The Triumphant Return of Don Ho and his Tiny Bubbles on the college baseball landscape

By Eric Sorenson. Posted on May 16th, 2013 in National stuff
 
The late, great Hawaiian legend Don Ho would like to sing Tiny Bubbles into your ears.

The late, great Hawaiian legend Don Ho would like to sing Tiny Bubbles into your ears.

It’s Don Ho time. “Tiny bubbles” are floating around everywhere in college baseball at this time of year. It almost seems like with this new RPI formula and the rewarding of road wins, the teams “on the bubble” are more numerous (and more diversified) than ever.

In case you don’t know anything about Don Ho, here’s a clip of him singing his legendary “tiny” ditty at the Hollywood Palace in 1967:

 

On Wednesday night, I got the chance to see a pair of teams squarely on that proverbial bubble as San Diego went into UC Irvine and picked up a sizable win by a 7-3 count. But history was made during the game as San Diego slugger Kris Bryant blasted home run No. 30 on the year, becoming just the second player since the BBCOR bat era to reach the 30-dinger club, joining Georgia Southern’s Victor Roache, who turned the trick in 2011.

 

This Torero win became even more important to the Torero cause since they blew an 11-3 lead the night before in a painful 12-11, 10-inning loss at UC Riverside. I got the chance to catch up with Torero honcho Rich Hill to discuss that whole RPI thing with him before the game. As usual with coach Hill, I pretty much just turned on the recorder and let him go. Here are a few snippets I pulled out of it.

 

- His response when I asked him if he thought his team was on the bubble:

“We are as “bubble” as you can possibly get, we are the definition of bubble.”

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- On his general feelings of where things are with the common start date and the RPI:

“I was okay with a common start date, but I never liked moving it back to mid-February. One of the things we struggle with as a private school is depth. We just don’t have the depth a lot of the teams in the big conferences have. So before the common start date, which rewarded kids in California, Florida and Texas who wanted to play in a warmer environment, it allowed us play Texas on January 21st, and then we could eliminate those mid-week games later in the season and concentrate our money into the pitching. And that has impacted the RPI for us a lot, along with the rewarding of road games in the formula.”

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- On his view of the change in the RPI formula and it’s effects:

“I Emailed Boyd Nation the other day. I asked him what our RPI would be this year under last year’s RPI formula. And he said we’d be at No. 38. Today, we’re at No. 50. So we’d be in, no problem. And I consider myself an RPI expert. I put so much time into scheduling for it, that’s why we played Kent State, Oregon State, Seton Hall, St. Louis… we’re playing all these league champions from across the country and our RPI is still in the 50s. So it’s very difficult from the WCC to build a really good RPI. It’s like that for just about everybody on the West Coast. Everything we do in scheduling is built toward Selection Monday.”

Kris Bryant's leadership has been a difference-maker for coach Hill and the staff this season.

Kris Bryant’s leadership has been a difference-maker for coach Hill and the staff this season.

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- On his feelings about his team this year:

“I’ve never had a team that plays through mistakes so well as these guys do. I haven’t had a team as tough as this one, as resilient as these guys. Last night’s loss (to UC Riverside) was as tough of a loss as you can imagine. And today, you’d never know it. You’d think our guys were the ones who had a great walk-off win last night. That’s our biggest strength is that this is a real team. We’re mentally tough.”

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- On Kris Bryant:

“Like the old saying, as he goes, we go. The physical side of our team is obviously Kris Bryant. We’ve got to get a couple of guys on base in front of him, we’ve got to get a couple of guys behind him to protect him. We’ve put up some good offensive numbers in a really good WCC this year.”

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- On his freshman ace P.J. Conlon (9-0, 1.54):

“He’s definitely gonna be on your All-Sorenson Team. He’s like 5’9″ and touches 90, mostly 86-to-88, throws his slider anywhere in the count, works quick. He was the teammate of USC’s Kyle Twomey (3rd round draft pick last June), and Frank Cruz told me, ‘I know our guy was a 3rd-round draft pick, but your guy (Conlon) may be more effective in college.’ Born in Belfast, Ireland, he’s tough as nails. His father was a soccer player for Fullerton. He’s one of those players who you really fall in love with.”

