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College Baseball Rankings Chat (May 22)

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Teddy Cahill: Welcome to this week's college baseball chat. There's a lot going on with conference tournaments starting tomorrow, so let's jump right in.

Greg (ATL): Let's say UF goes two and out in Hoover. Still a national seed, right?
Teddy Cahill: Florida is locked in. You can add Oregon State, North Carolina, Louisville, Texas Tech and probably TCU and LSU to that list.

Zach (Brandon, MS): After the strong finish to the season, is Southern Miss a lock to host? Also, how far do they need to go in the C-USA tournament to grab a national seed, and what else needs to happen around the country for them to get one?
Teddy Cahill: Yes, Southern Miss should have locked up a hosting spot already. I think the Golden Eagles have to win the CUSA Tournament to be a national seed and even that may not get it done. Stanford is finishing strong and is making a strong play. A big week for Kentucky or Clemson or maybe even Wake or Virginia would also potentially put them in play.

Mike (Connecticut): Is the American a safe 4 bid league this year regardless of what transpires in the conference tournament? Can you see any 2 of the 4 making the second weekend?
Teddy Cahill: I think UConn has probably done enough at this point to be in. The top three teams are definitely in. They're probably all capable of winning a regional because they all pitch very well. None of them have had a ton of success away from home, which could make things more difficult in regionals, but once you get in, you never know which teams will rise to the occasion.

jb (Georgia): What does SC need to do to get in and what does Clemson need to do to secure a host site?
Teddy Cahill: South Carolina needs to win the SEC Tournament to get to regionals. Clemson's hosting resume is still pretty good. Winning once in the ACC Tournament would give the Tigers 40 wins this season to go with thier top-10 RPI and 22-16 record vs. the RPI top 100. That's pretty solid. But the competition for the final few hosting spots is heating up. Clemson would do well to win a couple games in Louisville this weekend.

Mike (PDX): What are your thoughts on Seeding 1-16 for the tourney? Any point in seeding 1-64 or is there just not enough money to accommodate the crazy travel that would ensue?
Teddy Cahill: I am for seeding 1-64. I have no idea how much money that would cost, so I don't know whether it would be reasonable or not. It would also be tougher on fans/parents, which is a negative. But I think it would be an improvement in a lot of ways.

Chris (Rogers, AR): Have the Hogs locked up a regional host bid with a series win over the weekend at Texas A&M?
Teddy Cahill: I think it's all but locked up for Arkansas. That was a big weekend for the Razorbacks and a lot would have to go wrong for them not to get a hosting spot now.

Louisiana Husker (Alexandria, Louisiana): With Nebraska winning the B1G, I would assume the Huskers have a No. 2 seed in a regional. Where do you see them going when the field of 64 is announced and how many other B1G teams do you see getting in?
Teddy Cahill: I think Nebraska is set for a No. 2 seed, yes. We had them going to LSU last week, but that could easily change this week. Plenty of potential destinations for the Huskers. We've had four Big Ten teams pretty consistently, but I could also see the league ending up with three depending on how this week shakes out.

Jon (Myrtle Beach): Coastal Carolina is not in the last Top 25 but have the #1 seed in the Sun Belt. What do they need to do to crack the Top 25 and secure a spot in the regionals?
Teddy Cahill: We talked about Coastal a lot for the last spot in the Top 25 this week before going with Houston. The Chants are definitely close, we just ultimately liked Houston's overall resume a little better. I think Coastal is in good shape for regionals if it can avoid any bad RPI losses in the Sun Belt Tournament.

Teddy Cahill: I have to run to get to Hoover for the SEC Tournament. Mike Lananna will be here shortly to take you home.

MP (Left Field, Texas): If Texas can somehow win the Big XII Tourney, could the Horns put themselves in the hosting discussion?
Michael Lananna: Potentially. Texas was discussed for the Top 25 this week, but the issue with the Longhorns is their below-.500 record in Big 12 play. Their RPI sits at No. 23 at the moment, and were they to win the tournament, that ranking would likely take a fairly sizable jump. So yes, I think they would at least be in the discussion. But that's a giant task given how strong the Big 12 is this year. Either way, they should be safely in as a regional team.

