Top 25 Chat: May 26

 Q:  Buddy Grimes from Georgia asks:
wish someone could please explain to me how UGA has stayed in the Top
10 and hosting after being ousted in two straight in the SEC
Tournament? It is crazy the way in all sports it is catered to SEC
teams when the ACC is by far the best in the nation. GT got shafted bad
I mean UGA won the regular season title and had a worse record then the
5th and 6th team in the ACC. Please tell me why this is happening this

Aaron Fitt:
Well, to be fair, the ACC is a much shallower conference than the SEC
— the conference records for Miami, UNC and Florida State are inflated
by all those games against the soft underbelly of the league. There are
no Virginia Tech-Boston College-Maryland type teams to pad your record
against in the SEC. I don’t think the SEC really got more than it
deserved — the SEC will only host two regionals compared to the ACC’s
four. The SEC stands out for its depth more than its top-end teams, and
as such I think it’s appropriate that nine SEC teams got into the
tournament. I don’t think Georgia really deserved a national seed after
the way it played the final two weekends — I would have gone with
Oklahoma State — but it’s not indefensible. Finishing first in that
conference during the regular season is really difficult.

 Q:  Andrew from Athens, GA asks:
Miami get the worst regional for the #1 ever? Ole Miss and Mizzou could
both knock out the Canes in my opinion and not be a shocker.

Aaron Fitt:
It’s utterly shocking how tough of a draw the Hurricanes got. John
Manuel and I talked about this on today’s podcast — North Carolina’s
road to Omaha is immeasurably smoother than Miami’s, yet Miami is the
tournament’s top seed. Missouri and Ole Miss are bona fide Omaha
contenders with a wealth of talent, particularly on the mound. And
Arizona, Michigan or Kentucky will be a challenging super-regional
matchup as well. Hard to believe how badly the Hurricanes got hosed
after the way they dominated all season long.

 Q:  e from charleston asks:
What do believe is the reason CofC gets left out for the second year in a row? Will this mark the end of the Pawlowski era?

Aaron Fitt:
I’ll get to this on the blog later — I spoke with Coach Pawlowski this
afternoon and he was understandably upset and confused. I really
believe CofC deserved to get in after finishing a close second in the
regular season in a conference that ranked eighth in the RPI, then
reaching the SoCon tournament championship game as well. Larry
Templeton has said the biggest thing that hurt the Cougars was winning
just three games against teams in the RPI top 75, but that’s a flimsy
excuse. But the only way the Pawlowski era ends in Charleston is if
somebody like Auburn lures him away, because he’s done a tremendous job
with that program.

 Q:  Rick from St. Louis, MO asks:
did Missouri get the worst draw? Not only do they have to be in with #1
seed in the field, but they have to face Lance Lynn in their first
game. And to top it off, aren’t they travelling the furthest of any 2

Aaron Fitt:
Well at least the Tigers can counter with Aaron Crow in that opener —
that’s got the makings of a classic pitching matchup. Unfortunately,
Missouri will probably have to face Miami in the next game if they win.
I might have taken Missouri all the way to Omaha in any other regional,
but that one’s going to be very tough. Check back later this week in
the special regional preview college podcast to get my picks and John
Manuel’s picks in all 16 regionals.

 Q:  Ryan from Katy asks:
Will P Ryan Berry of Rice ever consider getting a pair of contacts…or at least a pair of glasses not from the 1970’s?

Aaron Fitt: Why would he do that? Channeling Kyle Peterson has worked pretty nicely for him so far…

 Q:  drew from greenville,sc asks:
Coastal got a manageable regional what do you thing there chances of getting to a super regioinal or the world series.

