May 18, 2011
Phil Stanton and Sean Ryan
(May Madness) is here.
What a great time for
college baseball! One conference tournament is in the books,
three will play this week and the remainder will commence next
There continues to be
much at stake this week. Some teams are hoping to be national
seeds or regional hosts. Some are working to improve resumes for
at-large consideration. Others are fighting for spots in
conference tourneys with the hopes of capturing a league title
and an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
Princeton remains the
lone squad already in the Field of 64 after winning the Ivy
League crown. The Tigers await the other 63 to the party.
Here’s our weekly look
at the potential field. RPI info is courtesy of Boyd Nation at
www.boydsworld.com. Records and RPIs are through games of
May 17. Happy teams in bold.
America East (1)
– The field is set for the conference tournament, just seeding
to be determined. First-place Stony Brook (18-2, 37-10,
has won seven straight and needs one victory in its four-game
set with fourth-place Albany (11-7, 19-25) to claim the
regular-season title and the top seed in the tourney.
Second-place Maine (15-5, 26-21) looks to extend its 10-game win
streak at home against third-place Binghamton (12-7, 20-23). We
still think the Seawolves are the top dogs in America East.
– Georgia Tech (20-7, 37-16,
helped its chances for a national seed with a series win over
North Carolina (17-10, 41-12) to claim the second-best
record in the ACC. Virginia (22-5, 45-6,
won its series with Miami (17-9, 32-19,
to maintain the top spot in the league.
Florida State (18-9, 39-13, RPI 4)
and Clemson (15-12, 37-16,
are still in the picture as national seeds. NC State (12-15,
30-23, RPI 29)
appears safe for an at-large bid. This week, the Tar Heels host
the Cavaliers, the Yellow Jackets go to Virginia Tech (10-17,
29-23, RPI 69), the Tigers visit the Seminoles, the Wolfpack
goes to Boston College (7-19, 17-30), the Hurricanes host Duke
(6-21, 25-28) and Wake Forest (12-15, 22-28, RPI 65) travels to
Maryland (5-22, 21-32, RPI 85) in hopes of holding onto the
final ACC tourney spot.
Atlantic Sun (3) – Tuesday night was huge for A-Sun
at-large hopefuls, as ETSU (15-10, 35-17,
won at Georgia Tech and
Jacksonville (18-9, 33-18, RPI 42)
was victorious at Florida. Stetson (22-5, 39-14,
already has secured the tourney’s top seed and this week will
face Belmont (15-12, 30-23), a team fighting for one of the
final two spots in the A-Sun tourney. The other two battling for
a place in Nashville are Mercer (15-11, 34-17, RPI 68), which
entertains ETSU and could play itself into contention, and
preseason favorite FGCU (13-14, 24-28), which hosts Lipscomb
Atlantic 10 (1)
– There are seven teams trying to secure one of the final four
spots for the A-10 tourney.
Charlotte (17-7, 38-12, RPI 96)
the leader in the clubhouse after its series win at La Salle
(12-9, 26-22) to complete its league slate. Rhode Island (15-6,
29-18, RPI 53) must sweep its series at Dayton (13-8, 28-24) to
win the regular-season title. We’ll stay with the 49ers as our
pick for now, but the Rams should be formidable in the
conference tournament. Other significant series this week
include Xavier (12-9, 28-23) at Fordham (11-9-1, 30-21-1), La
Salle at Saint Louis (8-13, 26-26), Richmond (12-9, 25-23-2) at
Saint Joseph’s (9-12, 19-30) and Massachusetts (7-13-1, 16-27-1)
at St. Bonaventure (11-10, 21-22).
Big East (2)
– First-place Connecticut
(20-4, 37-14-1, RPI 41)
has clinched the regular-season title, which helps its at-large
chances if it doesn’t win the conference tourney. Second-place
St. John’s (16-7, 30-17,
saw its RPI jump 14 places after a sweep at Georgetown (5-19,
23-30) to extend its win streak to seven. We’ll put the Huskies
and Red Storm in for now, but St. John’s needs to keep winning
and pull for minimal upsets in other conference tourneys. Seven
teams are battling for the final five spots in Clearwater. This
week’s slate has UConn at Cincinnati (13-11, 29-23), Villanova
(6-18, 19-30) at St. John’s, Pittsburgh (15-9, 31-19) at USF
(11-13, 23-28, RPI 99), Rutgers (9-15, 18-29) at West Virginia
(13-11, 27-23), Notre Dame (12-11, 21-25-1) at Louisville
(12-12, 27-26, RPI 100) and Georgetown at Seton Hall (11-13,
26-23, RPI 78).