Wally (Manitoba, Canada): Now that the Titans will not win the Big West and may even end up third, will they still get an invite to post season play? Could the Big West end up with 3 teams in? And after Scott Hurst's 4 home run day, where do you see him going in the draft? Thank you.
Michael Lananna: The Titans will be in the NCAA tournament. That's safe. I don't see how they wouldn't get an at-large bid. The Big West is just a two-bid league, though. Long Beach and Fullerton are the only teams in that conference with RPIs below 100. While those teams are strong, especially Beach, it's been a disappointing year for the conference as a whole. Thought it was potentially a four-bid league coming in, but it clearly didn't pan out that way.

Matt (Portland): Who is your national pitcher of the year, and why is it Luke Heimlich?
Michael Lananna: Haha, I LOVE a witty question. We don't have a pitcher of the year award—just player of the year and freshman—but if we did, my vote would go toward Luke Heimlich. His numbers are simply stunning. 9-1, 0.87 with 114 strikeouts to 20 walks in 103.1 innings. He's a huge reason why Oregon State had such a dominant regular season. I'm not going out on a limb here by any means, but the Beavers have to be the favorite to the win the whole thing as we head into the postseason. That team is ridiculously deep.

Jason L. (Pleasant Hill, CA.): No Vanderbilt in the Top 25 ? Kyle Wright with 11 Ks on Friday night. Has there been a better Pitcher down the stretch?
Michael Lananna: Vanderbilt was one of the teams we discussed. Ultimately, the Commodores' overall resume (including some rough non-conference series losses at the beginning of the year) was just a tick below Top 25 status for us. With that said, there's no doubt Kyle Wright has been huge for Vanderbilt down the stretch, as we've made note of on our site and on Twitter. After struggling earlier this year, he's improved his draft stock significantly, and more importantly for Vanderbilt, he's given the Dores' a legitimate ace yet again. Although Vanderbilt isn't in the Top 25 this week, I do think the Commodores have the talent to make another deep run into the postseason. I would not be surprised to see them play their way to Omaha. It's been a turbulent year, but it seems as though they are rounding into form at the right time. They could play their way into our Top 25 next week depending on how they perform in the SEC tournament.

Eric (Cypress Ca): I'm assuming barring a disaster long beach will be safe for hosting a regional the question remains if they sweep or win the series against Fullerton will it push rpi higher into top 10 to qualify hosting a super Chances should be good considering 5 or more wins against Fullerton, series win at North Carolina, and win against TCU plus winning Big West..thoughts?
Michael Lananna: Beach should be safe for hosting, yes. I wouldn't be nervous about that. As far as being a national seed, a series win would probably give them a little bit of an RPI jump, but it's hard to take a big jump given where they rank now (No. 17). I think it would put them in the national seed discussion, but they'd probably need some help from teams ahead of them, too.

Archie (Sacramento): Does Nick Madrigal go into next season as the favorite to be the college POY?
Michael Lananna: For me, I would say Nick Madrigal, Luken Baker and Seth Beer would be the three favorites. Madrigal could potentially be the No. 1 overall pick next June. Certainly, barring a stunning regression, he's a first-rounder next year and the top college shortstop on the board coming into year. I'm a big Nick Madrigal fan. It's very fun watching him and Cadyn Grenier up the middle for Oregon State.

Stephen (Texas): What conference has the best chance of sending two or three teams to Omaha. Big 12? ACC? SEC? Or does that depend to much on match ups to decide before regional sites are set?
Michael Lananna: I think a lot of it does depend on matchups, so ask us again when we know the field... but right now, I would say the Big 12. The conference sent three teams last year and is the No. 1 RPI conference this year. I have a strong belief in both Texas Tech and TCU and those coaching staffs, and even though TCU is a little banged up right now, I see both of those teams finding their way back to the CWS. But it's conceivable that all three of those conferences could send multiple teams given how strong they are at the top. Don't sleep on the Pac-12 either. Oregon State is a force, and Stanford and Arizona could both be in the mix, as well. Stanford is as hot as any team in the country right and those guys have a ton to play for.

