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 tonight.

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:
What 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:
Will, 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 drafted.

 Q: Sean from Fullerton asks:
How 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 postseason?

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:
Hey 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:
Now 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:
Hi 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:
Will. 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:
do 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. thanks,

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 there.

 Q: Ryan from LA, CA asks:
Why 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:
Will, 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! Thanks.

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:
How 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:
With 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:
I'm 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!