D1Baseball Weekly Chat: May 20


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Mark: What has to happen to have Beavs or Cardinal top 8 seed?
Kendall Rogers: Personally, I think either the Cardinal or Beavers have to win the Pac 12 regular season crown, and I just don’t see the pathway right now unless UCLA stinks it up the final weekend of the regular season. I would have teams like Texas Tech, ECU and even Oklahoma State ahead of those two teams in the pecking order. Not impossible, but difficult to get there, IMO.

Bob Pechtel: Does ECU have to win the AAC Tournament to get a Top 8 National Seed?
Kendall Rogers: Bob — I don’t think ECU has to win the conference tournament to get in, but I do think if ECU wins the conference tourney, it makes it incredibly difficult for the committee not to give CG’s club a Top 8 seed. Right now, I think it’s ECU or Ga. Tech for that final Top 8 spot. It’s razor thin at this point.

Jake: Have the Aggies nailed down a host spot? If not, what do they need to do this week? Is a national seed possible with an SEC tournament championship?
Kendall Rogers: Jake — I don’t think the Aggies have nailed it down, but they’ve put themselves in a position of strength after that series win over Arkansas. The Aggies have solid metrics and have a strong RPI as well. I think a win over Florida puts them in very strong shape, while a loss would open the door for someone to swoop in and take the host. It’s that close IMO.

Avent’sAgent: With the domination of UNC in Games 2 & 3 of the weekend series, does NC State have a hosting slot locked up?
Aaron Fitt: I’d stop just short of saying completely locked up, because there are a bunch of strong contenders for those last two spots, and if NC State goes 0-2 in Durham I could see the Wolfpack getting passed over, if somebody else jumps up and takes it. But I really like their chances.

Hooper: At 35-20 and 17-13 in the ACC, has FSU done enough to make a regional or do they need to win a game or two in the ACC tournament?
Kendall Rogers: Hooper — I would not want to go winless in the ACC tournament and leave my fate up the committee. I would say the bubble is extremely soft right now so FSU looks to be in solid shape, but I would leave no doubt and win a game or two in the tournament. Win two games in the ACC tourney and I think 11’s boys are fine barring an insane rash of stolen bids.

Aaron Fitt: I’ll take it a step further: if they win two games in Durham, they’re in for sure, bank on it. If they win one game, I think they’re in pretty good shape, given the state of the bubble. 0-2, and they’ll be sweating for sure.

TCU17: Who is the favorite heading into Oklahoma City this weekend: Texas Tech or Oklahoma State? Chances TCU can make a run?
Aaron Fitt: I think Tech is clearly the favorite, but you have to like the way Oklahoma State has played down the stretch, and they’ll have the fans behind them, so definitely a strong contender there. I don’t expect TCU to make a run, but you never know.

Max G.: What is the latest with UCSB’s bid for playing in Las Vegas if they host a regional?
Kendall Rogers: Max – Last I heard they had an agreement with Las Vegas and the contract was soon to be signed. I will check again this week but would be shocked if anything has changed in terms of where they’d host. Vegas it is!

Caleb: Hey guys, ECU has played great all year but how do you think they will do in the conference tourney? They play a good Wichita State team that they struggled against. If they win that game they have to play the winner of the Houston vs. UConn game. Two really good teams. Do you think this will be a tough challenge for the pirates?
Aaron Fitt: ECU is clearly the overwhelming favorite — I mean, they went 20-4 and won the league by seven games. That doesn’t mean they can’t get upset, but I’m certainly not betting on that to happen.

Jaysker: I hate what ifs but if Creighton sweeps through the Bigeast tournament is there still a shot they can host? I know it’s a weak conference but if they end the season with an RPI in the 16-23 range is that enough? At least to be in the discussion?
Aaron Fitt: Yes, they’d definitely be right in the discussion if they can win the Big East tournament, coupled with their regular-season crown, good RPI and a respectable 6-2 record against the top 50. It would depend what the other host candidates do, though. Creighton can only control its own games, it has no control over what a Miami or a Texas A&M do, for instance. And those teams still have better resumés.

Rebel Swag: Ole Miss fans are disappointed and frustrated with this program, we’ll see how things go down the stretch. I don’t think this is likely, but would making it to Saturday or Sunday in the SEC tournament put the Rebs back into regional host discussion?
Kendall Rogers: Rebel — As crazy as it sounds, yes, the Rebels would be back into the discussion. They could have four wins in the tourney, which would greatly increase the RPI and put them at 20 wins in the SEC overall.

