May 24, 2011
We're in the midst of Maydness
Phil Stanton and Sean Ryan
(May Madness) is here in full force.
We have five teams in
and 25 more automatic bids to award this week before Selection
Monday. It should be a great Championship Week.
Congrats to Alcorn
State, Bethune-Cookman, Navy, Princeton and Sacred Heart for
winning their conference tourneys and securing spots in the NCAA
We’re going to take an
abbreviated look at our Field of Dreamers so we cam post before
all the tournaments get underway. RPI info is courtesy of Boyd
www.boydsworld.com. Records and RPIs are through games of
May 23. Happy teams in bold.
America East (1)
– Stony Brook (22-2, 41-10,
won the regular-season title handily and should prevail on its
home turf in this four-team field.
Atlantic 10 (1)
– First-place Charlotte
(17-7, 39-14, RPI 90)
is still our pick, but
will be challenged by Rhode Island (16-8, 30-20, RPI 67) and
Dayton (15-9, 30-25) in Camden.
Big South (1)
– Coastal Carolina
(20-7, 37-18, RPI 52)
is the class of the conference, but will have its hands full
with Liberty (18-9, 33-22, RPI 88) and an improved Winthrop
(15-12, 27-28) in the tourney. Coastal’s RPI right now may be
good enough for an at-large bid, but two losses in the
tournament could drop the Chants off the board.
Big Ten (1) – This is going to be a very interesting
tournament. Illinois (15-9, 25-25) swept Indiana (11-13, 30-25)
to earn the top seed over
Michigan State (15-9, 34-19, RPI 81).
We think the Spartans will emerge victorious in Columbus, but
keep an eye on Minnesota (13-11, 22-22).
– Old Dominion (19-11, 28-24) surprisingly lost two of three at
Hofstra (12-18, 15-32) to pave the way for James Madison
(21-9, 37-17, RPI 61)
to take the regular-season title. We like the bats of the Dukes
to power their way to the title, but UNC Wilmington (18-12,
30-26, RPI 95) will be a challenge on its home field and Georgia
State (17-13, 37-19) won’t be a pushover.
– UCI (16-7, 33-17) rallied to claim a share of the
regular-season crown with
Wright State (16-7, 33-17).
The Flames will be tough in the tourney along with Milwaukee
(15-10, 27-26) and Valpo (14-10, 22-30), but we think the
Raiders rule on their home field.
– Dallas Baptist (39-17,
saw its RPI rise nine places with its series win over Charlotte.
The Patriots have concluded their regular-season schedule and
must hope for minimal upsets in conference tourneys. DBU is in
for now, but precariously perched on that bubble. At 30-21 and a
RPI of 54, Cal State Bakersfield has played its way back to the
bubble with a sweep of Fresno State.
– Princeton (23-22)
waits for Selection Monday after earning the automatic bid for
the Ivy League.
Metro Atlantic (1)
– Manhattan (20-2, 31-17) manhandled the MAAC competition
and is the strong favorite to emerge from the four-team field in
Trenton, but don’t sleep on Rider (16-7, 33-16).
– Kent State (21-5, 39-14,
saw its RPI fall 10 spots by taking two of three from Akron
(7-20, 16-37). The Golden Flashes are in a similar situation to
Coastal Carolina. KSU should win the MAC tourney, but two losses
in their bracket or a single loss in the title game could drop
its RPI out of at-large consideration.
– Bethune-Cookman (35-22) won its sixth straight MEAC
title and will look to make some noise in the NCAA tourney.
– Sacred Heart (34-21,
got three complete games from its starters to win the NEC
tournament. The second-seeded Pioneers topped #3 Long Island
(28-23) and beat top-seeded Monmouth (36-19) twice to win their
Ohio Valley (1)
– Austin Peay (17-6, 30-22) earned the regular-season
title, but will get stiff competition from Southeast Missouri
State (14-8, 32-20) and Jacksonville State (14-9, 33-21) in the
– Top-seeded Navy (33-23-1) beat Army (22-26) on Tuesday
to earn the Patriot League title.
– Alcorn State (26-27)
defeated Southern (29-21) to win its first SWAC title and gets
ready for its initial trip to the NCAA tournament.
– Oral Roberts (21-7, 33-20,
swept a four-game set from Southern Utah (11-17, 23-31) to claim
another Summit title, edging South Dakota State (20-8, 35-18).
We think the Golden Eagles will take the championship, but after
a tough battle with the Jackrabbits.
West Coast (1)
– Gonzaga (14-4, 31-17-1,
is tied with San Francisco (14-4, 28-22) for first and the two
teams meet this weekend to decide the champion and recipient of
the WCC automatic bid. We like the Bulldogs to take two of three
at home from the Dons.
Missouri Valley (1)
– Creighton (15-6, 39-13,
swept Missouri State (11-9, 31-21, RPI 66) to claim the
regular-season crown. The Bluejays will be the lone MVC
representative if they win the tourney. Look for Wichita State
(14-7, 36-24, RPI 74) and Illinois State (13-8, 35-16, RPI 56)
to challenge Creighton in Omaha.
Mountain West (1)
– The masses will be amazed if someone other than TCU (20-3,
40-15, RPI 15)
wins the MWC. Utah (16-7, 28-19, RPI 94) hopes to be that team.
– What looked to be a multi-bid league will likely send just one
if Elon (23-7, 36-19,
wins the tourney. UNC Greensboro (22-8, 34-18, RPI 82) has been
hot of late, while College of Charleston (18-12, 36-20, RPI 64),
Samford (18-12, 34-22) and Georgia Southern (18-12, 32-23, RPI
93) all have the talent to win it all in Charleston.