Aaron Fitt:
It is a manageable regional, though I really do like that East Carolina
team. Still, this looks like the year the Chanticleers have a great
shot to break through and win a regional. As looking ahead to the
potential super-regional matchup, they’ve proven they can beat North
Carolina midweek, but I’m not as confident in their abilities to beat
power arms like Alex White and Matt Harvey. Harvey was unbelievable
this weekend in the ACC tournament, throwing heavy mid-90s heat, a
hammer curveball and even some very good changeups. If he’s finding his
stride, I don’t know that any team in the tournament is going to beat
North Carolina… if the bullpen holds up. You have to wonder if Rob
Wooten is starting to run out of gas. Coastal will need a healthy Bobby
Gagg to have a good shot.

 Q:  Brandon from Omaha asks:
are Nebraska’s chances of winning their regional, given their struggles
of late, and advancing to a super (most likely in Baton Rouge)? Thanks

Aaron Fitt:
I like Nebraska’s chances because the Huskers are just so very good at
home, but UC Irvine isn’t a great matchup for them. The Anteaters have
a very similar style of play to Nebraska, except they do it better. I
do like Nebraska’s experience on the mound, though. And the Huskers
probably won’t have to face Scott Gorgen, who will probably start UCI’s
opener against Oral Roberts (if the Anteaters are smart —
underestimating ORU would be a mistake). It should be a fun regional,
and I wouldn’t be surprised if Nebraska or Irvine wins it.

 Q:  Matt from Omaha asks:
feel my Titans recieved a great draw with a number 5 national seed.
Assuming they win their regional and Stanford wins theirs, what will it
take for Fullerton to beat the Cardinal? Can they do it? Hope to see
you guys at Titan House!

Aaron Fitt:
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves — Fullerton has a tough draw in its
regional. Titans fans love nothing better than deriding UCLA and John
Savage, and Fullerton has gotten the better of UCLA this season, but
the Bruins are playing well lately and are very dangerous. Virginia is
also playing its best baseball of the year down the stretch and should
have plenty of confidence after beating North Carolina and Florida
State at the ACC tournament. Fullerton is the favorite in that
regional, but it’s no cakewalk. If the Titans get out of their
regional, I like how they match up with Stanford.

 Q:  Tim from Northridge, Calif asks:
saw UC Davis play against Cal State Northridge all weekend. With good
starting pitching and an outstanding offense, can UC Davis win that
regional having owned the only standout, Stanford, in the regular

Aaron Fitt:
I think the Aggies can win that regional. They’re probably the most
dangerous 4 seed in the tournament — UC Davis and Fresno State are the
only No. 4 seeds capable of winning regionals, in my opinion. And I
don’t like Fresno’s chances in that loaded Long Beach regional without
Tanner Scheppers, so Davis has the best shot to carry the banner for
No. 4 seeds.

 Q:  Buzz from Dallas, TX asks:
seems like Texas can’t buy a break. Last year, as a national seed, the
committee sends them a top 10 team in UC-Irvine. This year, after
playing great ball down the stretch, they go from borderline host to
visiting a national seed in Rice. Legitimate gripe? Even Rice shouldn’t
be happy about this one after looking at A&M’s regional.

Aaron Fitt:
I’m certain neither the Owls nor the Longhorns are happy about it, but
I’m also not surprised — I had projected Texas as the No. 2 seed in
Houston last night. The reason is simple: the committee weights
geographic proximity more than anything when it comes to pairing No. 1
seeds with No. 2 seeds, which is why Georgia Tech was a lock to head to
Athens and Florida wound up in Tallahassee. A&M’s path is much,
much more user-friendly than Rice’s. I’m still surprised North Carolina
State is hosting and Texas is not, I thought Larry Templeton’s
explanation for that was flimsy as well.

 Q:  Javier from Santa Ana, Ca asks:
the Tyson Ross/ Brian Matusz the best pitching matchup in the
regionals. And, will Long Beach State be able to avoid, Ross, Matusz,
and Schreppers?