Devin: Should Razorback fans be concerned about the number of strikeouts from this past weekend and the way the starters looked outside of Campbell?
Kendall Rogers: Devin — I do have some concerns about the two young arms in the weekend rotation in the postseason, but I’m absolutely not thinking they lose a regional or super. I am just curious to see how they perform. As for the offense, we will see how they perform this week. The offense looked awesome in the series finale against the Aggies. The Aggies can really, really pitch, though.

Mark – Oklahoma: Have you ever seen a team with that finishes a season without a single RPI Q4 game? (150-299) resulting in an average RPI Win of 64th?  Do you think Oklahoma State already has a regional host in stone?  What do they need to do to secure a top 8 seed?
Aaron Fitt: That is very unusual — but they’ve played 25 Q2 games, so I guess that makes sense. They’re a lock to host, no question about that. And with a No. 8 RPI, they’re definitely in the top-eight seed mix if they can make a nice run in OKC. I think their best shot is for Georgia Tech and ECU to stumble in conference tournaments, because I don’t see OK State jumping over Texas Tech or Louisville, teams that won their regular-season crowns, or any of the clear-cut top five (UCLA, Vandy, MSU, Arkansas and Georgia).

jimmy: Is Nebraska a lock for the tournament now that they won the Michigan series?
Kendall Rogers: Jimmy — You never want to go 0-2 in your conference tournament, but I tend to think Nebraska is in strong shape no matter what right now. Solid RPI, made a point to play (and win) games out of conference, finished strong in their league. A lot of things to like right now, IMO. Kudos to Coach Erstad and Co. for turning things around when their situation looked a little bleak.

HburgGator: I know you’ll probably get this question from more than 1 person today, but what does Florida have to do? Impressive win at Missouri (hadn’t lost a home SEC series this season) this weekend where pitching really showed the potential we all hoped. Is there any chance that they are in with a first round loss in Hoover? They need to win 1? Win 2? RPI and SOS are in their favor with series wins over FSU (sweep) and Miami. Thanks!
Aaron Fitt: Yeah, because the bubble is so soft, I think Florida is probably safe if it can win that play-in game vs. Texas A&M. Even if the Gators lose, they’re not dead in the water, because there are a number of teams with worse resumés that we currently have projected to get in. But I would not feel good about their chances at 13-18 in the SEC…

Chuck Reeder: What round is Drake Fellows expected to be drafted next month?
Aaron Fitt: I’d say probably 4-6.

Manuel: In your opinion, are LSU and A&M fighting for the same hosting slot?  Or do you believe the committee would allow both teams to host, resulting in the SEC getting six host sites (which seems a bit improbable to me)?
Aaron Fitt: I do think both of them can host, if they play well this week. Both finished with solid regular-season records in the SEC, they both have a ton of top 50 wins (that 19-14 top 50 mark for LSU is loud, although its 7-13 road record is a problem, and helps explain its more modest RPI). The SEC has gotten 7 hosts before, so I don’t think 6 is too improbable.

Joe LeCates: Thank you for the chat, guys. It felt like a statement weekend from Garrett Mitchell who looked like a stone-cold star against Washington. He’s a good player for sure, but do you guys see him as someone who steps up to the level of being say a top 5-10 college talent?
Aaron Fitt: Hey Joe — yes, very loud weekend for Mitchell, who has had a really outstanding season. I keep getting reports from people out West raving about how good he’s become. He’s always had the tools and the body, and now the results are there too. I definitely think he could be a top-10 pick next year.

Jordan: Which championship does the committee take into consideration more, a regular season or tournament championship?
Aaron Fitt: Definitely the regular season, as it should. One weekend should not overshadow a season-long body of work. Teams can still help or hurt their cases in the conference tournaments, but I think it’s telling that the committee considers overall conference record including regular-season and conference tournament games. That shows you how they view the conference tournament: just an extension of the overall body of work, rather than a crucial championship of its own.

Bobbruinbear : Here’s my final list for PAC 12 entrants to the 64: 1. UCLA 2. STANFORD 3.OREGON STATE 4. CALIFORNIA 5. ARIZONA STATE 6. OREGON (if they Win their final series with UCLA) Agree or disagree)
Aaron Fitt: Agree with the top 5… but even if Oregon takes 2 out of 3 from UCLA, I don’t like their chances — they’d still be just 12-18 in the Pac. No way they get in with that conference record. They’d have to sweep the Bruins to have a shot. And that ain’t happening. Five-bid league, with Arizona as the potential sixth team if it can sweep Washington State. But even then, I don’t like Arizona’s chances with a 3-16 record against the top 50…

