May 30, 2011
Leadoff Thoughts on Selection Monday
By Sean Ryan
The NCAA College Baseball Selection Show has come
And to keep with tradition, it’s time to marinate
the steaks, ice the drinks and take a quick look at who’s going
to be playing for the right to head to Omaha for the College
We’ll take a more detailed look later on today.
Let’s start with the elephant, er, Tiger in the
room. LSU, with a RPI of 26 according to Boyd Nation at
BoydsWorld.com and the 47th strongest schedule in the nation,
was left out of the Field of 64.
Surprising, since we and other national pundits
had LSU safely in. Shows what we know…
We’ve become accustomed to the power conferences
getting seven, eight, nine or even 10 bids to the tourney. And
pretty much every time, we’ve complained that it’s too many, or
that a team that doesn’t make its conference tourney doesn’t
deserve to make the NCAA field, particularly in the SEC.
The SEC has seven teams in the field – we’ll have to check the
last time it’s been so few. LSU finished ninth and missed the
SEC tourney. Yet, we had them pegged to be in based on the RPI
and strong finish, including a road series win at Mississippi
State the last weekend of the year. We also thought a bevy of
close games – including seven one-run losses in the league (two
apiece to Florida and Arkansas) – would give them the benefit of
On the ESPN broadcast, committee chairman Tim
Weiser dinged LSU for beating up on the worst of the SEC teams
and for not having enough of an out-of-conference sample to deem
the Tigers worthy. We could be seeing a sea change in college
baseball: The committee just called out LSU for its schedule.
Year after year, SEC, ACC and other power schools welcome anyone
who will come in for a home game and pick up three wins and
seldom go on the road for tough games. This committee, for
possibly the first time in recent memory, slapped a team for
As for who did get in, independent Dallas Baptist
and St. John’s likely were among the last few teams to make the
DBU has a RPI of 45 but a
schedule ranked 162. We chose Elon for our last spot over the
Patriots, partly because of the schedule and that 12 of their 39
wins came against the SWAC. That said, there were some nice wins
– TCU (2), Oklahoma State and Rice among them.
We also had St. John’s out of the field. With a
RPI of 54 and SOS of 135, the Red Storm is the lowest rated
at-large. We aren’t saying St. John’s isn’t a very good team. We
were simply surprised to hear its name. The Red Storm (second in
Big East) played some nice road opponents, getting a win at
Georgia Tech and two at Georgia Southern early. But it also went
0-4 in North Carolina, losing to North Carolina, UNC Greensboro
and Gardner-Webb (2).
Who else had gripes?
Elon won the Southern
Conference regular season and had a RPI of 49. But the Phoenix
dropped two straight in its conference tourney, and the typical
strength of the SoCon wasn’t there this year. We had Elon in our
final field, just ahead of Dallas Baptist and Cal State
Cal State Bakersfield has to
be looking at Dallas Baptist and thinking, “Why not us?” Also an
independent, Bakersfield went 1-0 against Arizona State, went
1-2 at South Carolina, 1-3 against Kansas State, 1-2 against
UCLA and 3-1 against Fresno State. With a SOS of 57 (more than
100 teams higher than Dallas Baptist), the Roadrunners were in
A few other quick hits.
Virginia as the top national
seed would draw UCLA and its stable of pro pitching prospects in
the Super Regional round if both survive this weekend. Rice, the
No. 8 national seed, would get TCU. The committee sure does like
making it tough on Virginia, which drew Stephen Strasburg and
San Diego State two years ago in its Omaha season.
The committee seemed to send
more teams packing and avoided some obvious matchups. Charlotte
getting a trip to Arizona State wasn’t expected. East Carolina
and James Madison getting out-of-state trips when they could
have been kept in-state. But, you’re bound to have a few
standbys: Miami and Florida anyone???
Fullerton looks like a tough
Regional, and Fort Worth could be fun. Atlanta and Nashville
appear likeable for the home teams.