May 26, 2008, 10 a.m.

Field of dreamers

Selection Eve


By Phil Stanton and Sean Ryan



Selection Day has arrived, and with it, the usual questions:

Power conference or mid-major; RPI or strength of schedule; conference record or league tournament showing.

The result is a grab bag of worthy teams. What seemed so clear a few weeks back is anything but for the committee that will select the 64 participants in the NCAA college baseball tournament.

In that bag are the following teams, with our picks for who makes it off the bubble and who stays home (full list below).

Oregon State – Let’s discuss the elephant in the room. The two-time defending champion proved it again can play with anyone, winning series against Georgia, Pepperdine, Arizona State, Arizona and UCLA. But three banana-peel losses to USC and a RPI of 59 are reason to worry. The strength of schedule is great at 14. We expect the Beavers to make the list. But we’ll also say, they could be one of the first teams left out.

St. John’s - The regular-season champs of the Big East lost two in a row in the conference tourney. Never a good thing. The RPI is 57, but the Red Storm didn’t lose a conference series all year. We think St. John’s is in. If it isn’t, it might be a result of no real marquee wins out of conference.

New Orleans - Forty-two wins and a RPI of 43 in the ninth-best conference. It’s extremely close, but we put the Privateers in, possibly taking a spot from Tulane by virtue of winning two of three against the Green Wave.

Arkansas - Nine from the SEC? We waffle every year. This year, we think Arkansas very easily could be left at home. We wouldn’t have a problem with that. But we also wouldn’t have a problem with the Hogs getting called. They were a game away from making the SEC tourney field, which would have made their bubble talk a moot point. 14-15 in the SEC might show better than poor conference records in other big-time conferences (Clemson, Oklahoma). And, the head of the selection committee is from the SEC?

College of Charleston - The toughest call on the board. The RPI is 53, and the Cougars were second in the regular season and in the Southern Conference tourney. On the plus side is a win over Coastal and two over a good Texas-San Antonio. On the negative, no other real big wins out of conference (0-4 against Clemson and South Carolina). We give them the nod, but could very easily see their spot being given to Baylor, Oklahoma, Tulane or even Clemson.

Why not the following?

There’s really no good reason for including the five above and not Baylor, Oklahoma,
Tulane, Clemson, Missouri State, Kansas State, Washington State, UC Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, New Mexico or San Francisco.

The toughest calls are Baylor, Oklahoma and Tulane. We realize we’ve included only five from the Big 12, which we don’t really think will happen. Good luck to the committee choosing between the Bears and Sooners. Oklahoma (41) a higher RPI than Baylor (48) and took two of three from the Bears. But the Sooners’ conference record hurts.

And Tulane? The RPI is 49, and the Green Wave was third in the tough C-USA.

We think anything could happen. Should the committee look at the big conference teams (Oregon State, Baylor, Oklahoma, Arkansas), it could be a long day for the smaller (College of Charleston, Tulane, St. John’s).

It’s a grab bag. It’s anyone’s call.

Good luck to all.


America East (1) – Stony Brook


ACC (6) – Miami, North Carolina, Florida State, NC State, Georgia Tech, Virginia


Atlantic Sun (1) – Lipscomb


Atlantic 10 (1) – Charlotte


Big East (2) – Louisville, St. John’s


Big South (1) – Coastal Carolina


Big Ten (1) – Michigan


Big 12 (5) – Texas, Texas A&M, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Missouri


Big West (4) – Long Beach State, Cal State Fullerton, UC Irvine, UC Davis


Colonial (2) – James Madison, UNC Wilmington


Conference USA (4) – Houston, Rice, Southern Miss, East Carolina


Horizon (1) – Illinois-Chicago


Ivy (1) – Columbia


Metro Atlantic (1) – Rider


Mid-American (1) – Eastern Michigan


MEAC (1) – Bethune-Cookman


Missouri Valley (1) – Wichita State


Mountain West (1) – TCU


Northeast (1) – Mount St. Mary’s


Ohio Valley (1) – Eastern Illinois


Pac-10 (6) – Arizona State, Arizona, California, Stanford, UCLA, Oregon State


Patriot (1) – Bucknell


SEC (9) – LSU, Georgia, Vanderbilt, Florida, Kentucky, South Carolina, Ole Miss, Alabama, Arkansas


Southern (2) – Elon, College of Charleston


Southland (1) – Sam Houston State


SWAC (1) – Texas Southern


Summit (1) – Oral Roberts


Sun Belt (2) – Western Kentucky, New Orleans


West Coast (2) – San Diego, Pepperdine


WAC (1) – Fresno State


Independent (1) – Dallas Baptist


Last five in (in order): Arkansas, New Orleans, St. John’s, College of Charleston, Oregon State


First 10 out (in order): Baylor, Oklahoma, Tulane, Clemson, Missouri State, Kansas State, Washington State, UC Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, San Francisco