Eric Simmons : Is Florida back in the at large discussion after that enormous road sweep of Missouri? I think they are!
Kendall Rogers: Eric — We would have Florida in right now. The Gators have OK metrics in the Top 100 range and possess a solid RPI. Obviously losing to A&M tomorrow would complicate things, but UF is likely in as of right now. Sully and the Gators will be sweating out those stolen bids throughout the week, though.;

Cody: Why is Tennessee still not ranked in the top 25? The resume screams top 25, and yet we hear they are a bubble team. RPI-11, SOS-5, and a record of 38-18.
Aaron Fitt: They’re definitely not a bubble team anymore — that’s an ironclad lock as a No. 2 seed in a regional. And they definitely have a Top 25 case too; probably No. 26 on our board right now. But it is still a losing SEC record, so we chose to reward a couple top-25 RPI teams that won their regular season championships instead.

Rusvegas: Louisiana Tech sitting at 53 in the RPI. What do they need to do to give themselves a chance short of winning conference tournament
Kendall Rogers: Louisiana Tech — Right now, the thing that holds La Tech back is the conference record and the distance behind FAU and Southern Miss in the conference standings. That’s a crutch right now. However, La Tech has the ability to rectify that at the C-USA tournament. I do think Tech is one of those teams that’ll rate well with the RAC.

Joe LeCates: Fittsy, more of a prospect q; in following that Cal/ASU series it made me wonder, do Torkelson and Vaughn essentially profile the exact same at the next level? Vaughn a little better hit tool, Torkelson a bit more raw power as the difference?
Aaron Fitt: That’s a pretty good call, Joe. Although don’t sell Vaughn’s power short — he’s got enormous juice too. I think the power is about a push, and Vaughn gets a tiny edge in the hit tool, and Vaughn is a better defender. But essentially it’s the same profile, yes.

Corey: Do you feel that arkansas will still be a national seed after losing on the road at a&m, or does it need a couple of games in Hoover to solidify its seed?
Kendall Rogers: Corey — I think Arkansas could leave its equipment at home and still be a Top 8 seed next week. I would say the final spot in the Top 8 is down to teams like ECU/Georgia Tech/Oklahoma State with Tech/ECU ahead in the race.
Aaron Fitt: To clarify here, I think Kendall’s talking about the last two spots. Right now I’d have Texas Tech and Georgia Tech as the last two teams, behind a top six of UCLA, Vandy, Miss State, Arkansas, Georgia and Louisville.

Kevin: Did USM just choke away their at large chances these last two weeks?
Kendall Rogers: Kevin — Southern Miss will need to do some serious damage in the C-USA tournament. The Golden Eagles don’t have overly impressive metrics and the RPI is well into the 50s, which typically is a doomsday scenario for C-USA teams. USM just has very little meat on its resume.

seeingidawg: How do you see the Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC Tourney this week ?  could 0-2  hurt the national seed?  The bats are coming around…
Aaron Fitt: I think Georgia has a chance to make a real run. Their pitching is so good… they might have the three hardest-throwing starting pitchers in the entire SEC with Hancock, Locey and Wilcox. And it was very encouraging to see them bash Alabama the way they did this weekend, you’re right about the bats getting hot at the right time (albeit against lesser pitching this weekend). I’ve always maintained that Georgia’s lineup is better  than people give it credit for — I really like the fact that they have a bunch of seasoned, gritty veterans who grind out quality at-bats up and down the lineup. Really think this Georgia team could win it all; might even put them in my top tier of contenders with UCLA, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt. (even ahead of Arkansas, for me).

Adam: With the Canes splitting the last four games, did they do enough to get a Regional Host bid? Or do they have to at least either get to the semis or go 1-1 to cement their bid?
Aaron Fitt: I’d like to see them go 1-1 in Durham to lock it up, because there’s a lot of competition for those last four hosting spots, and Miami’s resumé has some warts (particularly that 5-10 mark against the top 50). It’s not easy to separate those last 6-8 teams for the final four spots.

Eric Simmons : If Arizona sweeps Washington State are they in the NCAA Tournament? I think they are!
Kendall Rogers: Eric — The Wildcats are still short for us. Arizona has certainly improved its RPI and is hot. However, the Wildcats are just 3-16 vs. RPI Top 50 and 15-18 vs. RPI Top 100. Those just aren’t regional worthy marks at the moment and a series against Washington State won’t help that situation. There’s a chance thy get in should there basically be no stolen bids, but that’s tough to ask or expect.

