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Archive for May, 2011

I might as well predict lottery numbers, but trying to figure out the geography of a bracket (hello, Google maps!) is at least as enjoyable as sudoku. Then again, I don’t like sudoku. Anyway, a couple of possible brackets, one with Georgia Tech as a seed and one without. For the record, I still have Stanford as the final seed.

The seeded team hosts unless otherwise noted by asterisk.

Longwood/Florida State determined by whether FSU earns ACC automatic bid and bumps Longwood out of field.

1. Arizona State: Long Beach State, San Diego State, Lehigh
2. Alabama: Nebraska, UAB, OVC
3. Texas: Houston, Longwood/Florida State, Albany
4. Florida: Georgia Tech, Jacksonville, Iona/MEAC
5. Georgia: Syracuse, UNC, Georgia State
6. Missouri: Indiana, Memphis, Missouri State
7. California: Maryland*, Fordham, MEAC/Iona
8. Michigan: Notre Dame, Illinois State, MAC
9. Arizona: Auburn, Texas Tech, Harvard
10. Tennessee: Louisville, Chattanooga, Liberty
11. Oklahoma: Tulsa, New Mexico State, North Dakota State,
12. Baylor: UCLA, ECU, Texas State
13. Washington: Oklahoma State, BYU, Portland State
14. Oregon: Kentucky*, DePaul, HORIZON
15 Texas A&M: LSU, ULL, Jackson State
16. Stanford: Fresno State, Pacific, Sacred Heart

1. Arizona State: Long Beach State, San Diego State, Lehigh
2. Alabama: Texas Tech, UAB, OVC
3. Texas: Houston, Longwood/Florida State, Albany
4. Florida: Nebraska, Jacksonville, Iona/MEAC
5. Georgia: Syracuse, UNC, Georgia State
6. Missouri: Indiana, Memphis, Missouri State
7. California: Fresno State*, Pacific, Sacred Heart
8. Michigan: Notre Dame, Illinois State, MAC
9. Arizona: Maryland*, Fordham, MEAC/Iona
10. Tennessee: Louisville, Chattanooga, Liberty
11. Oklahoma: Stanford, Tulsa, North Dakota State,
12. Baylor: UCLA, New Mexico State, Texas State
13. Washington: Oklahoma State, BYU, Portland State
14. Oregon: Kentucky*, DePaul, HORIZON
15 Texas A&M: LSU, ULL, Jackson State
16. Georgia Tech: Auburn, East Carolina, Harvard

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A couple of scenarios depending on the outcome of this afternoon’s ACC final between North Carolina and Florida State. At-large bids projected below, with each conference’s automatic bid listed in parentheses.

At-large teams if UNC wins
ACC: (North Carolina), Georgia Tech, Maryland
Big 12: (Texas/Missouri), Baylor, Missouri/Texas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Texas Tech
Big East: (Syracuse), Notre Dame, DePaul, Louisville
Big Ten: (Michigan), Indiana
Big West: (Pacific), Long Beach State
Conference USA: (East Carolina), Houston, Tulsa, Memphis, UAB
Mountain West: (BYU), San Diego State
Pac-10: (Arizona State), Arizona, California, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, Washington
SEC: (Tennessee), Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, LSU
WAC: (New Mexico State), Fresno State
MVC: (Missouri State), Illinois State
Inde: Longwood

At-large teams if FSU wins
ACC: (Florida State), Georgia Tech, Maryland, North Carolina
Big 12: (Texas/Missouri), Baylor, Missouri/Texas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Texas Tech
Big East: (Syracuse), Notre Dame, DePaul, Louisville
Big Ten: (Michigan), Indiana
Big West: (Pacific), Long Beach State
Conference USA: (East Carolina), Houston, Tulsa, Memphis, UAB
Mountain West: (BYU), San Diego State
Pac-10: (Arizona State), Arizona, California, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, Washington
SEC: (Tennessee), Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, LSU
WAC: (New Mexico State), Fresno State
MVC: (Missouri State), Illinois State

The bubble got a little more crowded when Illinois State lost early in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament. Illinois State doesn’t have any wins against RPI top 25 teams, but everything else about the resume bodes well for an at-large bid.

