Weekly Top 25 Chat: Week 11


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Caleb: What has ECU done different this year from last year? They seem to be a much better team.
Kendall Rogers: Caleb — I think it’s pretty simple. While the Pirates have had good offensive teams in the pass they’ve got a lot of quality depth on the mound. Kuchmaner/Agnos are both really good, and the bullpen has several options. This is the most complete ECU team I’ve seen in my years of covering this sport, I think.

PG: With the college baseball season getting into the final few weeks, who is a mid-major program that could shock some teams going into tournament time?
Kendall Rogers: PG — Keep an eye on Texas State. We considered the Bobcats for the Top 25 and they’ve got some really nice pieces. The offensive lineup is solid, and from what I saw at the Shriners tournament earlier this season, they’ve got a quality rotation, too, with Nicholas Fraze, Hunter McMahon and of course, talented Connor Reich. This isn’t some offensive heavy with no arms type of Sun Belt club. They’re scary IMO.

Tex: Do you think Baylor will host a regional after sweeping TCU this past weekend?
Kendall Rogers: Texas — We will see what Mark and Aaron think Tuesday night, but I like Baylor’s chances of being a Top 16 this week. The Bears’ RPI took a big climb after the TCU series, they lead the Big 12 by 1 1/2 games and they are trending the right direction.

Landen : If southern miss knocks off ole miss and Fau at home this week… top 25?
Kendall Rogers: Laden — i would like their chances. Southern Miss was in the mix for a Top 25 spot in our rankings this week, but frankly, its resume is very weak overall. Those would be high quality wins to say the least, so would bolster their chances.

cjk Bulldogs: Although Miss St is in good post-season position now, they have to go to A&M and Ole Miss the next two weekends. Seems like they have to go 4-2 and win both series to keep a top-8 national seed.  Concur?
Kendall Rogers: CJK — If State can win 2 of its last three series, it’s in outstanding shape for a top 8, IMO, entering the SEC tournament. Of course, even if State loses 2/3 series to end the season, it could still roll through Hoover and likely earn a top eight as well. Lots at play here down the stretch for all those SEC West clubs.

HamSolo: How far do you think Arkansas can go in the NCAAT?
Kendall Rogers: Ham — I think Arkansas could win the national title, I really do. I do have Aaron’s concern about those two freshmen in the rotation come postseason time, but Noland, especially, has thrown well as of late. I do believe in the bullpen and Campbell is elite. If those other two starters pitch well, the sky is the limit for DVH’s club, IMO.
Aaron Fitt: Hey guys, sorry I’m late — I’m traveling again today, but hopefully KR has been taking good care of you here. Let’s get after it.

Jack: How far can Texas tech go in the postseason especially with the team heating up at the right time?
Kendall Rogers: Jack — Texas Tech can win the whole thing if it plays the way it did the past two weekends against Baylor and OSU. Tech’s bullpen, especially, was very good against the Cowboys, while Caleb Kilian put together yet another solid start. The offense was already elite, but they’ve just taken a while to get rolling. We’ll see how Tech does down the stretch, but highly encouraged by its surge as of late.

Heel: If UNC wins their last 2 ACC series (@Pitt, NCSU), are they in good shape to host? Up to 11 Top 50 wins now
Aaron Fitt: Yeah I think so. That 15-9 ACC record carries a lot of weight, and if they win those last two series to get to at least 19 ACC wins, there’s no way they don’t host. 18 conference wins could do it too, although UNC is a little light on quality series wins (vs. Miami and a sweep of Duke, and that’s really it — no other series wins over potential regional teams).

Spear15: How many ACC wins does FSU need to make sure RPI doesn’t keep them out of the NCAA’s? Seems like at Louisville is their only chance to really boost RPI and we know that will be a tough series.
Aaron Fitt: This is shaping up as a very interesting test case. FSU is 14-10 in the ACC but just 57th in the RPI. You basically never see ACC teams in the 50s get at-larges… but you never really see ACC teams that go 18-12 or better in conference getting left out, so something might have to give. I certainly expect FSU to win 4 more ACC games to reach that 18-12 mark, and if they do, I have a feeling they can sneak in even with a borderline RPI. As long as it’s not outside the top 60, I think.

