College Top 25 Chat: May 21

 Q:  Matt from Hattiesburg, MS asks:
do you think Southern Miss locked up the 3rd C-USA bid after sweeping
Houston this past weekend? I know you had said that the 3rd bid was
between HoustonUSMMemphis, but I just don’t see how UH or Memphis could
get in over USM (who has a RPI of 20 and a SOS of 29). Also, they have
won 10 in a row, how do you think they will do in the C-USA Tourny?

Aaron Fitt:
Good afternoon everybody, welcome to the college chat. It was a fun
weekend in college baseball, and the postseason picture is starting to
clear up. One league that has really cleared up is CUSA, where Rice,
ECU and Southern Miss are likely to be the three NCAA tournament
representatives, unless some other team runs through the conference
tournament. I do think Southern Miss locked up a regional berth this
weekend with that impressive sweep of Houston, and you’ve got to feel
pretty good about the Golden Eagles’ chances heading into Greenville.
There’s an opportunity here for SMU to secure a No. 2 seed in a
regional and maybe even host.

 Q:  John from Hooville, Va asks:
Who do you think will take the Player of the Year, Pitcher of the Year, and Rookie of the Year for the ACC?

Aaron Fitt:
The awards were actually revealed this morning. Florida State’s Tony
Thomas and Bryan Henry were the big winners (and deservedly so),
winning player of the year and pitcher of the year, respectively. UNC’s
Dustin Ackley was the no-brainer choice for rookie of the year.

 Q:  Justin from Tucson asks:
After Arizona’s sweep of washington, how are the cat’s their chances of hosting a regional looking?

Aaron Fitt:
Arizona’s chances got a major boost this weekend from Riverside
sweeping Long Beach. At this point, you’ve got to figure Arizona State
and San Diego are locks to host, so there will certainly be at least
one more regional site out west, but probably not more than that. Long
Beach had the inside track before getting swept this weekend, and I
think the Dirtbags still have the inside track, but if they lose their
Fullerton series next weekend, that could be in jeopardy. That opens
the door for Arizona, provided it holds its own against Arizona State.
The Wildcats did lose three straight conference series before this past
weekend, so I’m not awfully enthusiastic about them, either. But with
UCLA fading and Oregon State falling apart, there doesn’t look like
another logical West Coast site.

 Q:  Jason from SC asks:
consistent as Vanderbilt has been all year, Clemson has been just as
inconsistent. Do you think the talent at Clemson has dropped off that
much since Tim Corbin left or they just that young? Obviously Corbin
has raised the talent level and expectations at Vanderbilt.

Aaron Fitt:
I really don’t think Corbin has anything to do with what’s gone on at
Clemson. The talent level has not dropped off a wink (don’t forget,
Clemson was in Omaha last year) under recruiting coordinator Kevin
O’Sullivan, one of the hardest-working and most talented recruiters out
there. I just think the Tigers have struggled to hit consistently,
partly because of injuries and partly because of an abundance of
inexperienced freshmen.

 Q:  Dave from Austin,Texas asks:
What will it take for Ole Miss to get a host site at this point and what do you think of their post season chances?

Aaron Fitt:
The Rebels are in good shape to host, especially with Mississippi State
scuffling to the finish line. Winning that Arkansas series on the road
was huge, and I think it gives Ole Miss a little leeway heading into

 Q:  Steve from Houston asks:
Please advise your thoughts on the Southland Conference Tournament.
Who are the top players in the Southland and what round do you expect them to go in the MLB draft?

Aaron Fitt:
UTSA has been awesome, the best team in the league this season, but I
consider Lamar the favorite in the conference tournament thanks to its
superior talent. Collin Delome and Michael Ambort are a formidable
one-two punch in that Lamar lineup, the two best prospects in the

 Q:  Kevin from Morrisville asks:
Are there any teams that you think have locked up a national seed, regardless of the outcome of the conference tournaments?

Aaron Fitt:
I’d say Rice, Vanderbilt, Texas, and Florida State have locked up
national seeds regardless of what happens. North Carolina is right
there as well, assuming it doesn’t go 0-3 in Jacksonville; Arizona
State is probably safe unless it goes 0-3 against Arizona; and San
Diego is probably in decent shape, although winning that WCC title
series against Gonzaga will be important, I think. That leaves one spot
for Virginia, Coastal Carolina, South Carolina, Long Beach State or

 Q:  Vijay Ramakrishnan from Cerritos, CA asks:
What do you think are the chances that UC Irvine will host a region in the first round Regionals?