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- If he had to take back one loss this year, which game would it be:

“It’s a double-edge sword really. Coz there was a game against San Francisco we lost on a Saturday night (April 27th) in extra innings. We made a big comeback to send it into extra innings, then we made a few mistakes… it was an excruciating loss. One that you’d definitely LOVE to have back. But after the game, the players closed the doors on the locker room and told us coaches to leave the room. An hour and a half later, after midnight, they came out and since that night, we’ve been a completely different team. A totally different energy. Leadership emerged. Bryant was at the forefront of that meeting, which he needed to be. So even though it was the worst night of our season, it ended up being the best night. Now we’re on a roll in the WCC, we’ve won six of seven, and we’re on the bubble.”

The energy of his team has been on an uptick ever since that painful Saturday night loss to San Francisco three weeks ago.

The energy of his team has been on an uptick ever since that painful Saturday night loss to San Francisco three weeks ago.

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- On the West Coast Conference having a post-season tournament:

“Philosophically I’m apposed to it. We play 24 games, you deal with injuries and hot streaks, cold streaks, all that. You know who the best team is. But on the other hand, I’ve never seen such energy to the conference either. Seven of the nine teams still have a chance to extend their season on the last weekend. There’s something to play for. It’s also the best way for the WCC to get multiple bids, which we feel we’ve deserved most years but haven’t gotten them often. So again, it’s good with the bad.”

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LIVING ON THE EDGE. 

 

Here are a baker’s dozen of teams I consider to be on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament. Sure, your bubble teams might differ from mine, but here’s what I’m looking at for the toughest decisions the selection committee must come to grips with. (The rankings used are from Boyd Nation’s Thursday morning RPI release)

 

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- PITTSBURGH, 40-11, RPI No. 70

Pluses: 

First off, the Panthers are No. 1 in the Big East, ahead of RPI darlings like Louisville and Seton Hall, so if they win the regular season title, that has to have major pull for them. Their 15-5 road record is pretty good, but they are also one of only 11 teams with 40+ wins currently. Also, keep in mind how the committee rewarded regular season champs last year, even when their RPIs were in the 50s.

Minuses: 

An RPI of No. 70? Damn! It’s hard to escape that sore thumb. The strength of schedule is in the 240 range and a full 19 of their wins – nearly half, if I’m doing my math right – came at the expense of teams ranked No. 200 or higher.  Of those 15 road wins, the only really impressive ones were the season opening weekend at Wichita State.

What They Need To Do:

First off, try to come out with at least a co-championship in the Big East regular season. They’ll take on Louisville this weekend and, for God’s sake, just don’t get swept. If you win one, fine. If you win two?… You’re in. Other than that, be sure to make a deep run in the Big East tournament too. (Don’t worry Stitch-Heads, you’ll read that mantra a lot in this column, so get used to it.)

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- MICHIGAN STATE, 29-16, RPI No. 36

Pluses: 

The Spartans have some impressive Big 10 weekends, including series wins over Indiana (a sweep), Illinois and Ohio State. Early season road wins at Kentucky, Austin Peay and league-leaders Western Carolina and Tennessee Tech will help too. You guys made the NCAA tournament last year as the 5th place team in the Big 10, so you have a history of getting love from the committee.

Minuses: 

Getting swept vs. Michigan and losing the series to Iowa this past weekend really hurt their profile. If the season ended today, they’d finish 7th in the Big 10, meaning they’d miss the conference tournament. Win or lose, the final Big 10 weekend vs. last-place Penn State could pull the drapes down a little bit as well.

What They Need To Do:

Without a doubt, win the Penn State series, maybe even sweeping is a must. That will help make the Big 10 tournament, which is also a must. Now that I think of it, missing your conference tournament and still going to the NCAAs is sooooo SEC-like, and not so much a Big 10 thing.

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- UC SANTA BARBARA, 29-21, RPI No. 47 

Pluses: 

The RPI is getting nearer and nearer to the “good” range. Winning four of their last five Big West weekends – including series wins over Cal Poly and UC Irvine – has the Gauchos tagged as one of the hotter teams in the country.  Strength of schedule is 50th – albeit, 20th in Boyd Nation’s ISR – and they’ve proven that they’re willing to hit the road against good programs in non-conference play.

