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D1Baseball Weekly Chat: May 22

Chat

Aaron Fitt: Hello friends, happy conference tournament week. Let’s dive in!

SEA: How much work does BC need to do to host? This Northeastern fan would love to have an all New England Regional
Aaron Fitt: BC enters the ACC tournament right in the thick of the hosting race, with a 16-14 league record and a No. 14 RPI. It feels like Wake, Clemson, UVa and Miami are all secure hosts, so BC and Duke are probably competing for one more hosting spot out of the ACC — I don’t see both of them getting one, but the team that shows better this week could separate itself. Duke has a head-to-head edge over BC, but the Eagles have all those road wins, and I think it’s impressive what they did in nonconference given that they have to spend the first six weeks on the road, so even though their nonconference SOS isn’t great, I don’t think that tells the whole story. I think a New England regional is a very real possibility.

Chandler: Does the SEC tournament matter at all for Arkansas? And what is the biggest story line going into the SEC tournament?
Aaron Fitt: Not a bit from a seeding perspective — the Hogs are locked in as a top-eight, and it doesn’t really matter if they’re 2, 3 or 4 — the key is to have a home regional and super, and they will. I think the borderline SEC host candidates are the big story to watch — how will Tennessee, Alabama, South Carolina and to a lesser degree Auburn handle themselves this week? The Vols, Tide and Gamecocks all could use some wins in Hoover; Auburn probably OK regardless.

Raider: I noticed in Kendall’s article about hosting and bubble teams that Texas Tech wasn’t listed. Is that because they are safely in as of his writing or is it because they are out and have to do some work in the Big 12 Tournament?
Aaron Fitt: Maybe just an oversight by KR; the Raiders are definitely on the bubble at 12-12 in the Big 12 and No. 44 in the RPI. They really could use a win or two this week to secure their position.

Corbin: How much does conference tournament performance play into seeding? Has West Virginia played themselves out of a hosting spot and can Oklahoma State do enough in the Big 12 tournament to be a national seed?
Aaron Fitt: I think the Big 12 tournament will matter significantly, since it’s so hard to separate those top three teams — they’ve all beaten each other. It feels like UT has to be ahead of WVU right now based on the sweep, which is just a tick louder than WVU taking two of three from OK State or OK State taking two of three from Texas. So right now, WVU is probably third of those three, even though I really like WVU’s resumé overall. I don’t really see any of these teams getting into the top 8, but 2 of the 3 could certainly host, and how they fare this week will play a huge role, I suspect.

Earl: good afternoon fellas, thx for a another awesome year of college baseball knowledge! Does it Lsu doesn’t need a win to lock up the top 8 seed ? Would u sit Skenes to rest up for regionals ? Be honest with u guys I’m very nervous for my tigers going into the regionals pitching inconsistently !
Aaron Fitt: I think LSU is probably fine for a top 8 even if the Tigers go winless in Hoover — going 19-10 in the SEC with a No. 4 RPI screams top-eight seed. That said, I’d probably still pitch Skenes on his usual rest, just maybe make it a shorter outing than usual.

Doug: 13 straight wins for the GCU Lopes and beating out Sam Houston State for the regular season title. Are they a legit postseason threat? Do you believe they could be a sneaky team to win a regional?
Aaron Fitt: Yeah good call Doug, I think the Lopes are certainly a threat. They need to win the conference tourney to get in, since the RPI is down at No. 69, but that team has experience and talent, and they are clearly red-hot. If they wind up as a 4-seed, that is not a 4-seed I’d want to see as a host.

Bob Gagnon: What does ECU need to do to host? Win their tournament? If yes, do they need any help even if they win their tournament. If ECU turns out to be a #2 seed, will they be rewarded with a favorable regional and where would they go?
Aaron Fitt: I think the Pirates suffer from the same deficiency as the other top RPI teams in the mid-major leagues, like Indiana State, DBU and UConn — they haven’t done great against top 50 opponents. Given the glut of hosting candidates with considerably more high-end wins, I don’t really envision ECU hosting with a 4-6 top 50 record, even if they win the conference tourney. But it also wouldn’t be a shocker if they did snag a host. Definitely still in the running. If they’re on the road, I would bet on a drivable ACC site like Charlottesville, Winston-Salem or Durham (probably not W-S because that would be a strong 2-seed for the No. 1 overall national seed to have in its regional).