Aaron Fitt:
I neglected to mention UCI earlier, but the Anteaters might actually be
in the best position to earn that third West Coast regional site. If
Irvine wins that series against Riverside, chances are it will win the
Big West, and as such I think it will be deserving of a host site. That
would be a nice showcase for the brand new Newkirk Pavilion. If
Riverside wins that series, it’s really a toss-up between Irvine, Long
Beach and Arizona. Fullerton has also submitted a bid to host, but that
seems pretty unlikely given the Titans’ position in the conference

 Q:  Scott from Omaha, NE asks:
finishing the season strong by winning 5 of it’s last 6 weekend series,
how do you see the postseason shaping up for Nebraska?? Any shot at
sneaking through a regional with the great pitching of Sunday starter
Luke Wertz?

Aaron Fitt:
That’s five of its last conference series — there was also a loss to
Coastal Carolina mixed in there. I think Nebraska has probably played
its way into a regional, barring something unexpected happening in the
conference tournament. It’s been a tumultuous year in Lincoln, and give
Mike Anderson and his staff credit for guiding his team to a fairly
strong finish despite the distractions.

 Q:  Pete Smith from Carmel, Ca asks:
and simple what is your opinion on two stuggling teams in Cal State
Fullerton and Oregon State? Are their postseason hopes washed away with
the series losses this past weekend?

Aaron Fitt:
Oregon State is all but done–the Beavers really need to sweep that
series at UCLA next week just to get back into the discussion. Those
guys are in eighth place in the league right now — not good at all. I
think Fullerton will still get in, though — that road series win at
Wichita State a couple of weeks ago was huge. I’d feel better about
saying that if the Titans can finish in the top four in the league,
which probably means winning that Long Beach series next weekend.

 Q:  Brandon from Tuscaloosa, Al asks:
What does Bama need to do to make a regional?

Aaron Fitt:
First of all, Alabama had to reach the SEC tournament, and it did so.
Now, the Tide is probably safe, but winning at least one game in Hoover
would go a long way toward solidifying that.

 Q:  Matthew from Gilbert,AZ asks:
ASU, and UofA playing such an important series this week do you think
that the Wednesday-Friday slate will effect either teams pitching more
than the other? Do the Devils need one, or two wins to clinch a Super
Regional at Packard?

Aaron Fitt:
I like ASU’s top four or five arms, but Arizona has more pitching
depth, so the schedule probably favors the Wildcats. One with for ASU
clinches the Pac-10 title outright, and my gut says that would also
clinch a national seed.

 Q:  Andrea from Philadelphia asks:
ACC teams do you see getting into the tournament? Also, what do you
think about the change in format of the ACC tournament from double
elimination to round robin?

Aaron Fitt:
I think the top seven teams in the ACC all get in. Despite Wake
Forest’s solid RPI, I just don’t think the Deacons have a regional
resume–their conference series wins have come against Virginia Tech,
Duke and Maryland, in addition to an early series win over Virginia.
With a sub-.500 conference record, I think Wake’s got some work to do
in Jacksonville. As for the format, I think it was a brilliant idea for
the ACC. It assures every team at least three games, safeguarding
against a two-and-out weekend sabotaging a team’s NCAA tournament
standing. Granted, if somebody goes 0-3, that will hurt more…

 Q:  Kevin Bowers from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida asks:
what you thuoght about Miami winning 9 of 10 and with there starting
pitching being very strong lately. Any any chance of them hosting if
they advance in the ACC Tourney?? Thanks you do a great job.

Aaron Fitt:
That was a strong finish, but frankly it’s exactly what we expected
Miami to do against Wright State, Wake Forest and Duke. The Hurricanes
might be able earn a host site if they can win the ACC tourney, but
anything less than that probably won’t cut it.

 Q:  Dougie from Miami asks:
had a good stretch to end the regular season. Traveled to Virgina &
got a win then took 2 out of 3 from Big South rival Winthrop (which
gave them the Big South reg season title). Is Coastal hosting a
If so, what 3 other teams do you see traveling to Mrytle Beach?