Aaron Fitt:
Considering Scheppers is on the shelf, it’s safe to assume the Dirtbags
got lucky, yes — although Justin Wilson is an awfully good pitcher in
his own right, and I’d much rather face the ace from any other No. 4
seed than him, with the possible exception of UC Davis’ Eddie Gamboa
and Stony Brook’s Tom Koehler. But to answer your other question, I do
think Ross-Matusz is the best pitching matchup of the opening set of
games, just ahead of Crow-Lynn. I’m also looking forward to Tim
Murphy-Pat McAnaney, Bradley Holt-Steven Hensley and Scott Gorgen-Jerry

 Q:  Rick from Los Angeles, CA asks:
Is UCLA really a 2 seed? I just want to thank the committee for going by preseason rankings.

Aaron Fitt:
I had UCLA as a No. 3, but I suppose the Bruins did finish third in the
Pac-10, which is a very, very good league. But I thought TCU, Alabama
and Kentucky would have been better choices as No. 2 seeds than UCLA.

 Q:  bill from san diego, ca asks:
you give us your thoughts on that long beach regional, and was this a
rough draw for the toreros? also, who has the toughest regional?

Aaron Fitt:
The Long Beach regional is the toughest, top to bottom, narrowly edging
the Coral Gables regional only because I think Fresno State is more
dangerous than Bethune-Cookman. San Diego should have been a No. 1 seed
in my opinion — winning a very deep, balanced WCC in the regular
season and also sweeping the conference championship series, not to
mention getting good nonconference wins against the likes of Cal State
Fullerton, Long Beach State, UC Irvine, UCLA and Oregon State … it
should have been enough for a No. 1 for me. So, yes, San Diego got a
very tough draw, but I do think Blair Field plays to USD’s strengths
very well. I think USD is the favorite in that regional — heck, we’ve
got the Toreros ranked No. 7 in the country.

 Q:  Josh Mitchell from Lumberton tx asks:
Will the be the year that FSU makes it back to the CWS? What do you think about there Regional?

Aaron Fitt:
I like FSU’s draw. Nothing against Florida, but if I’m Rick Jones, I
might go for broke and save Shooter Hunt for the second game, hoping
that Robby Broach can beat the Gators and Shooter can maximize your
chances to beat Florida State. But I don’t think that will happen, and
I like FSU’s offense at home against any of those other arms from
Tulane or Florida.

 Q:  David from Houston asks:
am stunned by TCU’s seeding. A #3 seed against Wichita State and OSU?
What more do you have to do? A #2 at Rice or A&M seems to be more
just with the non-conference schedule, the season they have had and a
regular season and tournament championships? This should be about this
whole season not what someone did a few years ago in the right league.

Aaron Fitt:
TCU as the No. 2 in Houston would have been more fair to the Horned
Frogs, the Owls and the Longhorns. Poor job of sorting out those teams
by the committee, in my mind.

 Q:  Phil from Saline, MI asks:
Kentucky LHP Rusin vs. Michigan RHP Putnam in the Ann Arbor regional. Former travel team teammates. Your take?

Aaron Fitt:
That’s another great matchup I neglected to mention. I like Putnam, one
of the nation’s most underrated pitchers, to win it at home.

 Q:  Eric from Bellevue, WA asks:
does California drop all the way to a three seed. The were predicted as
a 1 or 2 last week. Despite losing two of three to UCLA to end the
season they swept Long Beach and took two of three from Arizona and
Stanford. All # 1 seeds.

Aaron Fitt:
You make good points, and that’s a tough break for the Golden Bears,
who have had a very nice season. It’s tough to put them ahead of UCLA,
who finished ahead in the conference and won the head-to-head series,
but I do think Cal has had the better season. There are some very
dangerous No. 3 seeds out there—Cal, Mississippi, TCU lead the pack
for me.

 Q:  Mike from San Jose, Calif. asks:
— Love your chats. Who/what was the source of that pre-selection-show
rumor that Stanford, not Rice, would be a national seed? Was that an
MIT/CalTech-style prank that you got suckered into repeating? I hope
that you ban such an unreliable source from your future reports.

Aaron Fitt: That one smelled fishy to me, too, which is why we passed it along only as a rumor, not as fact.