Bobcat: What are y’all’s thoughts on Texas State?
Kendall Rogers: I think Texas State could be really dangerous in the postseason with some of the front-line arms it has, along with some of those bats. But right now the RPI being in the 50s for a Sun Belt team is problematic. Bobcats can make the field with a strong showing in the conference tourney, though. There’s a definite pathway.

Caleb: If OU can get one win in the Big 12 tourney does that solidify them as in?
Kendall Rogers: Caleb — at this point for Oklahoma, it’s all about what happens with stolen bids. Right now the bubble is extremely weak, which is why OU is in the field. As long as there aren’t a plethora of stolen bids, Oklahoma winning a couple in Arlington would probably do the trick. But that’s a BIG if.

Will: Can you briefly explain if there is a different analysis done for your top 25 rankings compared to your projected regional hosts? Specifically, Uconn-Miami-Oregon St are 9,10, and 11 in your rankings and it appears only Miami is a host team as we enter conference tournament play. Miami is 4-9 on the road and a 19 RPI, Oregon State (30 RPI) is 0-3 vs the top 25 RPI and while Uconn (25 RPI) playing in the Big East is only 1-1 vs the top 25 they have 18 road victories. If you don’t think Uconn or Oregon St are host teams why are they ranked in the top 11?
Aaron Fitt: These are two different exercises. The field of 64 projections represent our attempt to forecast how the committee will construct the field next weekend, based on the criteria that we know the committee uses. We don’t lean on the RPI metrics when constructing the Top 25, which is more of a barometer of how teams are playing. If you get into the Top 25 and keep on winning all your weekends, you’re going to keep rising, and generally won’t drop even if you lack those marquee wins. The Top 25 is therefore weighted toward series wins, which we believe is a huge marker of a good team. To break into the Top 25 as a mid-major who lacks those high-end wins, you have to have a talented roster that we believe is capable of making a run in the postseason, and you need some good wins even if they aren’t necessarily top 25/50 RPI wins. But once you’re in, you typically don’t drop out unless you lose series.

CajunFan: Let’s talk about the Fun Belt. What happens if a non Troy, Coastal, S Miss team wins the tourney. Will the belt get 4 teams?
Kendall Rogers: Cajun — I tend to think Troy gets squeezed out in that scenario, but what if Troy plays the team you’re talking about in the conference championship? The Trojans are likely in, and that league is very likely a four-bid league. Coastal and Southern Miss are 100% locks to make the field. Good question by the way.

Terpitude: I’ve got Maryland (2 seed), Indiana (3 seed), and Iowa (3 seed) making the NCAA tournament. But what if a team like Michigan State wins the B1G Tournament? Would Iowa find itself like Rutgers 2022?
Aaron Fitt: Agree with your three teams, and think Indiana could even be a 2-seed with that strong RPI (No. 27). All three of those teams look like very secure at-large teams, so if a different team wins the conference tournament, I think the Big Ten becomes a four-bid league.

Stephen: Who had a more impressive mid-season turnaround: Auburn or Clemson?
Kendall Rogers: I would say Clemson. The thing with Auburn is that it actually did win some really nice non-conference games earlier this season against Indiana and USC…. where as Clemson didn’t really have much to hang its hat on until it went on that run in ACC play. Both teams have been ultra-impressive over the past few weeks, though.

Eric Simmons: Is Arizona State and USC in the NCAA Tournament if they win at least 1 game in the PAC 12 Tournament?
Aaron Fitt: USC for sure, and would probably get in even with a winless showing thanks to that 17-13 conference record, and a stronger stretch run than ASU had. The Sun Devils have some real holes in their resumé that undermine their 16-13 league record; just 5-14 against the top 50, and not a very good final month. I think they must win at least one game to have a decent shot, and two would be better.

Justin: How many games must South Carolina win in the SEC Tourney to salvage a Regional Host?
Aaron Fitt: I think the number is 2. That brutal last month really undermined a lot of South Carolina’s very strong metrics… but they still have a great RPI and lots of high-end wins, so if they can just show the committee some life and win a couple games in Hoover, I think they still host.