Aaron Fitt:
Coastal is definitely a regional host, though it’s too early to say who
will be joining them in Myrtle Beach. The Chanticleers are right in the
thick of the race for the last national seed as well, thanks to a
top-10 RPI.

 Q:  Harry from Jackson, MS asks:
can you have Ole Miss unranked? The SOS is one of the toughest, RPI is
in the top 20 all year, and they took 2 of 3 from S Carolina, Arkansas,
and MSU. What gives? Also, what do you think about OM going to Omaha?

Aaron Fitt:
The Rebels lost back-to-back series against Tennessee and Kentucky
before this week. We talked about ranking Ole Miss this morning, but
I’d like to see more consistency out of a top 25 team. I do think this
team is talented enough — especially on the mound — and
battle-hardened enough to make a deep postseason run.

 Q:  Justin from Dallas, TX asks:
Aaron, thanks for taking my questions. What do you think are Baylor’s
chances of getting into a regional? They did what they absolutely had
to do this weekend in sweeping Kansas State, and with a little help
from Texas Tech beating OU on Sunday they were able to move into 6th in
the conference. Do you think that a 6th place finish, an RPI around 30
and a strong strength of schedule will be enough?

Aaron Fitt:
The way I see it, Baylor’s pretty much in the same boat as Wake Forest
— strong RPI but sub-.500 conference record and mediocre overall
record. Both teams have some work to do in the conference tournaments
to get in.

 Q:  Jon from Chapel Hill asks:
haven’t seen much about UNC closer Andrew Carignan. Where does he stand
among the nation’s elite? He’s with a strong junior class at UNC. How
many of those juniors do you see going in the draft this June?

Aaron Fitt:
He really hasn’t gotten as much attention as he deserves, considering
he truly has blossomed into one of the nation’s elite closers. His
numbers are otherwordly — 11 saves, a 1.35 ERA — and he earned
first-team all-ACC honors. Scouts have also been very impressed with
him — he’s legitimately in the mid-90s and his secondary stuff has
improved considerably from a year ago. What a weapon for UNC in the pen.

 Q:  Josh from Pittsburgh, Pa asks:
Aaron, BIG Noles fan here up north..quick questions, Are you in favor
of the “Round Robin Style” format being used in ACC and Big 12
Tournies??? Also, are you still sticking by Clemson and Oregon State as
part of your Omaha Eight,..especially after OSU getting swept AGAIN??

Aaron Fitt:
Uh, no. You can’t blame me for making a last-ditch effort to stick by
my preseason guns — my job is to make bold pronouncements, after all,
and sometimes those just don’t pan out. The Beavers are in a ton of
trouble, but I do think Clemson still has a chance to make a run
because of its pitching depth. That said, this doesn’t feel like an
Omaha team…

 Q:  Parker from Little Rock,AR asks:
With Arkansas losing their last 3 weekend series, what regional site do you see them ending up in?

Aaron Fitt:
The Hogs can still host — they still finished second in the SEC,
despite the poor performance over the last few weeks. I’d like to see a
few wins in Hoover, though.

 Q:  Jon from Charlotte, NC asks:
Greetings, if South Carolina wins the SEC Tourney are they a national seed?

Aaron Fitt: No question. Winning the SEC tournament would be a trump card over other would-be national seeds like Coastal.

 Q:  Bill from Atlanta, GA asks:
knew you wouldn’t push FSU to 1st since Vandy also won, but seeing them
humiliate my Yellow Jackets was the scariest thing I’ve seen in a
while. FSU looks awesome. My worry is that Tech is now a bubble team
after winning only once in the last two weekends. Do we need to make
some serious noise at the ACC to avoid being left out?

Aaron Fitt:
I think Tech is safe because it finished above .500 in the very good
ACC. It helps that leagues like the SEC and Pac-10 aren’t overflowing
with deserving regional candidates.

 Q:  Matty from NYC asks:
heres a D3 question for you. Now that Stevens Point is back in the
College World Series do you see their star player Jordan Zimmermann
going higher in the draft then originally predicted????

Aaron Fitt:
Zimmerman missed time this year with a broken jaw and having his wisdom
teeth pulled, so it will help him to have the opportunity to keep on
pitching. He’s been in the low 90s this year with a plus slider, and he
figures to be drafted around the second or third round.

Aaron Fitt: That’s all for today. Enjoy the conference tournaments.