JP: Does Pierce make staff changes after the last-place finish?
Kendall Rogers: JP — I do not think David Pierce will make any changes at the moment, but we have our ear to the ground on that one. I do think Texas will need to show some serious improvement next season, however. UT should be stout on the mound, but I still think the offense will be a concern unless some of the incoming players are big-time hitters. Bizarre and disappointing season for the Longhorns, that’s for sure.

Billy G.: I don’t understand how Arkansas stays above Georgia in the rankings given they have a weaker overall record, a weaker conference record, a weaker record in weekend series, and a weaker RPI?
Aaron Fitt: We value high-end series wins, and Arkansas has more of them. Georgia has a marquee series win over Vanderbilt, 2/3 vs. LSU, a sweep of suddenly bubble-dwelling Missouri, a sweep of bubble-dwelling Florida, and 2/3 vs. Auburn. Arkansas has a marquee sweep of Mississippi State, a sweep of Tennessee, a sweep of Missouri, 2/3 at Auburn and 2/3 vs. LSU. So the sweeps of MSU and Tennessee are the difference, helping to explain why Arkansas is 12-6 vs. the top 25, while Georgia is 11-10. We’re splitting hairs here — they’ve both elite, and it doesn’t really matter how you order them.

Bdevil Bob: What does Duke need to do in the ACC Tournament to make it into the field of 64?
Aaron Fitt: It depends on the size of the bubble — right now we have Duke in rather comfortably, not even one of our last five teams in, because the bubble is so weak. If that continues to be the case, I think a 1-1 showing in the ACC tourney will get the Devils in. But 0-2 would probably put them behind the 8-ball, considering they’ve lost 7 of their last 9 games, and that would make it 9 of their last 11. Momentum matters too.

Garth Brooks: Who is your SEC coach of the year?
Aaron Fitt: I think I have to go with Tony Vitello. Tennessee hasn’t made a regional since 2005, and he’s ending that drought this year. Just making the SEC tournament has been a major challenge for this program over the last decade. What he’s done in short order with the Vols is very loud.

Jim: Does Texas State have to win the Sun Belt conference to qualify or have they’ve done enough to get in regardless?
Kendall Rogers: With the way the bubble is right now, I think Texas State would get in no matter what if the season ended today. However, the Bobcats need to avoid stinking it up at the Sun Belt tourney. Don’t give the committee a reason to leave you out. I do think Texas State passes the eyeball test — that’s a really solid team, IMO.

Matt-a-Dore: Kendall, Aaron, as always, love your coverage of the sport we love. This may just be self-indulgent, but even if my VandyBoys go 2-and-done in the SEC tourney, you think we still hold onto a 1 or 2 seed in NCAAs?
Aaron Fitt: Yeah, I think they’d be the 2 seed based on that 23-7 regular-season showing in the SEC. That’s really hard to do — they won the overall regular-season race by two games, and that league is loaded. All the metrics are there for them, too. Lock ’em in as the 2.

Cy: Should Mississippi State be a lock for a top 8 seed no matter what happens in the SEC tournament?
Kendall Rogers: Yes. Put it on the board. Mississippi State is a slam dunk Top 8 right now. Those guys or Oklahoma State might be the hottest team in the country at the moment.

Rex in Raleigh: Thanks for the great work you guys produce. Does the committee seed the No. 2 seeds like they do the 1s 1-16? For instance, if NCSU is one of the last 1-2 hosts, would it be reasonable to expect a top-20 club like Ole Miss or A&M/LSU that just missed a host to be sent to Raleigh? Or is the seeding still more geographically based?
Kendall Rogers: Rex — I do think they try to do that at times, but for the most part, it’s all about geography for the most part outside of the No. 1 seeds if there’s a good fit.

Tech fan: Do you think GT has a actual chance to win the World Series.
Aaron Fitt: I’m skeptical that Tech has the arms to win the whole enchilada. But if those bats stay hot through the month of June, look out. They can definitely do some damage.

Jeffrey: Does DBU have a chance at hosting a regional?
Kendall Rogers: Jeffrey — the RPI is in striking distance at 24, and should the Patriots roll through the Missouri Valley tournament, along with teams like A&M/LSU/UCSB scuffling over the next week, that could open the door for a team like DBU. DBU has nine wins vs. RPI Top 50, which is a pretty solid mark for MVC clubs. I would say they aren’t going to host right now, but there’s potential there if a few things break their way.

FC: What is Tennessee’s chances of hosting if they win a couple in Hoover?
Aaron Fitt: You really need to finish with a winning record in conference games just to have a shot to host. Which means even if they go 4-2, they’ll still be just .500 in league (18-18). I don’t think it’s gonna happen unless they can win the SEC tournament.