James: How do you feel about Southeastern Louisiana letting Matt Riser go? As a Lions season ticket holder, it seemed like a move that needed to be done.
Kendall Rogers: First of all, I really like Matt. I’ve known him a long time and I think he’s a great person and a very quality coach. With that said, the Lions were trending the wrong way last season before going on a run in the conference tourney. Then, they followed that up by finishing at the bottom of a weak Southland Conference this season. A shakeup makes sense, but I also would’ve been totally fine with them staying pat with Matt. He’s a good coach.

Jimbo: Thoughts on the pool play tournament format the ACC uses. Which format do you prefer SEC Round robin or ACC pool play?
Aaron Fitt: Personally I prefer the cadence of the ACC format, which I think puts less strain on teams and works better from a scheduling standpoint. But I know lots of people prefer the SEC format, which is at least less of a meat-grinder than it used to be. I hated the old SEC format, but the new one is pretty good.

Top 8 Seeds: Grade my top 8 seeds:

Wake
UF
Arkansas/LSU
Arkansas/LSU
Clemson
Stanford
Vanderbilt
Virginia

I understand why your rankings do as they do, but committee seed rankings are not done the same. Meaning, I get why yall have Stanford ranked 3, but their 34 SOS (worst of top 8 candidates), 11 RPI (worst of top 8 candidates), and 0 top 25 RPI wins (worst of top 8 candidates) should get them a worse top 8 seed then LSU, Arkansas, Clemson (heck even Vanderbilt honestly, I threw Stanford a bone here).
Aaron Fitt: We’re pretty close to agreement here, we just have Stanford at No. 5 in our latest projection today, and I could see a case for having the Cardinal even a spot higher. Dominating the Pac-12 by five games is loud, and should be treated accordingly.
Lubbock: Man how fitting is it that the Big 12 came down to a 3 way tie for the championship. With that said which ones have the best chance to host or even get a top 8 seed?
Kendall Rogers: Lubbock, I would rank the order of hosting as Oklahoma State, Texas and West Virginia in that order right now. But make no mistake, the Big 12 tournament this week will have major bearing on how that pecking order looks a little later this week.

Guest: Is winning the AAC regular season and tournament enough for the Pirates to be a lock as a host? Would they also need help from others losing early in their respective tournaments?
Kendall Rogers: Guest — The Pirates have some pretty iffy metrics, but if they won the conference regular season AND tournament, and were ranked high in the human polls, I think it would be very difficult not to have them as a Top 16 host. Would look a little odd for the committee.

Matt: Does NC State have to win the ACC tournament to make a regional?
Aaron Fitt: Nah, they’re in better shape than that, thanks to that No. 26 RPI. At least they got to 13 ACC wins, which feels like the minimum threshold for ACC teams to have a realistic shot. The bubble feels softer than ever right now, so NC State should stand a decent shot if it can win two games, and is probably safe with 3 wins.

Clemson Cat: Did you see where ACC announced all attendees’ at the ACC Tournament have to wear HazMat suits when Clemson plays because they’re radioactively hot? How high or low is the range for Clemson as a hosting seed? If they go 2 and BBQ are they out of the Top-8? If they go 4-0 and lift the trophy are they Top-2 or 3?
Aaron Fitt: I did see that, and I applaud the ACC for looking out for the welfare of the other student-athletes. Seriously, Clemson is nuclear right now, what a run. I think they’re a safe top eight even with an 0-2 in Durham, and I could see them climbing to 3 or 4 with a deep run.

The Fellas: Oral Roberts is on a roll. Do you think they have the chance to be a 2 or 3 seed in the regional or are they stuck as the 4 because of the terrible conference they are in? Also, why are they not in the Top 25 this week?
Kendall Rogers: ORU is a damn good club …. that play by Jonah Cox over the weekend was one of the best I’ve seen this season. With that said, RPI is sitting at 77. Maybe ORU can become a three seed by rolling through the conference tournament? Unlikely, though.

