUSA, Houston is sort of expected to advance to the
final, right?

 Q:  Sam from Missouri asks:
that the Missouri Tigers have come out strong and swept Texas, where do
you see them going through the rest of the season? And after Max
Scherzer’s strong start, can we expect him to move higher in the draft?

Will Kimmey:
That was Scherzer’s best start of the year, especially given the
competition, and it cued a huged series sweep for Missouri. It’s still
in the mid-50s RPI wise, so the Tigers might need another run to the
Big 12 tournament final, like in 2004, to get into regionals.
Otherwise, this past weekend simply confirmed to MLB clubs that
Scherzer’s healthy.

 Q:  Walt from Chicago asks:
Will– as always, great job this year with the college coverage. With
Rice and Clemson appearing to separate themselves somewhat from the
field heading into the conference tournaments and NCAA committee
selections, how would you assess the comparative strengths and weakness
of the Owls vs. Tigers?

Will Kimmey:
I like Clemson’s offense much better, despite all the runs Rice has
hung up against some of the dregs of CUSA lately. Rice plays better
defense. The pitching staffs are both very deep, but I like Rice’s
better if Savery gains enough strength to get back to starting and
going seven innings in an outing. If Rice wins the CUSA tournament, it
would make sense as the No. 1 national seed, with Clemson at No. 2.
Rice slipping just a little paired with Clemson’s winning or reaching
the final in the ACC could make a switch in those spots.

 Q:  Jake from NC asks:
It’s great to see Elon finally crack the top 25. Given their regular
season title, should there still be worry that if they (or College of
Charleston) don’t win the Southern Conference tourney they may not make
the regionals? Even though College of Charleston has fluttered lately,
they have been ranked all year.

Will Kimmey:
To my knowledge, the Division I baseball committee doesn’t take
rankings into their meetings, so how often a team is ranked won’t
matter, and if any rankings matter it’s the one at the time the
selections are made. CofC and Elon both should make the tournament,
though if a third team from their league becomes an upset SoCon tourney
winner, you could see Elon with the at-large and CofC watching.

 Q:  lee from indiana asks:
you see a possibility where the mvc could get more than one team in the
tourney? it would be a real shame if the 3rd place team in the
conference is the only team to get a bid, having lost 2 of 3 to the
conference champ, evansville–and sublett played in the series.

Will Kimmey:
Wichita State helped its at-large case with series sweeps over Long
Beach State and Southern California, though both of those teams are
more .500 teams that have played good schedules. But finishing third in
the MVC regular season might not be enough for WSU. No other team owns
the resume to become an at-large club. So it seems the tournament
winner could be the only team that makes it, though Evansville or
Wichita State might have cases if either reaches and loses in the final

 Q:  Ryan from LA, CA asks:
does UCLA get so little respect? They head into this weekend with a
shot at the Pac 10 title and are 8 games over .500 despite playing the
most difficult schedule in the nation according to Boyd’s World.
Arizona State seems to be a lock to host a regional and is ranked week
after week, but the Bruins only have 2 less wins and are ahead of them
in the Pac 10 and won the series against them. UCLA plays the toughest
teams and wins, yet they recieve no respect despite an impressive
resume. Doesn’t sound fair to me.

Will Kimmey:
If you think I don’t respect every team in the game, this is probably
your first day on our site. UCLA has narrowed the gap between the two
clubs and gets a crack at winning the league this weekend at Oregon
State. ASU is 10-3 in weekend series, and UCLA is 9-5. UCLA was
basically the last team out of the rankings this week. It’s 30-22,
which was a little closer to .500 for our liking based on what the
other teams that moved in did.

 Q:  Bill from Hoover, AL asks:
I know you do not have time to do it here, but I would appreciate an
article on who receives the automatic bid in the NCAA tourney from each
conference. In some cases it is the regular season winner, some it is
the tournament champion. I can’t keep it straight!

Will Kimmey:
The Big West and Pac-10 conferences are the only two leagues that award
their automatic bid to the regular season champ, which in my opinion
makes the most sense. Every other league gives its bid to the winner of
a tournament or championship series. We run a full rundown of dates,
qualifying rules and host sites in the Directory each year.

 Q:  Rick from Little Rock, AR asks:
are Regional Hosts selected? Do the schools submit a guaranteed dollar
amount to the NCAA? Also, what role does RPI play in the selection? Are
the top 8 seeds determined strictly by their ranking by the NCAA, and
does that mean they are automatically a host for the Regionals (and
Super Regionals if they win their Regional)?

Will Kimmey:
Schools must submit bids of at least $50,000 this year, up from $35,000
last year. Their parks need lights and must seat close to 3,000, though
some have snuck through with slightly less, such as Oregon State last
year. The No. 1 consideration is merit, meaning how good the team’s
year was. That probably holds true for the Top 10-12 host sites and
it’s possible (the committee won’t comment on specifics publically)
that the other factors help sort out the last four sites. Top national
seeds are basically stacked up in order of how good the committee deems
them (and RPI). Only one national seed since 1999 has played a single
game away from home before Omaha, and that was Arizona State in 2004, a
year in which it did not bid to host.

 Q:  Steve from Pullman, WA asks:
a regular season Big Ten Title, does Michigan need to win the tourney
or have they done enough already for an at-large? Also, how many Pac-10
teams will make the tourney?

Will Kimmey:
Michigan’s at 38-18 now, and that’s stout. I think a reasonable
showing, maybe semifinals or finals without winning could get the
Wolverines in. Heck, if they win the Big 10 tournament, you’ve got to
start comparing them with Notre Dame, whom they beat last Tuesday, as a
possible hosting No. 2 seed.

 Q:  Cory from Columbia, SC asks:
Who will be the best player to go to Omaha this year and have the chance to go back next year? My vote is Doolittle.

Will Kimmey:
Doolittle of Virginia, being a two-way guy is a good pick. You’ve also
really got to like Joe Savery at Rice, Nick Schmidt at Arkansas, Wes
Roemer at Fullerton, Josh Horton at North Carolina, any of the myriad
Texas freshmen, Josh Fields at Georgia, Matt Wieters of Ga Tech.

 Q:  Kevin from Boston,Ma asks:
not really a fan of either of these 3 teams, but this looks a little
fishy. How does Texas get swept at Missouri and only drop 3 spots?
Meanwhile Nebraska goes 2-2 on the week and drops 7 spots and ASU goes
1-2 on the week and drops 6?

Will Kimmey:
Remember, there’s no vaccuum. What teams do above and below matter as
far as rising and falling, so do trends. Nebraska has lost its last
three series, and ASU has lost three of its last four. And Texas, as
the Big 12 champ, rates higher to us than Virginia or Alabama because
that’s a stronger league.

 Q:  SD Fan from San Diego asks:
Will, thanks for taking my question: Can you see three bids from the WCC this year in light of the best ever RPI’s?

Will Kimmey:
If you stack up nonconference schedules and results, San Diego looks
like the best team in the WCC. But it has a lower RPI, worse record and
lower confernence finish than Pepperdine or San Francisco, and it’s
hard to see that as a three-bid league, especially if there are a few
upsets as far as automatic bids.

Will Kimmey: That’s all
the time we’ve got today. Thanks for stopping in and enjoy the league
tournaments this week, and 24 tonight. DO IT NOW!