Matt: Does UConn still have a realistic shot at hosting?
Aaron Fitt: No, I think that ship sailed with three series losses in the last four weekends. UConn just needs to worry about getting over .500 in the league to secure its at-large footing. At least the RPI is still strong, in the mid-20s. But will the fifth-place team in the American get a bid, even with a good RPI? They need to move up the standings some.

Sid: Any chance the SEC gets four national seeds? If not, which set of dawgs is on the outside looking in? I’ll apologize prior to any ill will I bring upon you if the answer is yes.
Aaron Fitt: I think there’s a very realistic chance the SEC gets four of the top 8 seeds, yes. Certainly you’ve got to feel like Vandy and Arkansas are slam dunks at the moment, and now Mississippi State is ahead of Georgia in the pecking order after that sweep this weekend. But UGa is still right in the mix with a 13-8 SEC record and a No. 4 RPI.

IllegalEagle: With LA Tech getting swept by Rice and FAU dropping 2 of 3 to ODU, does this solidify the CUSA as a 1 bid league?
Kendall Rogers: Illegal — No. I think Southern Miss and FAU are still in the mix for two bids, though FAU has more work to do with an RPI in the 50s. I don’t think a C-USA team with an RPI in the 50s is making the field. I would have USM in right now, and FAU on the bubble (out), but we’ll see how things stack up Tuesday night in the NerdCast.

Daniel: Granted that preferences vary a great deal, what team plays the most entertaining style of ball this year?
Aaron Fitt: That’s a fun question. You guys might know I have soft spot for Matt Deggs Ball, and the two games I saw Sam Houston State play in Frisco were a blast to watch — they are so hyper-aggressive on the basepaths, it’s really entertaining. They have power and speed and a “power bunting” game that I really enjoy as well. That would be my pick.

Scott S: How bout that Canes RPI?! Thoughts on hosting possibilities?
Kendall Rogers: Scott, the RPI and conference record are both major plus marks for the Canes Top 16 chances. Should the Canes take their final two ACC series and play well in the ACC tournament, hard to see them not being a Top 16 seed. But the resume (from a metric standpoint) isn’t amazing with a losing record vs. RPI top 50 teams.

Corey: With the remaining schedules in the sec, do you feel that Arkansas or Vandy has the best chance for the season title. Also, do you feel confident in both as a national seed.
Aaron Fitt: Vandy has two winnable road series against two of the three non-regional contenders in the league (at South Carolina, at Kentucky), as well as a home series against Missouri. I think that’s probably about as favorable as you could hope for in the SEC. Arkansas is at Kentucky, vs. LSU, at Texas A&M. I think the schedule favors Vandy here in a big way.

Bo: I enjoyed the write-up on Georgia Tech! What do the Jackets need to do to break the “first round exit” curse that’s been plaguing them the past few tourney appearances?
Kendall Rogers: Bo — The one good thing about this Georgia Tech team is that the make up is really good and they are tough. I think the rotation is good enough assuming Brant Hurter comes back, while the bullpen remains somewhat of a concern. As long as the bullpen can keep things together in the postseason, I like Tech’s chances of winning a home regional. Super Regional is really anyone’s game.

W2: Is Florida State making a move to regain a regional host spot if they play out the last three weeks of the season like they have these previous three?
Aaron Fitt: I still think it’s a long shot — the RPI Needs Report estimates that FSU needs to win 10 of its last 12 just to finish the regular season inside the top 45. Even if they get to 20 ACC wins, they’re not hosting with an RPI in the 40s. But if they finished that strong and then made their typical deep run in the ACC tourney, maybe they could climb up closer to 20ish and have a shot at it… But right now I don’t think I’d bet on it.