Pete: Where does Ok State fall in the hosting picture right now? On the verge of top 8?
Kendall Rogers: Pete — Oklahoma State is a slam dunk to be a Top 16 host right now, IMO. Outstanding finish, good conference finish and record, strong RPI. All the pieces you want in your favor, the Pokes have right now. As for the Top 8, I do think OSU is clearly behind teams like Texas Tech/ECU and Georgia Tech, but go on a roll in OKC and things def could change.

Heel: After back to back bad weekends, is UNC destined to be the 2 seed in Greenville?
Aaron Fitt: I think they’re destined to be a 2 seed somewhere, and Greenville is a possibility for sure. But it might also make sense for the committee to send one of the many SEC 2 seed candidates to Greenville, and give the Pirates an ACC 3 seed like a Duke or Virginia or Clemson. There are more SEC teams on the 2 line and more ACC teams on the 3 line, so that could keep UNC out of Greenville, potentially.

Eric Simmons : I think 4 Big Ten teams make the NCAA Tournament what do you think? My 4 teams are Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Nebraska
Kendall Rogers: Eric — That’s the right four, though I would keep an eye on Michigan if it doesn’t play well in the Big Ten tournament. Michigan might meet the eye test and have a solid league record, but it lacks meat on its resume.

Banti: Is UCSB still hosting in Vegas if they drop a game this weekend to Cal Poly?
Kendall Rogers: I would expect UCSB to still be a host early this week but things could certainly change later this week. UCSB has dominated its schedule, and we think, for now, the committee will reward that despite having no games against RPI Top 50 teams. We’ll see if things change.

Jeff: With one week to go, is it time to consider where UCLA’s regular season ranks among the best ever (if they finish with another series win)? A few other teams have had better records, like Oregon St. a couple years ago, but none did it against a top notch SOS and took down this many good teams.
Aaron Fitt: Glad you brought that up, Jeff — you are spot-on. The Beavers went 49-4 in the regular season in 2017, and that was probably the best regular season in a long time… but they were just 10-0 against the top 50, and 6-0 vs. the top 25. UCLA this year is 10-3 vs. the top 25, 17-6 vs. the top 50. That’s a significant difference, considering UCLA also hasn’t lost a weekend series or even a single midweek game. If the Bruins win that last series against Oregon, and especially if they sweep it, I think you can make a compelling case that this regular season has been better than OSU’s 2017 campaign.

SoonerinAustin: If my Sooners go 2-1 in the Big12 championship do you have them in the postseason?  I just cannot think that the Big12 would only be a 4 team league.
Kendall Rogers: Sooner — If the Sooners win two or three games in the Big 12 tournament, I do have a feeling they’ll be in the field of 64. Oklahoma’s resume is a little light right now, but winning some games in the league tourney likely would rectify that situation to an extent.

Darrell: 4 SEC teams with 20+ conference wins!?!? That’s not supposed to happen.  Is it just me, or is it top heavy this year in the SEC and around other conferences around the nation? There seems to be a huge gap between national seeds and everyone else
Aaron Fitt: I think the SEC is indeed top-heavy. People keep talking about this being the best SEC in years… I mean, those three teams at the bottom were pretty bad, and Florida was not very good, and Missouri had a solid year but at the end of the day is still just 13-16-1, and Ole Miss scuffled late, and LSU has been up and down… It’s certainly the deepest conference in the country, but is it really any deeper than it is in an average year for the SEC? This league almost always has 10-11 regional-caliber teams, even though it usually gets 8-10 bids.

The One: Who is a dark horse to win the SoCon tournament in Greenville SC?
Aaron Fitt: I’ll go with UNC Greensboro. Not nearly as explosive offensively as in past years but still have some nice pieces in the lineup, and Chad Sykes is an enormous difference maker at the back of the bullpen. But the smart money is still on Samford, of course.

Kendall Rogers: All right guys. I have to pack up and get ready to head to the airport for the SEC tournament. Remember, be sure to Subscribe to D1Baseball and use the promo code 2019Spring to get 25% off an annual subscription. —


Tiger4Life54: What are Clemson’s chances of making the NCAA Tournament after this weekend? With a win against BC? And/or a win against Louisville?  Thanks and Go Tigers!!!
Aaron Fitt: As soft as the bubble is, I think Clemson’s in very good shape right now. Now that the RPI has jumped back up to No. 37, and they managed to finish 15-15 in the ACC, they’re clearly ahead of other ACC bubble teams like FSU, Duke, Virginia and Wake Forest. Assuming they win at least one game in Durham, they’re definitely safe, I think. And they could still get in with an 0-2 showing, given the weakness of this bubble.

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