Big South (1)
– Coastal Carolina
(18-6, 35-17, RPI 50)
stumbled last weekend, dropping two of three at Winthrop (13-11,
25-27). It was a result that could give others in the league a
bit of hope that the Chanticleers can be knocked off in the Big
South tourney. Liberty (17-7, 32-20, RPI 81) won its series at
Gardner-Webb (13-11, 29-19, RPI 92) to pull within a game of
Coastal. We still pick the Chants, but an at-large isn’t
guaranteed if someone else takes the tourney title. This week’s
schedule has Charleston Southern (14-10, 27-26) at Coastal,
Radford (12-12, 28-22) at Liberty, Gardner-Webb at Winthrop,
High Point (8-16, 23-29) at VMI (12-12, 25-22, RPI 71) and
Presbyterian (6-18, 21-32) at UNC Asheville (7-17, 15-34).
Big Ten (1) –
Minnesota (12-9, 21-20)
is still our pick, but it is a shaky one after the Golden
Gophers lost two of three at Penn State (10-11, 30-19, RPI 93).
More surprising was first-place Michigan State (13-8, 32-18, RPI
74) getting swept at Indiana (11-10, 30-22). These series could
be a prelude to an exciting and unpredictable Big Ten tourney.
The final week of the regular season has Northwestern (9-11,
19-27) at MSU, Ohio State (11-10, 23-24) at Minnesota, Indiana
at Illinois (12-9, 22-25), Iowa (9-12, 20-29) at Purdue (11-10,
33-18) and PSU at Michigan (6-14, 16-35).
Big 12 (6)
– Baylor (11-13, 27-23,
got a huge series win at
Oklahoma State (13-10, 33-19, RPI 32)
to help its at-large chances and distance itself from .500.
Texas Tech (10-14, 31-22, RPI 45) drops out of the field this
week after losing its series at Missouri (10-13, 23-28, RPI 75).
Kansas State (9-14, 31-21,
RPI 56) saw its RPI drop
17 spots after a sweep of New Orleans and an extra-innings loss
at Wichita State. The Wildcats are still in because of a series
sweep of the Red Raiders but must make the Big 12 tourney field
to stay in the at-large pool.
Texas A&M (18-6, 37-16, RPI 10)
and Texas (17-7, 38-12, RPI
13) have hopes of being a
national seed and will face off this weekend for the Big 12
Oklahoma (13-9, 39-13, RPI 17)
is still fighting to host a regional. The Sooners travel to
Baylor this week, while Texas Tech hosts OSU and KSU tangles
Big West (2) –
Cal State Fullerton (17-4, 36-14, RPI
12) swept Long Beach State
(8-10, 26-20, RPI 70) to enhance its chances of hosting a
regional. The Titans are off this weekend and could clinch the
title and the automatic bid if second-place UC Irvine (13-5,
35-13, RPI 46)
loses its series at UC Riverside (8-10, 26-20). The Anteaters
need to keep winning to keep their RPI up for an at-large bid.
– Old Dominion (18-9, 27-22) won its home series with UNC
Wilmington (16-11, 28-25, RPI 95), but James Madison (18-9,
34-17) swept Towson (14-13, 25-26-1) to force a tie for
first. We are still picking the bats of JMU, but it should be a
great CAA tourney. The Monarchs and Dukes have clinched playoff
spots, but five teams are battling for the other two slots. This
week, JMU goes to Northeastern (12-15, 18-30), ODU heads to
Hofstra (10-17, 13-31), VCU (11-16, 21-30) travels to UNCW,
Georgia State (15-12, 35-18) hosts George Mason (6-21, 20-30-1)
and Towson entertains William and Mary (14-13, 25-26-1).
Conference USA (4)
– Kudos to the schedule-maker. For the first time in league
history, the top two teams will meet on the final weekend with
the regular-season title on the line. First-place Southern
Miss (15-6, 37-13, RPI
15) and second-place
Rice (14-7, 36-17, RPI
11) both hope to host
regionals. UCF (10-11, 34-19,
had a critical sweep at UAB (9-15, 27-25, RPI 64) to move into a
tie for fifth. East
Carolina (11-10, 34-18, RPI 34)
remains in good shape
for a bid. The Pirates travel to Tulane (10-11, 30-21, RPI 60)
this week, while the Knights host Marshall (6-15, 19-29).
Great West (0)
– Utah Valley (19-1, 27-20) won four at Houston Baptist (13-11,
15-37) to keep its lead over second-place Northern Colorado
(18-4, 22-27) by three in the loss column. No automatic bid or
at-large this year.
– Wright State (14-6,
split a doubleheader with Cleveland State (5-20, 12-40) and
holds a one-game lead over UIC (13-7, 24-24). Valparaiso (13-8,
21-28) and Milwaukee (13-9, 25-25) are close behind. We still
pick the Raiders, but they’ll have their hands full in the
Horizon tourney. This week, WSU hosts Butler (10-12, 22-24), UIC
entertains Youngstown State (7-13, 12-36) and Valpo goes to
– Dallas Baptist (37-16, RPI 54) missed a great opportunity to
improve its RPI in a Tuesday loss at Baylor. The Patriots host
Charlotte this weekend, but we’re not sure a sweep would be
adequate to raise their RPI enough for at-large consideration.