Shabba Ranks: Is Cal on the inside looking out at the moment in terms of making a Regional?
Kendall Rogers: Shabba — I feel pretty good about Cal right now. RPI of 47 with a record two games above .500 in Pac 12 play. Those teams typically get in. With that said, Cal has little room for error down the stretch with that league mark.

LeRoy: If ND beats UofL this weekend, and sweeps BC can they make the postseason at 17-13 in ACC?
Kendall Rogers: LeRoy — RPI is in the 90s right now, so even with series wins in both of those, the Irish would still have some serious work to do in league play.

Al : How do y’all feel about NC States hosting chances at this point in the season? It’s crazy that two years in a row the Wolfpack have started out hot and kind of dropped down the stretch
Aaron Fitt: Not feeling great about their chances right now. And hey, injuries have played into this swoon — Will Wilson is one of the best players in America, and not having him is a huge blow. Plus Patrick Bailey is playing at far below 100 percent, and Feeney and Klyman just haven’t been right either, which has really hurt the staff. Certainly they could still host if they finish strong vs. Clemson and at UNC — let’s say they win both of those to get to 18-12 in the ACC, that would probably help get that RPI back up and reverse their negative momentum, and would likely get them into hosting position. But right now, I don’t really expect that to happen, because they’re really struggling. Of course, so is Clemson… so maybe it all comes down to that final weekend in Chapel Hill.

Wes Johnson’s Nephew: Is DBU now the best team in DFW? TCU is out of the tournament two years in a row and DBU has taken 3 of 4 from TCU.
Kendall Rogers: There’s zero doubt DBU is better than TCU. DBU is a really solid club and actually as in the discussion to be in our Top 25 this week. The resume is still a little light, but this team looks really good. TCU will need win the Big 12 tournament to make the field of 64 in all likelihood.

owlzowlzowlz: If Rice can get in the top 60 RPI (would probably require a 11-1 run down the stretch but we do have 5 games vs. top 50 (all at home) and then some winnable away games), could they be in contention for an at-large? Obviously 11-1 is a big ask but they’ve played well recently…. Just dreaming. Would give Rice somewhere around 8-11 Top 50 wins (depending on how LA Tech plays down the stretch).
Kendall Rogers: Owl — I was encouraged by Rice’s play over the weekend. Evan Kravetz pitches really well every time I see him and some pro team is going to get a really nice senior sigh in the talented lefty. Canterino is obviously a stud, so this team could be dangerous if they can just find a way in. WTS — I think they have to win the conference tourney to get in no matter what. A C-USA team with an RPI in the 60s isn’t making the field as an at-large.

Mitch Riddle: Can Texas Tech get to Omaha for the 4th time in 6 years and do they have enough to win a National championship
Aaron Fitt: They certainly can — there’s a reason that was a consensus top-five team in the preseason, it’s a very talented bunch, and right now they’re playing like the team we expected them to be. For me TTU is a legitimate title contender, though I wouldn’t say they’re one of the front-runners right now.

Travis: How impressed are you with the job Steve Rodriguez has done at Baylor this year without Cody Bradford? What do they have to do to become a host?
Kendall Rogers: Travis — To say I am impressed would be an understatement. Those guys have done a great job, and Jon Strauss deserves credit for the job he’s done with the pitchers, too. The fact Baylor blew out TCU twice without Davis Wendzel was encouraging, too. BU is going to be a dangerous team in the postseason with all of its veteran leadership. Right now, I have BU as a top 16 host — but we will see how things line up Tuesday night.
Aaron Fitt: Yeah, I think Steve Rodriguez has to be one of the leaders in the national coach of the year discussion, to this point. He’s done an amazing job, agree with KR 100 percent.

PDXer: With Oregon State having another excellent season, is there any new word on who will be the head coach long-term?
Kendall Rogers: PDXer — No word from Corvallis just yet. I think Bailey and his staff have done a wonderful job. I think if someone was forcing me to bet on a scenario, though, I would have Pat Casey returning for the 2020 campaign. We’ll see what happens.