Minuses: 

Your knee-jerk reaction is probably, “Why isn’t UC Irvine on this list instead, since they’re behind the Anteaters in Big West play?” Losses to Hawaii (two) and even getting swept at Texas look really bad now. Six games vs. Pacific and UC Davis in the next two weekends won’t help their quality wins ledger either.

What They Need To Do:

It’s a must that the Gauchos finish the regular season ahead of UCI in the Big West standings, just to give them another leg to stand on. They also gotta hope like hell that they can sweep UP and UCD… or at least go 5-1. Oh, and go ahead and win that mid-weeker at UCLA on Tuesday too.

The UC Santa Barbara Gauchos hope to be dancing on Selection Monday.

The UC Santa Barbara Gauchos hope to be dancing on Selection Monday.

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- NEBRASKA, 23-26, RPI No. 30

Pluses: 

With an RPI of No. 30, these guys could just waltz into the Big Dance if they pick up a few more wins. For a Big 10 team with a losing mark to have an RPI this high, just goes to show how good this conference is this year. Of course, the committee loves how tough of a non-conference slate they played too. Major props Mr. Erstad and Co.

Minuses: 

Losing record. Losing record. Losing record.

What They Need To Do:

C’mon guys, just get above the Mendoza Line. Simple as that. Just to make sure of everything, go ahead and sweep Michigan this weekend and then win two or three games in the Big 10 tournament. Otherwise, you’ll just have to take that sexy RPI and gloat about it on the golf course.

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- MARYLAND, 28-24, RPI No. 26

Pluses:

All talk about the bubble begins with “How many does the ACC get in?” The ACC is the top-rated conference in the country and has a ridiculous eight teams in the RPI Top 20. The Terrapins own wins over Virginia, Florida State, N.C. State, Miami, Virginia Tech and Clemson – all Top 20 RPI teams. With an RPI in the mid-20s, if the Terps were in any other conference, their inclusion would be a no-brainer, right?

Minuses: 

C’mon, their ACC record is 9-18 and their ONLY series win came at Duke. Other than that, they’ve lost every series. How can they be rewarded for this? A bad team in the ACC doesn’t mean they should be a bad team in the NCAAs.

What They Need To Do:

Hope to God that the selection committee leans heavily on the retarded RPI more so than most seasons. Otherwise, even a sweep of last place Boston College this weekend won’t help enough.

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- OKLAHOMA, 35-17, RPI No. 60 

Pluses: 

The Sooners spent a good portion of the season in the Top 20 of the RPI and beat teams like UCLA, New Mexico, Pepperdine, Kansas and TCU as part of their 25-5 start. Not bad, right? They’re tied for 2nd place in the Big 12, the No. 4-ranked conference in the country.

Minuses: 

The RPI has shockingly rocketed out-of-range in the at-large discussion in the last few weeks, after playing New Orleans and then losing weekends vs. West Virginia and Oklahoma State. The strength of schedule is 109th in the country and opening up with Hofstra and Arkansas-Pine Bluff didn’t help things.

What They Need To Do:

I s’pose the Sooners can make this all go away with a winning weekend at Kansas State, since that’d mean they’d win the regular season title and all. But short of that, just stay ahead of OSU in the Big 12 standings and win your way to the Big 12 tournament title game, just in case.

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- SAN DIEGO, 32-22, RPI No. 50 

Pluses: 

When the Toreros have played good teams, they’ve cashed in: having gone 7-2 vs. the Top 50 RPI teams they’ve played. They are the only team in the country to have a winning series vs. Oregon State. Being a mid-major and playing the No. 39-ranked strength of schedule is a good reflection on their attempt to schedule up. Also, don’t you think the NCAA selection committee will want to see Player of the Year Kris Bryant take his season into June?

Will Kris Bryant's star power have any bearing on the selection committee's awarding of an at-large to the Toreros, if they don't win the WCC Tourney?

Will Kris Bryant’s star power have any bearing on the selection committee’s awarding of an at-large to the Toreros, if they don’t win the WCC Tourney?

Minuses: 

When they’ve played the best teams in their conference, they’ve gone just 2-4 vs. Gonzaga and San Francisco. Inconsistent play in the non-WCC portion of the slate has killed them as well, as witnessed by the loss to UC Riverside, followed by the win at UC Irvine.