Jay: Can you assess what ND must do in the ACC tournament to feel decent about their NCAA chances? Is beating Wake a must?
Aaron Fitt: Going 2-0 in pool play with a win over the Deacs would sew up a bid, but I think 1-1 with a loss to Wake would still give them a decent shot, given the current state of the bubble. But they are in a precarious spot as an ACC team with a No. 47 RPI, that is not comfort zone for an ACC bubble team. But they should get an RPI boost just by playing Wake, even if they lose, so that’s helpful.

Eric Simmons: Is it Pac 12 Tournament Title or bust for UCLA as far as their NCAA Tournament hopes?
Aaron Fitt: Yep. 12-16-1 in the Pac, No. 62 RPI — there’s no path to an at-large bid for them.

Jack: Do you think teams like Oregon State or BC could benefit from committee trying to spread out hosting sites (especially with the glut of southeast teams this year from SEC/ACC)?
Kendall Rogers: Absolutely. Ideally, I’d like to have Oregon State as a host, but the committee — in recent years — has really held strong on the RPI as a tool for selecting hosts. No one with an RPI higher than 24 has ever hosted a regional in the Top 16 era. Remember, the basis for regionals these days is not supposed to consider ‘geography’, but more so the best teams. Ironically enough, I think OSU is a better team than at least two of those three Big 12 teams in the mix.

Andrew Miller: Is Campbell still in the hosting picture and if it came down to ECU or Campbell who would you have in as a host.
Aaron Fitt: Yes, Campbell is certainly still in the mix, and clearly ahead of ECU based on the 3-0 head-to-head record. Campbell also has a better top 50 record (5-4) than these other mid-major host candidates we’ve been talking about, like Indiana State (2-9), DBU (2-7) and UConn (1-2). I’d feel better about the Camels if they hadn’t lost that final series, but you can make a case they should still be ahead of those other mid-major host candidates despite a lower RPI (No. 25) because of the top 50 record. And at least they still won the regular-season conference title, which is always key for one of these types of teams. If I’m betting, I would not bet on any of these teams hosting, but they’re all still in the mix.

Eric Simmons: What does UTSA need to do to get an at large bid? I think get to the Conference USA Championship Game
Kendall Rogers: Eric — Probably need to win the whole tournament to get in, but getting to the conference title game might move the RPI in the mid-50s, which would at least give Pat Hallmark’s club a chance. They don’t have a chance right now with an RPI in the 60s.

GoBeavs: The RPI seems to always be open for debate on its value. Why is so much weight put onto it and should there be a different metric used or at least added into the post-season decisions?
Aaron Fitt: The RPI carries so much weight because the committee has never bothered to look for a better system. They should, but they haven’t — so until they do, we’re stuck using it as a key tool in our analysis as well.

Paul: Any thoughts on Dan McDonnell going to Alabama?
Kendall Rogers: Paul,
I do think Dan McDonnell is open to leaving Louisville this go-round…. but I also am pretty good at reading the tea leaves on coaching moves, and the fact that Dan so emphatically mentioned facilities upgrades, etc, in his press conference the other day tells me that he’s wanting to feel the love facilities wise. With that said, should Louisville not provide guarantees for that, I 100% could see him moving on.

Jon: If you could pick only one and they were in the same draft class, would you prefer Wyatt Langford or Jac Caglianone?
Aaron Fitt: That’s a great question, because I think Langford is an absolute can’t-miss bat, whereas Cags is more pitchable but has enormous upside as both a hitter and a pitcher. The legitimate MLB two-way potential is so enticing, but I think Langford is a perennial all-star bat you can build a lineup around, with a safer floor. I suppose I’d take Langford if I HAD to pick, but that’s tough!

john: If South Carolina does not host, do they go to coastal or clemson regional?
Aaron Fitt: Depends how frisky the committee is feeling! My guess is probably Coastal but could go either way.

Mike: Oregon State is in an interesting position. 2nd in the Pac-12, but an RPI right around 30. The Beavs start off with games against UA and ASU. In the past, the committee used to take geographic considerations into assigning hosts (leniency for West Coast schools to allow multiple hosts). Now that the committee has moved to a purely Top 16 teams regional assignment, what do the Beavs need to do in the Pac-12 tournament to feel comfortable hosting?
Kendall Rogers: If the Beavers win those two games, they should 100% be a host no matter what they do the rest of the way in the tournament. I will be beating that drum in that scenario.