 Q:  Bob Smith from Newark, NJ asks:
UCLA has as may pro prospects as anybody in the field (except maybe Miami).

Any chance the Bruins finally put it together and advance to the CWS?


Aaron Fitt:
Certainly possible, but Fullerton is a tough matchup for them. The
Titans just have UCLA’s number — they knocked the Bruins out last year
and have won all three head-to-head meetings this year. Fullerton
always just seems to do those little things right to win against the

 Q:  Mike from San Jose, Calif. asks:
do you figure was the NCAA committee’s rationale for sending a
lower-ranked team (Texas Southern) to a lower seed (LSU, #7) rather
than leaving them in town for the higher seed (Rice, #6), which will
now face a much-more-dangerous San Houston State. Didn’t they want to
see the Owls try to revenge their surprising loss to TSU in the 2004

Aaron Fitt:
Yet another head-scratcher. I felt positive Texas Southern would end up
at Rice. I guess the committee felt like they didn’t punish the Owls
enough by sticking them with Texas and St. John’s… it almost seems
like the committee went out of its way to make Rice’s path more
difficult, when the more intuitive thing would have just to keep Texas
Southern in town.

 Q:  Bob Smith from Newark, NJ asks:
east coast baseball fan..but the question has to be asked…does St
Johns really deserve a bid with an RPI near 60…and a serious lack of
quality wins?

Aaron Fitt:
St. John’s finished first in the regular season in a very solid Big
East conference. It’s not a great conference, but teams like
Louisville, Notre Dame, Seton Hall, South Florida, Cincinnati and West
Virginia are all pretty good clubs, no matter what the RPI says. I
thought St. John’s definitely deserved a bid, and I was pleased to see
the committee reward the Johnnies.

 Q:  Charles from Mississippi asks:
you think the Rebs have a chance to win the Miami Regional??? With
Jordan Henry back to his old self in the 1 hole while also Michael
Guerrero on fire after hitting 5 homeruns in Hoover.. I believe the
rebs have a chance to surprise some folks if Lance Lynn Scott Bittle
and Company can keep the game somewhat close.

Aaron Fitt:
They really do have a chance, and you hit on several of the key
reasons. Jordan Henry’s re-emergence has been absolutely critical down
the stretch, as has Guerrero’s long-awaited emergence. And Lynn looks
back to his old peak form. That team is incredibly dangerous. The key
will be how Satterwhite performs — we all know how incredibly talented
he is, but he’s got to live up to his potential. Having Scott Bittle
back there is an awfully nice security blanket, though.

 Q:  Bill from St. Louis, MO asks:
does Oklahoma State not get a Top 8 seed? Series wins over ranked
A&M, UT, Mizzou and Nebraska not enough? This is the same committee
that put in Oklahoma, who barely qualified for the Big XII Tournament
as a 8 seed, so I guess there’s my answer.

Aaron Fitt:
It’s pretty inexplicable. Those four series wins combined with a strong
showing in the Big 12 tournament and a close second-place finish in the
regular season (just a game back of A&M) should have earned the
Cowboys a national seed over Georgia.

 Q:  Nick from Illinois asks:
do you think Eastern Illinois is doing? Do they have a shot at pulling
out the upset of Nerbaska and possible making it to the Super Regional?

Aaron Fitt: No.

 Q:  John from Altanta asks:
you think Georgia Tech can somehow get past Georgia in the regionals?
Also, Charlie Blackmon has been tearing it up, where do you see him
going in this years draft?

Aaron Fitt:
Georgia Tech has actually played better down the stretch, for the most
part, and has a real chance in that regional. Louisville, though, is
the real darkhorse there. That should be a great regional.

Aaron Fitt:
All right everyone, got to cut it short. Be sure to check the College
Blog shortly for more analysis and reaction, and stop back by later
this week for in-depth regional capsules, plus the epic hour-long,
two-part preview podcast with John Manuel and myself. Until then, so
long, everybody.