What They Need To Do:

With the new West Coast Conference tournament kicking in this year, short of winning the whole shebang in Stockton, go ahead and at least win a few games, preferably the ones against Gonzaga and USF for sure.

 

- FLORIDA, 28-25, RPI No. 23

Pluses: 

They play in THE monster conference and if they win the upcoming Georgia series, they’ll have a .500 or better record in that monster conference. That’s first and foremost. But also, they swept South Carolina and own series wins vs. Miami and Ole Miss. They’ve gone 14-7 since early April and they’ve played the No. 1 schedule in the country.

Minuses: 

They’ve rehashed their crappy play and gone just 3-6 in their last nine games. The Georgia series may help their win total, but how much will it drag their RPI down? And remember when fellow SEC mates LSU finished at No. 24 in the RPI in 2011 but didn’t go to the Big Dance? Eeeee.

What They Need To Do:

Get that sweep at Georgia this weekend and just make sure to go at last .500 in the SEC tournament. An 0-2 mark won’t be shined upon by the selection committee, especially with their cold play of late.

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- NOTRE DAME, 30-21, RPI No. 42

Pluses: 

The Irish have been in the Top 25 polls and in the 20s of the RPI nearly the entire season. Lots of good early wins (all of them away from South Bend, obviously) proved their mettle, like vs. Cal Poly, Oklahoma, Florida Gulf Coast, Ohio State, Tulane. They even started Big East play by taking two of three from Seton Hall.

Minuses: 

Since that Seton Hall weekend, the Irish have played .500 ball, going just 16-15. Losing two of three in their past two weekends has been a killer (vs. USF, at St. John’s). And this weekend’s series at Cincinnati will continue their RPI anchor effect, win or lose. They’ve also got a rather un-sexy 9-7 record vs. teams ranked 100-to-200, suffering some curious losses.

What They Need To Do:

Get their early-season MoJo back again. They’ve gone just 3-5 in their last eight, and you know how the selection committee doesn’t cotton to placing a cold team in their Field of 64. Plus, if they don’t sweep Cincy, they’ll end the Big East with a sub-.500 mark, which will be a huge strike against them.

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- AUBURN, 31-21, RPI No. 35 

Pluses: 

Like Florida, how can the committee deny an SEC team that has won 30+? And not only that, but the Tigers have beaten Ole Miss and Florida 2-of-3 in the last two weeks to boot. They’ve definitely become a different team in the last two months of the season. Home field vs. Arkansas is usually a good omen.

Minuses: 

They’re 11-16 and in last place in the SEC West. That means that 85% of the country says “Pffft! They don’t deserve a piece of wrapped crap.” When you play 12 non-conference home games against Maine, Middle Tennessee, Eastern Illinois and Brown, you deserve some ridicule from the committee.

What They Need To Do:

Stay hot in SEC play. Winning the series vs. Arkansas will be a great start and the usual advice – go far in the post-season tournament. But also hope this committee is one of those SEC-sympathizers, as they’ve been from time to time in the past.

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- CREIGHTON, 28-15, RPI No. 48

Pluses: 

The Bluejays are the top-rated team from the usually-strong Missouri Valley Conference. They can boast of wins over Nebraska, BYU, Kansas and a Dallas Baptist sweep to open the season. Hey, they’ve hosted the College World Series since the dawn of time… doesn’t the NCAA owe them a favor once in a while? Time to call one in.

Minuses: 

Unfortunately, the rest of the MVC hasn’t performed better than expected like CU has. Win or lose, the three-gamer with No. 146 Missouri State and the MVC tournament will drag down that RPI. Twenty-two of their 28 wins have come against 100+ ranked teams, leading to their 1-4 mark vs. Top 50. While the Jays sit at No. 48 in Boyd Nation’s RPI, they’re No. 55 in Warren Nolan’s. Pick one.

What They Need To Do:

In past years the committee has given benefit-of-the-doubt points for teams who have had multiple rain games – CU has had 16 games effected by rain, nine cancelled altogether. So they’ll have to hope the committee has a heart. Also, with their not winning the regular season title, a deep run in the MVC tourney is a must. Title game or bust guys.