But they would be at 40 wins, which would merit consideration.
– Princeton (23-22)
awaits Selection Monday after earning the automatic bid for the
Metro Atlantic (1)
– Manhattan (17-2, 28-17)
has clinched the regular-season title and the top seed in the
MAAC tourney. The Jaspers will play at Iona (7-14, 17-31) this
week. Second-place Rider (16-7, 30-16) has completed its
conference schedule. Four teams are fighting for the remaining
two spots in Trenton. Marist (12-9, 34-15, RPI 97) goes to Siena
(12-9, 24-27) in a battle for third, while Canisius (10-9,
23-29) hosts Niagara (4-17, 7-38) and Fairfield (10-11, 19-25)
entertains Saint Peter’s (5-15, 16-31).
– Kent State (19-4, 37-13,
needs one win in its series against Akron (6-18, 14-35) to
secure not only first place in the East Division, but also the
top spot in the MAC tournament. The West is a bit more crowded.
The top two teams meet this week as Central Michigan (15-8,
27-24) travels to Eastern Michigan (15-9, 33-18). Also in the
West, Northern Illinois (14-10, 27-24) visits Western Michigan
(11-12, 24-27) and Toledo (14-10, 25-25) goes to Ball State
(9-14, 13-34). We think the Golden Flashes will win the MAC
tournament and advance to the NCAA tourney.
– Bethune-Cookman (18-0, 32-22) is the top seed and host
in this week’s MEAC tournament. The Wildcats are the heavy
favorite to advance to another NCAA tourney.
Missouri Valley (1)
– First-place Creighton (12-6, 36-13,
won its series at Evansville (7-10, 28-20) to stay on top of the
standings, but Missouri State (11-6, 31-18, RPI 66) swept
Bradley (4-14, 22-27) to pull within a half-game of the Bluejays.
The Bears will travel to Creighton this week in a battle for
first. Wichita State (11-7, 33-24, RPI 82) won its series
against Indiana State (7-11, 25-24) to stay within a game of
Creighton. The Shockers travel to Bradley, while Illinois State
(10-8, 32-16, RPI 72) hosts Evansville. Creighton remains our
pick, but the tourney should be wide open.
Mountain West (1)
– TCU (17-3, 37-15,
won its series against second-place Utah (16-7, 27-18, RPI 90)
to clinch the MWC regular-season title. The Horned Frogs are
still working to host a regional. TCU goes to New Mexico (10-11,
16-36) to close the regular season.
– Monmouth (25-7, 34-17) is the top seed in this week’s
NEC tournament, followed by Sacred Heart (23-9, 31-21, RPI 94),
Long Island (19-11, 28-21) and CCSU (17-14, 25-23-1). The
tourney has been delayed one day by rain and will begin on
Friday in Norwich, Conn. The competition will be tough, but
we’re going with the Hawks.
Ohio Valley (1)
– We’re changing horses in this OVC race. Austin Peay (15-5,
28-21) won its series against our previous pick, Southeast
Missouri State (11-8, 29-20), to clinch the regular-season
title. The Governors go to UT Martin (9-11, 18-32) this week,
while the Redhawks entertain Eastern Illinois (9-9, 18-30).
– We’ll stick with our six-pack in the Pac-10. First-place
Oregon State (16-5, 37-12,
RPI 20) won its series at
Washington (5-16, 15-32), but watched its RPI drop nine spots to
fall out of the national seed picture. The Beavers still have a
good chance to host a regional.
Arizona State (14-7, 36-13, RPI 7)
lost two of three at USC, but still has a strong RPI for
national seed and hosting considerations. Stanford (10-11,
28-18, RPI 23),
Arizona (11-10, 32-17, RPI
California (12-9, 28-16, RPI 35)
and UCLA (14-7, 28-19,
are solid for now. The Beavers host the Trojans this weekend,
while the Sun Devils visit the Huskies, the Bruins entertain the
Golden Bears and the Cardinal welcomes the Wildcats.
– Top-seeded Navy (12-8, 31-22-1) will host Army (11-9,
21-24) next week in the Patriot League Championship Series. We
lean toward the Midshipmen on their home field after the two
split their four-game series in West Point, with four tight
Southeastern (9) – Georgia (15-12, 27-26, RPI 25) had a
damaging stretch last week, losing to Mercer before dropping two
of three at Kentucky (7-20, 24-28). The Bulldogs will host
Vanderbilt (20-7, 42-8,
before the SEC tournament. We don’t think Georgia will be able
to stay above .500 for its overall record, so we’re leaving the
Bulldogs out. We’re putting LSU (11-16, 34-19,
in this week. The Tigers play at
Mississippi State (13-14, 21-10, RPI
24) this week and we think
LSU wins the series to earn an at-large bid, even if it misses
the SEC tourney. The Commodores join
Florida (20-7, 39-14, RPI 2)
South Carolina (20-7, 42-11, RPI 6)
in working to be national seeds.