Cole: Do the SHSU Bearkats have a chance to get an at-large or do they likely need to win the Southland Conference Tourney?
Kendall Rogers: Cole — Sam Houston is one of those teams I could see shocking someone and winning a regional just like they did in Lubbock a while back. With that said, no Southland team is making the field is an at-large with an RPI in the 50s or 60s.

Bart: Is Duke in the discussion these days? A quick comparison of their resume with Florida State’s makes me think they must be. Duke is higher in the RPI, and FSU has one more conference win. Both teams took 2/3 this weekend vs. mid-range ACC teams, but Duke was away and FSU at home. I know Duke has a chance to prove itself after the exam break vs. two tough ACC teams, but curious what the conversation has been thus far, especially after the sweep at Clemson.
Aaron Fitt: Duke was indeed in the Top 25 discussion this week, I like that they’ve won four straight ACC series — just a completely different team since Joey Loperfido’s return, everything has just clicked into place. But the resumé is a little light for the Top 25 still — just one series win (sweep at Clemson) against a potential regionals team, and Clemson is trending the wrong way. FSU’s isn’t much better, and the Clemson sweep (at home) is the highlight of its resumé too, but at least it also has a series win now over a Wake Forest team that is in the at-large discussion — and a team that won a series at Duke. So that’s the difference right now, and the fact that FSU has preseason top 10 pedigree still plays a factor — there’s a lot of talent on that roster. I like Duke’s club too, but ultimately I still think FSU has a better shot to make a deeper postseason run than Duke.

Dabo: Obviously, Clemson has played less than stellar, as of late, but has some good wins to their credit with ball left to be played. Do you see them in the field of 64?
Kendall Rogers: Dabo — I would probably have Clemson in as of today, but BARELY in. The Tigers clearly need to finish the season in strong fashion to make the field of 64. It’s been a bizarre past few weeks for Clemson, that’s for sure.

wrecked: Moving into the final 3 weeks of the regular season and with a robust record against the top 25 how confident are you guys that Georgia Tech can continue its pace of series wins and host as a national seed?
Aaron Fitt: Very confident. They’re already sitting at 15-9 in the ACC, and I think 19 or 20 conference wins would be enough. With a sweepable home series against Pitt, and a tricky but potentially manageable series at Duke, I think they’ll get there. Could even wind up as a top eight at 18-12 in the league.

Jay B: No question for me, just wanted to let you guys know that Heston Kjerstad’s 2nd homer on Saturday night just landed about 30 minutes ago. WOO PIG!
Aaron Fitt: Oh yeah, I saw it land actually, right outside the John Wayne Airport here in Orange County. Pretty good poke.

Luke : Kendall, with Ole Miss 13-8 in the league and the rpi at 21 do the Rebs have to win the last 3 weekend series against LSU, State, and TN to host a regional? Or will 2 out of 3 series be enough?
Kendall Rogers: Luke — I think Ole Miss is a definite Top 16 team if it wins 2/3 of the last SEC series, and plays relatively well in Hoover.

Zeb: Randy Hood just named head coach at UNCW.  Seemingly an assistant in high demand that was actually promoted as the coach in waiting as anticipated.  Good move from your perspective?
Kendall Rogers: Zeb — I like the hire for UNCW. Randy was always going to be the hire, but it’s not some token assistant hire. Randy has been at UNCW for 15+ years is very well respected in that league and part of the country and certainly knows the right formula for winning at UNCW. I like the hire.
Aaron Fitt: Yeah this was as much of a no-brainer as any hire could ever be. Randy Hood is a really good coach, and this ensures a seamless transition.

SoonerinAustin: Top 9, Your team is up 1, you can have any closer in the NCAA. Who do you choose?
Aaron Fitt: You know, I think I’d probably take Jake Mulholland. He’s been a shutdown guy for three years, he’s been in Omaha twice already and been part of a national title team. And he’s been really good again this year. If Eisert wasn’t in the rotation now, I’d be hard-pressed to pick between those two guys…

TV: Tech was finally able to sweep a team in Big 12 play. Will it end up hurting tech more that they were unable to sweep Kansas and KSU or losing 2 of 3 to a Texas team that looks to be dead in the water.
Kendall Rogers: TVU — I don’t think so. I think Tech will probably win its final couple of series, and if it plays well in the Big 12 tournament, it’s not out of the realm of possibility to be a Top 8 seed. Lots to play for these final few weeks for the red-hot Red Raiders.