Greg: A month ago, I thought Dylan Crews was a lock for the Golden Spikes. Not the case anymore. Who do you have as the national player of the year now?
Kendall Rogers: A man named Paul Skenes. In a year when pitching is down across the board, he’s been by far the best pitcher in college baseball. He’s the guy for that trophy right now IMO.
Aaron Fitt: I think I agree with KR on this one.

Mufasa: How in the world does Southeastern Louisiana fire Matt Riser? Guy has put the program on the map. 4 regionals and 3 conference championships in 10 years in Hammond Louisiana! Where do you see Riser ending up at? He’s a great man and coach.
Aaron Fitt: I actually agree with you and differ a bit from Kendall’s take on this one. They had a rotten year, but I think what he’s done there is impressive, and I think he’s a dynamic personality who was a great fit there. I would not have fired him if I were the AD, personally, but I do get it.

Brendan: why with a RPI in the mid 40s is Maryland firmly a 2 seed and not closer to the bubble?
Aaron Fitt: The fact that Maryland has won 11 straight series and took the Big Ten regular-season crown should make them a slam-dunk regional team, RPI be damned.

B: LMU dominated the WCC in a way I haven’t seen in almost a decade.. do they have a chance for an at-large w/o winning the tournament title?
Kendall Rogers: No shot to make it as an at-large team. That league is brutally bad from an RPI standpoint with just one team (Santa Clara 93) with an RPI inside 100. LMU is 102, but I do think it would be a crazy dangerous No. 4 seed with Diego Barrera on the mound. He’s very, very good, and such a unique look.

Brad: What does Coastal need to do to host and possibly get a national seed. Friday and Saturday starting pitching was hurt, but they hopefully are back and during the process they found some young arms. Great coaching job by coach Gilmore. What percentage do you have for them to get out of Regional? Thx for ur coverage.
Aaron Fitt: Yeah, incredible coaching job by Gilley and his staff, they did an amazing job holding it all together despite some key injuries. I think this team is very, very likely to host, even with a winless showing in the conference tournament. And if they host, I do like their chances to win a regional at home — that’s a scary offense that is well suited to its home ballpark. Of course, South Carolina’s offense is also a great fit for that ballpark, so if that’s the 2-seed, it could be interesting.

SDSouthpaw: What can you say about the job coach Newman has done at UCSD this year? When was the last time a post-season ineligible team won its conference?
Aaron Fitt: He’s a stud, and that’s a program to buy stock in as it completes its Division I transition — feels like the Tritons are going to be an annual factor in that race, up there in the UCSB tier. Most recently, I believe Cal Baptist won the WAC before being postseason eligible not too long ago.

Jack: What are Texas Tech’s odds of making the tournament if they don’t win the big 12 tournament? How many games do they need to win in the B12 tourney to be safe or does it have to be the whole thing?
Kendall Rogers: Jack — the bubble is pretty small right now, so Texas Tech is fine for now, but I’d have the Red Raiders as the sixth of seven Big 12 teams in the field. So, a poor showing in Arlington would likely spell doom. With that said, Tech AD Kirby Hocutt is on the committee, and that always means something even when the committees claim it doesn’t.
Aaron Fitt: OK that’s all I have time for today, thanks again, everyone!

Pop: Not sure if this is confirmed, but I head that the selection committee opted to not have an SEC rep on it this year. Do you think this well result in host seeding being less SEC heavy that the rankings?
Kendall Rogers: Committee chairman John Cohen is the athletic director at Auburn.

ACC fan: Who would your pick be for ACC Coach of the Year? Tom Walter for surpassing the lofty preseason expectations on Wake? Erik Bakich or Mike Gambino for leading unexpected turnarounds at Clemson and BC? Other?
Kendall Rogers: ACC — I would go with Bakich. To go from where they were at the start of the season to where they are now is pretty incredible. Wake is not doing anything we didn’t really expect them to do. Gambino would probably be right there with Bakich for me. BC was picked to finish last in the ACC.