Arkansas (13-14, 34-17, RPI 14)
still has a chance to host a regional.
Auburn (13-14, 28-25, RPI 30),
Alabama (13-14, 31-22, RPI
36) and Ole Miss
(12-15, 29-23, RPI 38)
are in for now, but the Tigers have to keep that overall record
above .500. Auburn ends the regular season at Tennessee (5-22,
– First-place Elon (21-6, 34-18,
remains in great shape for an at-large spot. College of
Charleston (17-10, 35-18, RPI 61) won its series against
Appalachian State (13-14, 29-24) to stay in third, now tied with
Georgia Southern (17-10, 31-21, RPI 86). Second-place UNC
Greensboro (19-8, 31-18, RPI 91) swept The Citadel (8-19,
20-33), but must win the SoCon tourney to get into the NCAA
tourney because of its RPI. This week, Elon hosts Furman (12-14,
22-29), UNCG goes to Wofford (9-18, 22-30), CofC travels to
Samford (16-11, 32-21, RPI 77) and GSU heads to ASU. This should
be another excellent conference tourney.
– Texas State (23-7, 34-18,
RPI 39) swept Nicholls
State (12-18, 23-27) to clinch the regular-season crown.
Southeastern Louisiana (17-13,
34-19, RPI 44)
took two of three from Stephen F. Austin (18-12, 32-20) to stay
in the at-large picture. Sam Houston State (17-13, 34-19, RPI
59) is on the board, but just out of the field in our view. Many
teams are still battling for conference tourney spots. This
week, TSU visits UT Arlington (13-17, 25-28), SFA hosts Lamar
(14-16, 28-23), SHSU entertains Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (16-14,
31-22), SELA goes to Northwestern State (10-20, 21-31), McNeese
State (14-16, 26-26) heads to Nicholls State and Central
Arkansas (12-18, 23-27) goes to UTSA (14-16, 24-29).
– Southern (16-8, 26-20) is still our pick to win the
SWAC tourney this week in Shreveport, La. Alcorn State (19-4,
22-27) won the East and will provide tough competition.
– South Dakota State (17-7,
lost three of four at Oral Roberts (17-7, 29-20) to fall into a
tie for first. The Jackrabbits host IPFW (11-13, 16-31) this
week, while the Golden Eagles entertain Southern Utah (11-13,
23-27). We still think SDSU will unseat ORU at the Summit
tourney, but it won’t be easy.
Sun Belt (3)
– FIU (18-8-1,
35-16-1, RPI 26) is
scalding hot, unbeaten in its past 16 games. The Panthers won 15
straight before a travel curfew tie on Sunday with Arkansas
State (10-16-1, 22-30-1).
Troy (19-8, 38-15, RPI 48)
remains in first by an eyelash.
Florida Atlantic (16-11, 31-20, RPI
is still in decent shape for an at-large bid.
Louisiana-Lafayette (16-11, 29-23, RPI 62) needs a big finish to
return to the at-large picture. This week features repeat series
from the opening weekend of conference play as Troy goes to
South Alabama (14-13, 28-24, RPI 88), FIU hosts FAU, ULL heads
to ULM (8-19, 23-28), Western Kentucky (15-12, 30-21, RPI 80)
travels to Middle Tennessee (8-19, 17-35) and UALR (10-17,
20-29) visits ASU.
West Coast (1)
– Gonzaga (12-3, 29-16-1,
swept a three-game set at Portland (6-9, 18-29) to keep pace
with San Francisco (14-4, 28-22), which took three from
Pepperdine (5-10, 20-27). The Dons are off this weekend, while
the Bulldogs head to Pepperdine. USF will play at Gonzaga next
weekend to determine the champion and recipient of the WCC
– Hawaii (15-5, 30-21, RPI 73) took three of four from San Jose
State (10-10, 32-21, RPI 98) to keep its hold on first ahead of
Fresno State (16-7, 36-11,
which swept four from New Mexico State (7-13, 32-20). The
Bulldogs have completed their conference slate, while the
Rainbows go to NMSU this week. We still think Fresno State
represents the WAC in the NCAA tourney.
Last five in:
Kansas State, LSU, St. John’s, Southeastern Louisiana, UC Irvine
First five out:
Texas Tech, Sam Houston State, Rhode Island, College of
Charleston, Missouri State