Matt: What does Florida have to do in the remaining 3 series (@ UGA, Tennessee, @ Mizzou) to make the NCAA tourney?
Kendall Rogers: Florida will need to win 2/3 of its final series and win some games in Hoover. If the Gators win 2/3, that puts them at 14-16 going into Hoover. I would not want to lose that first game in Hoover. Lose that and UF probably misses the field no matter what its RPI is …. weird times in Gainesville.

Max G.: Why does the Pac 12 not do a conference tournament?
Aaron Fitt: The West is just weird like that — no conference tourney in the Big West either, and the WCC didn’t have one for years. They like a true champion to be crowned over the course of the regular season, when everybody plays everybody — and I see the validity to that, but I really like having a conference tournament because it helps give the teams lower down the standings with poor RPIs some reason to hope. If they can just get into the conference tournament and have a hot weekend, they still have a chance to play in the postseason. Right now, if you’re Arizona with a 7-14 record and an RPI in the 70s, your season is basically over — you’re almost certainly not going to make a regional, and that’s that. I think that’s dumb.

Chris: What do you think it would take down the stretch for Tulane to put themselves in position for an at large bid?
Kendall Rogers: Chris — Tulane will probably need to win its final three series and probably play well in the league tourney. Tulane needs to get inside the Top 50 and have a strong American finish to be an at-large team.

Conference USA Fan: Has Matt Wallner done enough to be a high draft pick this year or should he stay at Southern Miss for his senior year to improve his stock?
Aaron Fitt: He hasn’t performed at the same incredible level he did his first two years, but he’s still hitting for power, and I think there’s no way he comes back for his senior year — power is a valuable commodity, and his track record is strong. He’ll get drafted in a good spot and he’ll go play pro ball, I would think. Maybe the wild card is his medical report — there’s a reason he hasn’t pitched this year, after all.

Chandler: What do you think of Nebraska’s chances at making a regional after not coming up with the walk off in the rubber match on Sunday. They have @Northwestern this weekend than two straight home series against Arizona St and Michigan (which I think this will determine who wins the B1G regular season crown). Thoughts? Thanks guys!
Kendall Rogers: Chandler — I think the Huskers are definitely in if they win 2/3 of their final remaining series. The big one to make sure they win is Arizona State, while you definitely do not want to slip up against Northwestern, which has a bad RPI. RPI in the 30s with a good conference standing? The Huskers are likely in.

Ralph G: After a series loss for Wake Forest, what do the Deacs need to do to make the tournament at this point?
Aaron Fitt: At No. 60 in the RPI and 12-12 in the ACC, the Deacs are really still right in the thick of it. They’ve got vs. Miami and at Clemson remaining… If they win both series, they’ll get in, I say. If they split the two and finish 15-15 in the league, they’ll need to make some noise in the ACC tournament to boost their RPI.

ATXDude: Is it as simple as getting to 10-13 in Big 12 play for Texas to get into the NCAA Tournament?
Kendall Rogers: ATX — Texas isn’t making the tournament with a 10-13 record in the Big 12, IMO. Horns will need to win the final two series and do some damage in Oklahoma City. If they win the final couple of league series, I don’t think they need to win the Big 12 tournament. But they’d need to roll.

JoeBruin: Any sure fire national seeds (top 8), without a doubt, to this point yet?

Kendall Rogers: UCLA would probably be the only one at this point. The Bruins have such a strong resume, it would take an epic collapse not to be a top eight seed.

Kendall Rogers: All right guys – that’s all the time we have today. you can use the coupon code 2019Promo to get 25% off an annual subscription. —

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