– Fresno State (17-7,
37-14, RPI 25)
will be the lone wolf from the WAC in the NCAA tournament if it
wins the league tourney. Hawaii (17-7, 32-23) will be the top
seed and hopes to join the Bulldogs in the Big Dance.
– The ACC is solid with its seven bids.
North Carolina (20-10, 44-12, RPI 1)
swept Virginia (22-5, 45-6,
RPI 2) to join Georgia
Tech (22-8, 39-17, RPI
Florida State (19-11, 40-15, RPI 4)
in the fight for a national seed. Clemson (17-13, 39-17,
should have a great chance to host a regional.
Miami (19-10, 34-20, RPI 20)
and NC State (15-15, 33-23,
are in good shape for at-large spots.
Atlantic Sun (3) – We’re keeping three in from the A-Sun
for now, but fifth-place ETSU (16-12, 36-19,
is a shaky pick. The Bucs can’t make a quick exit from the
conference tourney. Stetson (23-7, 40-16,
is in great shape and second-place
Jacksonville (19-11, 34-20, RPI 49)
looks solid right now. Keep an eye on this tourney. It should be
an interesting one, especially with Mercer (17-12, 36-18, RPI
58) on the buble and playing well.
Big East (2)
– This could turn into a one-bid league. First-place
Connecticut (20-4, 37-14-1, RPI 41)
has to feel confident in its chances for an at-large spot.
Second-place St. John’s
(18-8, 32-18, RPI 55)
has a bubbly RPI and needs some wins in Clearwater, but does
have its AD on the selection committee. If a lower seed wins the
tourney, St. John’s probably gets bumped.
Big 12 (7)
– Texas (19-8, 40-13, RPI
13) won its series with
Texas A&M (19-8, 38-18, RPI
12) and has the inside
track for a national seed. The Aggies and
Oklahoma (14-11, 40-15, RPI 17)
both hope to host regionals. Baylor (13-14, 29-24,
and Oklahoma State (14-12,
34-21, RPI 34) both seem
OK, but the Bears will be nervous if they go 0-2 in Oklahoma
City. We’re putting Kansas
State (12-14, 34-21, RPI 48)
and Texas Tech (12-15,
33-23, RPI 44)
in for now, but both could use some wins in the Big 12 tourney
along with no upsets in other conference tourneys. With the
chairman of the selection committee being from the Big 12, there
most likely will be at least six bids.
Big West (2) – There looks to be a solid two from the Big
Cal State Fullerton (17-4, 37-14, RPI
11) will be in the mix to
host a regional as long as it wraps up the conference title this
weekend. Second-place UC Irvine (15-6, 37-14,
looks to be in good shape as well.
Conference USA (4)
– Rice (16-8, 38-18,
will be in the discussion for a national seed if it wins the
C-USA tourney. Southern Miss (16-8, 38-15,
will be a regional host candidate with a strong showing in
Pearl, but just learned its top two pitchers are ineligible for
the league tourney. UCF (12-12, 36-20,
and East Carolina (14-10,
37-18, RPI 30)
are in good shape for at-large spots.
– We still like the thought of a six-pack from the Pac-10.
First-place Oregon State
(17-7, 38-14, RPI 27) hurt
its chances for a national seed with a series loss to USC
(12-12, 22-29, RPI 85).
Arizona State (16-8, 38-14, RPI 8)
could get a national seed if it gets at least a share of the
conference crown. Stanford (12-12, 30-19,
Arizona (12-12, 33-19, RPI
California (13-11 30-18, RPI 35)
and UCLA (16-8, 31-20,
are solid for now.
– What a crazy mess! Georgia (16-14, 28-28, RPI 22) has a great
RPI, but we don’t think the Bulldogs will get out of the SEC
tourney with a record over .500. Auburn (14-16, 29-27, RPI 36)
is in a similar predicament. We’re not sure the Tigers can get a
bid if they are just one or two games over .500. Ole Miss
(13-17, 30-25, RPI 40) hurt its chances by missing the SEC
tournament. We do think LSU (13-17, 36-20,
gets in, with a strong overall record and RPI as well as a 12-3
mark over the past 15 games.
South Carolina (22-8, 44-12, RPI 6),
Florida (22-8, 41-15, RPI
3) and Vanderbilt
(22-8, 44-9, RPI 5)
should all be national seeds.
Arkansas (15-15, 36-18, RPI 14)
still has a chance to host a regional.
Mississippi State (14-16, 34-21, RPI
Alabama (14-16, 32-24, RPI 33)
are both in good shape as well.
– Texas State (23-9, 34-20,
RPI 46) has the advantage
of a regular-season crown to help its at-large resume.
Southeastern Louisiana (18-14,
35-20, RPI 51)
is barely in for now, but could easily get bumped with an early
exit from the Southland tourney.
Sun Belt (3)
– Troy (21-9, 40-16, RPI
47) helped its cause by
finishing first in the Sun Belt. FIU (20-9-1,
37-17-1, RPI 24) has a
great RPI to go with its second-place finish. We’re keeping
Florida Atlantic (17-13,
32-22, RPI 42)
in for now, but the Owls need a couple wins in Monroe to help.
Last five in:
ETSU, St. John’s, Southeastern Louisiana, Florida Atlantic,
First five out:
Auburn, Ole Miss, Mercer, Illinois State, Rhode Island