James (Houston): I know some people are saying if FSU wins ACC tourney they will host, what is the percentage of FSU hosting if they win the ACC tourney?
Michael Lananna: I'm not going to put a number on it, but I'd say very good odds. Since they've gotten healthier, the Seminoles have made a sneaky run of late, and they're looking a lot more like the team we expected they would be coming into the year. With their RPI sitting at No. 16 right now (a pretty massive jump), an ACC tournament win would probably mean a regional in Tallahassee, especially with the way Clemson is trending lately.

Jack (Winston Salem NC): Is Wake Forest a lock to host a regional? Also, lets say the Deacs win the ACC Tournament this weekend, any chance at a national seed?
Michael Lananna: Yes, I think Wake Forest is a lock (although I'd still try to avoid going 0-2 in the tourney). If the Deacons win the ACC tournament, I do think they'll be in the national seed discussion. They've leapfrogged Clemson as No. 2 in the Atlantic Division and they're No. 12 in the RPI. A tournament win would likely push them into the top 10 in RPI. A very impressive season for Wake Forest. I've been high on them since the offseason (check the tweet history! haha), although I admit, I didn't quite see them being in the national seed discussion. Kudos to head coach Tom Walter and his staff for building that program up.

Caleb trueheart (Durham, NC): Think carolina can give Louisville a run for there's money in ACC tourney?
Michael Lananna: I do. I don't think there's a massive difference between the Tar Heels and Cardinals, if there's a difference at all. Right now, with how they're pitching of late, I'd take Bukauskas over McKay in an ace-on-ace battle. I think Louisville's lineup is a little deeper from 1-to-9 and more powerful in the middle, but UNC isn't an easy club to pitch to, and freshman Ashton McGee has been a real stud in the middle of that lineup. I think UNC and Louisville are comparable, for sure. I feel a little better about Louisville's pitching depth overall, but it's worth nothing that UNC closer Josh Hiatt allowed just one run in conference play. That'll get the job done.

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Bubble Watch: LSU, North Carolina Bolster Hosting Cases

As conference tournaments continue, we look at NCAA Tournament bubble winners and losers from Friday.

Mercator88 (Virginia): I'm nervous about Maryland being on the bubble. If they win a game in the B1G T are they in?
Michael Lananna: Losing a weekend series at High Point this weekend wasn't a great look for the Terps. I would still have them in, but yes, I do think a win in the tournament would be helpful. They are somewhat of a bubble team, but there's a lot to like on that resume as well.

Ben (Ruston, LA): LA Tech...In or out?
Michael Lananna: We had them in our last field of 64, but man, I don't like that series loss to Middle Tennessee. While their RPI is OK at No. 38, they're fifth in Conference-USA at the moment, and I think it would behoove them to win a game or two in the tournament. As of now, that resume is very bubbly.

Tim (LA): What do you think about UCLA's chances of making it to Omaha?
Michael Lananna: Well, they're certainly not an Omaha favorite, but it's not totally out of the realm of possibility. The Bruins have played really well down the stretch, and Griffin Canning (who has taken a nice little jump this year) gives them a chance to win any short series. It's going to take all the pieces coming together just right, but John Savage has obvious experience doing that. Don't bank on it, but don't be surprised if they find a way into supers, either.

Josh (Georgia): Is there a scenario where the Sun Belt gets 3 teams into tournament?
Michael Lananna: It's not likely, per se, but it's not impossible, depending on who wins the tournament. Coastal should be fine at this point after winning the regular season, but ULL and South Al have some work to do in the tournament. With the Sun Belt ranking at No. 9 in terms of conference RPI, it's going to be an uphill battle.

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