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- NEW MEXICO, 32-18, RPI No. 59  

Pluses: 

You know how the committee loves a hot finish? Well after a 10-12 start the Lobos have gone 22-6 since. They’ve also lapped the field in the Mountain West this year, taking a 22-5 conference record into the final weekend. Wins against teams like Arkansas, Oklahoma State, Missouri State and Texas Tech ain’t too shabby, especially for a team that is geographically challenged like the Cherry & Silver.

Minuses: 

A non-conference record of 10-12 won’t win a lot of smiles from the committee. Plus, the RPI will probably dip a bit if they don’t sweep San Diego State this weekend. The post-TCU hangover effect; MWC has been terrible this year, being the 17th-ranked conference in the nation right now.

What They Need To Do:

Just don’t lose the series at SDSU and stay in the 50s, hoping the committee sees your dominance of the MWC as too strong of a factor to overlook. Avoiding an 0-and-2 MWC tournament would help too.

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- KENTUCKY, 29-22, RPI No. 28  

Pluses: 

Any team that can boast series wins over Florida and Mississippi State is probably worth their salt, right? Some non-conference wins to hang their hat on ain’t bad either with victims like Coastal Carolina, Indiana and Louisville. And again, this is a team from the SEC East… possibly the best division in college baseball.

Minuses: 

Well, that 10-17 SEC mark is pretty wart-on-a-witch ugly. Getting swept vs. LSU, South Carolina and Vanderbilt is not a total shame, but the committee might beg to differ. Missouri’s 141-RPI is gonna be an anchor this weekend as well.

What They Need To Do:

Losing a single game to Mizzou will be a killer, so go ahead and sweep here boys. Of course, beating anybody with Vanderbilt, LSU, South Carolina, Mississippi State or Ole Miss across their unis in the SEC tourney will really help.

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MOST IMPORTANT SERIES OF THE WEEKEND.

With the conference tournaments starting up next week, most of the nation has gone to a Thursday-Friday-Saturday weekend series look this week. But all across the country there are big conference-deciding showdowns to help determine the *real* champions of leagues across the country. In other words, this is a REALLY good time to have the Lear Jet all gassed up and your team of pilots, stewardesses and a few bottles of your favorite traveling liquid ready to go. Here are some of the best of the best.

 

10- No. 12 SOUTH CAROLINA at No. 17 MISSISSIPPI STATE.

The Gamecocks:

- 38-14, 16-10 SEC

RPI: No. 11

Offense: .286 ave., SEC-best 43 HRs

Pitching: 2.95 ERA

Defense: .973 fielding

 

Them Dogs:

- 38-15, 14-13 SEC

RPI: No. 10

Offense: .293 ave., SEC-best 238 BBs

Pitching: 2.68 ERA, SEC-best 438 Ks

Defense: .974 fielding

 

What’s at Stake:

This one’s not higher on the list simply because neither team is going to miss out on the NCAA tournament or anything. I s’pose the biggest deal is that both of these teams are playing for a chance to have a home Regional. A series win here and a couple of wins in the SEC tournament and a slot as one of the National Seeds isn’t out of the question.

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9- No. 19 CLEMSON at No. 8 FLORIDA STATE

The Tigers:

- 38-15, 17-10 ACC

RPI: No. 12

Offense: .282 ave.

Pitching: 2.94 ERA

Defense: .971 fielding

 

The Seminoles:

- 42-10, 18-9 ACC

RPI: No. 4

Offense: .291 ave.

Pitching: 2.66 ERA

Defense: .965 fielding

 

What’s at Stake:

A single game separates these two teams in the battle for the Atlantic Division title. Clemson still has hopes of pulling a home Regional assignment and could go a long way in solidifying that with a series win here. Considering their RPI, the Seminoles are in line for a National Seed… but you know how the ACC anti-wave is growing in size and fervor every time the retread RPI is released and has eight or nine ACC teams crowding the Top 20. This could still only be a Regional host assignment for both.

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8- No. 24 UC IRVINE at No. 5 CAL STATE FULLERTON

The Anteaters:

- 31-17, 13-8 Big West

RPI: No.  66

Offense: .286 ave.