Matt: Do you think it’s fair to award and undeserving Oregon State a regional because ESPN would prefer (demands) a 2nd west coast host? In my estimation the only team west of the Mississippi (other than Stanford) that is a sound bet to host is Oklahoma State. Does this move Dallas Baptist, or Texas into stronger consideration over an east coast team on the bubble to host with the tiebreaker being their time zone? It’s an only hour but perhaps the committee takes Texas and has a first pitch at 9pm rather than OSU in a 10pm window.
Kendall Rogers: I think Oregon State is actually more deserving than a couple of teams we have as hosts, I just don’t think the committee will pull the trigger on a team with a 30 RPI. That’s why we think they need to win a couple of games in the Pac-12 tourney.

Jon: Who is the Omaha sleeper this year? A team that isn’t likely to host but you could easily see in Omaha and potentially winning the whole thing.
Kendall Rogers: Tennessee would fit this billing. The Vols have some really, really nice pieces on the mound. I’d advise teams to not let the Vols get too hot …

Mojo: Is Oregon in danger of not making the NCAA Tournament if they go two and out in the Pac-12 Tournament? On the flip side, if they win the tournament, is there any off-chance of hosting?
Kendall Rogers: Mojo — Oregon won’t host even with winning the tournament, but I do think there’s a slight chance it could drop out of the field with a poor showing in Scottsdale. I’m still betting the Ducks make the field, though. The bubble is just so incredibly small right now.

Jake: If could go back to preseason in February, which pair missing conference tourney would surprise you more: Ole Miss/State or Lville/FSU?
Kendall Rogers: The latter. I still had some question marks on Mississippi State coming into the season. I thought Louisville was going to be really good, and I thought FSU would actually be very good with Crowell, Baumeister, and with the addition of Link Jarrett. Great question (and close call).

NE ball: Does Kent St have a chance to get in if they don’t win the MAC?
Kendall Rogers: NE — They definitely do given the fact their RPI is sitting at 46 and they dominated their conference. Let’s say Kent State rolls through its conference tournament and falls short in the final game, I’d probably have the Flashes in… we will see what materializes this week.

Sherman: Hey guys. I asked a similar question last week, but will reword it this time. Of the four “bubble” teams in the Big 12, what is their order from least susceptible to most?
Kendall Rogers: Sherman:

TCU, Kansas State, Texas Tech, Oklahoma is my order going into Arlington.

laxtonto: Does A&M have to do well in the SEC tourney at this point?
Kendall Rogers: LAX — with how weak the bubble is right now, the Aggies were not even really a bubble team in today’s projections. Lose Tuesday and get some stolen bids and things could get pretty interesting. A win over Tennessee on Tuesday would pretty much seal the deal, though.

Dustin: Is UConn in no matter what happens in the big East tournament? Any possible path to hosting or is the RPI just to low?
Kendall Rogers: UCONN is definitely in no matter what. And the Huskies have an RPI of 25, which means they’re within striking distance. Roll through the Big East tourney and they will have a s hot. The biggest road block right now is just the sheer number of host contenders right now. It’s a laundry list.

JT: Thoughts on Ostrander taking over for Scott Berry @ USM?
Kendall Rogers: JT — Love that hire for Southern Miss. Ostrander is an absolute rock star of a person and pitching coach, and he has experienced at all levels of coaching. I think that’s a no-brainer, terrific hire for USM. He will carry the torch quite nicely.

Ryan: What does Southern Miss need to do in the Fun Belt tournament in order to host? Won 15 out of the last 16. Have some impressive wins (including sweep of DBU) but the RPI is sitting at 28
Kendall Rogers: Ryan — Great question. I love what USM has done as of late, and I think if it runs the table in the tournament it will be a tough club to deny a host for. That would mean an RPI around 18-21 with a sizzling hot last month of the season + a non-conference series sweep over fellow host contender DBU.

Ihateallteams: Most dangerous 4 seed?( if current 64 holds true?)
Kendall Rogers: I would put Oral Roberts in that mix. Same with someone like Grand Canyon. I also think Army and LMU are pretty dangerous as well.

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