Top 25 Chat

Teddy Cahill: Welcome to this week’s Top 25 chat. Before we get to your questions, just a quick note: I understand why everyone is focused on national seeds this time of year. But the last four national champions were not national seeds. There’s more than one way to get to Omaha. Just a little something to remember over the next few weeks leading up to Selection Monday.

Ron Polk (Birmingham): Considering the remaining schedules in the SEC, how do you see the Top 4 finishing in the Standings & in each division? What will MSU have to do to lock up a National Seed, & should that even matter to State fans considering their road record?
Teddy Cahill: Currently, Florida and South Carolina are tied for first in the East, and Texas A&M holds a one-game edge on Mississippi State in the West. Of those teams, Mississippi State has the easiest remaining schedule and Florida and Texas A&M have the toughest. So it wouldn’t be stunning to see Florida and Texas A&M fall out of the lead. But they’re also the two best teams in the country for a reason. I’ll probably default to those two winning their division, but it’ll be great to see how it finishes. Mississippi State needs to take care of business. That’s all it can do. I’m not sure it controls its own national seed destiny. There are so many moving parts in that race. But if it can get past Texas A&M in the standings, I think it would be safely in the top eight.

Jeff (NC): How much will the selection committee look at how teams are trending? Some teams got off to a hot start but have struggled down the stretch, while others dug a hole and are playing really well in the second half of the season. (I'm thinking of 2 triangle teams, for example!) Does that momentum/timing play into the discussion at all, or is it just overall record?
Teddy Cahill: One of the criteria used by the committee is a team’s record in its last 15 games. So it’s a part of the puzzle, but what happened early in the season still counts. So while North Carolina hasn’t played well for the last month, for example, it still gets credit for its sweep of Oklahoma State.

Eddie (Birmingham, AL): Deservingly so, do you think the NCAA will allow 3 Mississippi schools to host? MS State most likely a national seed, Ole Miss if they get to 17 conference wins, and Southern Miss possibly reaching 40 wins and winning CUSA. Thoughts?
Teddy Cahill: I don’t think that will be a problem. Mississippi State is in good shape right now. Ole Miss needs to finish well, but has the inside track. And if Southern Miss can win Conference USA, it should host. The fact all three would be in Mississippi won’t be a problem. But Ole Miss has a tough slate ahead and there are other SEC teams looking to grab that spot and Southern Miss probably can’t afford to fall behind Rice or Florida Atlantic in the CUSA standings. Lot of baseball left to be played.

Brett (Dallas): What are the chances Texas Tech gets to host a super regional? Say they win regular season Big 12 but don't win Big 12 tourney, stil have a shot at hosting?
Teddy Cahill: Texas Tech just needs to take care of business in the final weekend of the regular season, clinch the Big 12 and it will be fine. Do that and it will not be in a position to need to win the tournament to get a national seed.

Earl (new orleans): What are the chances of Tulane hosting ? If Lsu doesnt host do u see Lsu going to tulane ? (Hopefully the tigers get a postseason invite). What a postseason atmosphere that would be !! Thx u for all what u do for baseball America
Teddy Cahill: I would guess that if Tulane wins the American, it would come down to it and the CUSA champion to host. Southern Miss and Rice (the co-leaders in CUSA) have better RPIs than Tulane and CUSA is rated ahead of the American. But Tulane does have two wins against Southern Miss. So that would be an interesting debate. But I don’t think LSU will have any impact on it. Whether or not LSU hosts, the committee is not going to be hurting for regionals in that area of the country with Mississippi and Texas potentially having six between them.

Eugene (Easley, SC): Is Clemson trending towards hosting? Do you see the Tigers going to Columbia (SC) regional?
Teddy Cahill: If Clemson wins its series against Notre Dame on the final weekend of the regular season, I think it is firmly in the mix. The ACC standings are packed so tightly that most of the teams are in it. But the Tigers’ resume has a lot of things to like, with marquee series wins against Florida State, North Carolina State and South Carolina. I don’t really think Clemson would get sent to Columbia, but it could happen. But with a plethora of hosts in the Southeast, there would be no shortage of places the Tigers could get sent.

Mike (San Jose, Calif.): Please describe what you think the committee is likely to do about hosting sites, given the weak resumes this year for traditional western candidates and an abundance of worthy host possibilities (by conventional metrics) in Texas (A&M, Tech, TCU & Rice) and Mississippi (Old Miss, MSU, USM).
Teddy Cahill: I don’t think it much matters. The West will end up with a regional or two, but we’re also likely to see the bulk of the regionals in Florida, Mississippi and Texas. There’s only so much that can be done when the conference standings in the SEC, ACC and Big 12 shake out the way they have so far this year.

Russell (Austin, Texas): In your opinion what happened to Texas this year? This is by far and away the worst Texas team that I have seen in years. They are obviously not going to the tournament and they really have nothing to play for. What happened?
Teddy Cahill: Well, Texas is in the same position it was this time last year when it needed to win the Big 12 Tournament to get to the NCAA Tournament. So there’s not nothing to play for yet. As for the real thrust of your question, that’s difficult to say. There’s talent on that roster, no question. They’re fairly young, which is a part of it, and they’re not hitting particularly well, which is also a part of it. But one of the biggest issues for the Longhorns all year has been defense. They’re last in the conference in fielding percentage, having made 66 errors in 48 games. For a team traditionally built on pitching, that’s not going to get it done. Texas’ struggles probably aren’t all on the defense, but I think that’s a sizable part of it.

TitanTacoEater (Anaheim, Ca): What are your thoughts on the series going down next week between UCSB and CSUF? If Titans take it and win the BIG West do you think they'd host a regional?
Teddy Cahill: I’m very interested to see how Fullerton navigates the next few weeks. UCSB had been going very well before getting stunned by UC Davis this weekend. But Fullerton has to go to Santa Barbara and Long Beach, which won the return series already this year. Long Beach and UCSB are second and third in the Big West, so it won’t be easy for Fullerton. But if the Titans are able to get through that stretch and win the conference, yes, I think they would probably host. Their RPI would be pretty decent at that point and would have series wins against Indiana (looking better by the week) and at Texas Tech, Long Beach and UCSB. That’s probably enough get a regional.

john ray (NY): Do you see an Andrew Benintendi like player that could carry his team to Omaha and be a high pick in the 2016 draft? Who is your most exciting player right now?
Teddy Cahill: The first player that comes to mind is Zack Collins at Miami, but the Hurricanes have already been ranked No. 1 this season and Arkansas was more of a darkhorse Omaha team last year. The real answer is there isn’t a guy like that. Its probably got to be a hitter, just because of the way the tournament works. And of the college hitters in the Top 100 draft prospects we released last week, most are at schools that you would not be surprised to see in Omaha, such as Florida or Virginia. Guys like Kyle Lewis and Heath Quinn are at small schools, and then you have power conference guys like Will Craig and Anfernee Greier who are just trying to make the tournament. So I’ll give you three guys who aren’t likely to be first round picks, but could potentially really help themselves with a strong finish and propel their team to Omaha at the same time: Carmen Benedetti (Michigan), Kel Johnson (Georgia Tech) and Colby Woodmansee (Arizona State). But, again, one of the things that made Benintendi so special last year was how rare that was. Arkansas was a good team, but the season he had was incredible. That doesn’t come around every year.

Teddy Cahill: Thank you all for your questions. This is an exciting, if very busy, time of year. So if I didn’t get to your question, leave it in the comments below and I’ll try to circle back and answer it there.

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