Pitching: 3.37 ERA

Defense: .980 fielding

 

The Titans:

- 42-8, 17-4 Big West

RPI: No. 8

Offense: .287 ave., Big West-best 222 BBs

Pitching: 2.53 ERA, Big West-best 76 BBs issued

Defense: .976 fielding

 

What’s at Stake:

This could mean everything to the Anteaters. Sort of a win-or-go-home? Ummmm, maybe. More like, get-swept-and-go-home, because if the Eaters fall down the Big West rung too far, it’s Taps City – to use an Al McGuire saying. I’m thinking they may have to even win two games here to make their case for an at-large spot. Beyond a full-scale collapse, Fully is pretty much assured of a National Seed and playing at home all the way ’til Omaha.

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7- TROY at No. 25 SOUTH ALABAMA

The Trojans:

- 37-15, 18-9 Sun Belt

RPI: No. 43

Offense: .299 ave., SBC-best 132 doubles

Pitching: 4.09 ERA

Defense: .979 fielding

 

The Jags:

- 39-14, 19-8 Sun Belt

RPI: No. 14

Offense: .303 ave.

Pitching: 4.06 ERA

Defense: .969 fielding

 

What’s at Stake:

The Sun Belt regular season crown will be handed out at Stanky Field this weekend. But even more than that, the Jaguars are still bucking for a home Regional with their workable RPI and whatnot. The Trojans should be in good shape, at-large-wise and all, but you never know what can happen to a mid-major team, especially if they get swept. There’s not much mercy given to a mid-major who slips badly late in the season. So they can’t afford a total flat-line here.

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6- No. 15 INDIANA at OHIO STATE

The Hoosiers:

- 38-12, 15-6 Big 10

RPI: No.  15

Offense: .306 ave., Big 10-best 42HRs

Pitching: 2.58 ERA

Defense: .964 fielding

 

The Buckeyes:

- 33-19, 14-7 Big 10

RPI: No. 61

Offense: .263 ave.

Pitching: 3.12 ERA, Big 12-best 357 Ks

Defense: .975 fielding

 

What’s at Stake:

The Big 10 regular season title… and so much more. For instance, even though the Buckeyes enter this weekend in 2nd place, a game behind Indiana for the Big 10 title, the Scarlett and Gray are far from out of the woods. For instance, if they should lose all three games here, there’s a chance they could tumble down to 7th place by the end of the weekend. And yes, in case you didn’t know there are only six teams allowed in the Big 10 tournament. So you do the math.

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5- No. 21 OKLAHOMA at No. 22 KANSAS STATE

The Sooners:

- 35-17, 12-9 Big 12

RPI: No.  60

Offense: .287 ave.

Pitching: 3.01 ERA, Big 12-best 456 Ks

Defense: .970 fielding

 

The Wildcats:

- 37-15, 14-7 Big 12

RPI: No. 21

Offense: .321 ave.

Pitching: 3.77 ERA

Defense: .974 fielding

 

What’s at Stake:

These two are at the top of the Big 12 standings and will fight it out for the regular season crown in Manhattan this weekend. Though a regular season title is huge one way or another, this series could be of more importance for the Sooners, who have back-slid all the way down to the 60s of the RPI (?). Hard to believe this team was ranked in the Top 10 just a matter of weeks ago.

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4- No. 23 PITTSBURGH at No. 10 LOUISVILLE

The Panthers:

- 40-12, 18-3 Big East

RPI: No. 70

Offense: .308 ave., Big East-best 256 BBs

Pitching: 3.43 ERA

Defense: .965 fielding, Big East-best 57 double plays

 

The Cardinals:

- 43-10, 17-4 Big East

RPI: No. 19

Offense: .295, Big East-best 135 SBs

Pitching: 2.40 ERA, Big East-best 520Ks

Defense: .970 fielding

 

What’s at Stake:

For Pitt, it could mean a do-or-die time for getting in the NCAA tournament, as spelled out above. For Louisville, getting a Regional at Patterson Stadium will be a lot easier if they can put the words “Big East Champion” at the top of their resume.

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3- No. 7 VIRGINIA at No. 4 NORTH CAROLINA

The Cavaliers and Wahoos:

- 43-8, 20-7 ACC

RPI: No. 3

Offense: .317 ave.

Pitching: 2.99 ERA, ACC-low 118BBs

Defense: .969 fielding

 

The Tarheels:

- 46-6, 20-5 ACC

RPI: No. 2

Offense: .310 ave.

Pitching: 2.39 ERA

Defense: .975 fielding

 

What’s at Stake:

Carolina leads the Cavs by a single game in the Coastal Division and this series will also decide who earns the No. 1 overall seed for the ACC Tournament. Although both teams are pretty well cemented as National Seeds, you never know what a total collapse could do for either team here. Keep the tips up boys.

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2- No. 3 OREGON STATE at No. 6 OREGON

The Beavers:

- 41-8, 20-4 Pac 12

RPI: No. 6

Offense: .286 ave.

Pitching: 2.06 ERA, Pac 12-low 131BBs

Defense: .972 fielding, Pac 12-high 51 double plays

 

The Ducks:

- 41-11, 19-5 Pac 12

RPI: No. 7

Offense: .264 ave.

Pitching: 2.61 ERA, Pac 12-best 368Ks

Defense: .972 fielding

 

What’s at Stake:

The Pac 12 title is the big kahuna here for one of these. Going in, the Beavers hold a one-game lead. But this is the Civil War… all hell could break loose at any time this weekend. But either way, the guess here is a tightly-contested weekend that comes down to the last out on a couple of games. The loser here runs the risk of missing out on a National Seed.

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1- THE PATRIOT LEAGUE PLAYOFFS. 

- Army vs. Holy Cross.

These two teams won their first round best-of-threes last week with the Knights beating their rivals Navy and the Crusaders eliminating Bucknell in two straight.

The Black Knights of the Hudson:

- 27-21, 11-9 Patriot League

RPI: No.  225

Offense: .267 ave.

Pitching: 4.00 ERA

Defense: .967 fielding

 

The Crusaders:

- 28-23, 15-5 Patriot League

RPI: No. 186

Offense: .290 ave.

Pitching: 5.68 ERA

Defense: .967 fielding

 

What’s at Stake:

The best-of-three winners will earn the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Holy Cross being the regular season champion will get to host the series at Fitton Field in Worcester. In the four-game weekend these two played against each other, the Knights won game one 10-6, then Holy Cross went all Holy Cow on the boys from West Point, winning the next three, scoring 23 runs in the process. Look for more fireworks this weekend.

The one time I went to Fitton Field, I was stunned at how nice and big of a facility it was. This is a shot of where the Patriot League Playoffs will be held this weekend in Worcester.

The one time I went to Fitton Field, I was stunned at how nice and big of a facility it was. This is a shot of where the Patriot League Playoffs will be held this weekend in Worcester. (No, this isn’t a picture I took)

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OTHER TOP SERIES

- Charlotte (33-19, 16-5) at St. Louis (34-17, 15-6)

The 49ers are in 1st place in the Atlantic 10, a game ahead of the Billikens and LaSalle, who are tied at 15-6. The Explorers will travel to 7th-place George Washington.

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- Belmont (36-16, 21-6) at Tennessee Tech (37-14, 22-5)

Tech takes a one-game lead into this series to decide the Ohio Valley Conference. Third place Jacksonville State is at 20-7 and will host 9th-place Morehead State.

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- South Dakota State (30-18, 15-7) at Nebraska-Omaha (24-21, 17-5)

New member UNO has taken the Summit by storm, leading the Jackrabbits by two games going into the final weekend of the season. These two will play a four-game series in Omaha to decided the title.

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BAD SERIES.

Considering their status in the RPI, I bet these teams wish they could reschedule their final regular season weekend. These teams will feel a bad anchor effect this weekend:

 

- Campbell. 

43-9 overall and No. 33 in the RPI

This Weekend: Hosting No. 273 New Orleans (7-41)

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- Mercer.

39-14 overall and No. 24 in the RPI

This Weekend: Will finish Atlantic Sun play at No. 285 Northern Kentucky (8-44)

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- Michigan State.

31-16 overall and at No. 36 in the RPI

This Weekend: Playing at No. 237-ranked Penn State (13-34)

 

 

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COMMENTS:

May 16, 2013 at 9:30 pm
NECBLfan says:

Holy Cross’s field was built in conjunction with a now defunct independent league team. Certainly is a nice field, and great for an academics-oriented school to be able to play midweek night games with those lights.