Last five teams in
No. 64 Longwood
RPI 50
2-1 vs. RPI top 25
5-5 vs. RPI top 50
12-10 vs. RPI top 100
Road/neutral: 17-10
Key wins: Georgia, Notre Dame, East Carolina, Penn State (2)

No. 63 North Carolina
RPI 41
0-10 vs. RPI top 25
5-13 vs. RPI top 50
18-18 vs. RPI top 100
Road/neutral: 18-16
Key wins: Maryland (3), Penn State, Jacksonville,

No. 62 Memphis
RPI 43
3-3 vs. RPI top 25
6-10 vs. RPI top 50
11-11 vs. RPI top 100
Road/neutral: 22-6
Key wins: Stanford, Kentucky, Houston, UAB, East Carolina (2)

No. 61 San Diego State
RPI 39
2-11 vs. RPI top 25
6-15 vs. RPI top 50
13-18 vs. RPI top 100
Road/neutral: 18-10
Key wins: Stanford, Houston, Long Beach, BYU, Pacific (2) (Florida State)

No. 60 Illinois State
RPI 36
6-9 vs. RPI top 50
15-13 vs. RPI top 100
Key wins: Maryland (2), East Carolina, Illinois (2), Longwood

Longwood will raise some eyebrows. The RPI should get a bit of a boost from the doubleheader split against Georgia last week, but it’s still a team that will have to jump some teams ahead of it to get an at-large bid. Complicating that, as someone noted this weekend, is the fact that as a Division I independent, Longwood doesn’t necessarily have any allies in the conversation when the selection committee debates things. All that said, between the recent doubleheader sweep at another bubble rival (Penn State), the road/neutral top-25 wins against Georgia and Notre Dame and the strong close, Longwood seems to meet a lot of selection criteria. As the last team in, it would be in danger of being bumped should Florida State beat North Carolina.

First three teams out
No. 65 Illinois
RPI 37
0-9 vs. RPI top 25
4-17 vs. RPI top 50
18-21 vs. RPI top 100
Road/neutral: 19-15
Key wins: Maryland, Fordham, Penn State, Longwood

No. 66 Penn State
RPI 46
1-6 vs. RPI top 25
4-14 vs. RPI top 50
20-21-1 vs. RPI top 100
Road/neutral: 20-16
Key wins: Oklahoma, Fresno State, Tulsa, Illinois

No. 67 Florida State
RPI: 51
2-6 vs. RPI top 25
5-13 vs. RPI top 50
17-24 vs. RPI top 100
Road/neutral: 10-16
Key wins: Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Long Beach, Maryland, BYU

The RPI jumps out for Illinois. The selection process rarely deviates a great deal from it, at least not without an obvious compelling reason, and I don’t feel especially comfortable with four teams ranked behind the Illini in last week’s RPI ahead of them in these projections. That said, after splitting a two-game series at Minnesota to wrap up the regular season, Illinois doesn’t have a lot to hang its hat on other than the RPI. It only has one win against a team ranked in the top 40 of the RPI, it hovered around .500 in its final 20 game and it split at home against fellow bubble resident Penn State (in its favor, it beat Longwood).

South Florida and Virginia Tech round out the first five out. I’ll be surprised if either gets in, but USF’s five RPI top-50 wins at least give it a shot (a lack of total wins against top-100 teams hold it back).

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Before Saturday’s action gets underway, some thoughts on potential seeding.

1. Arizona State (RPI: 2)
6-2 vs. RPI top 10, 15-5 vs. RPI top 25, 20-5 vs. RPI top 50

2. Alabama (RPI: 3)
5-3 vs. RPI top 10, 10-7 vs. RPI top 25, 19-8 vs. RPI top 50

3. Texas (RPI: 1)
2-3 vs. RPI top 10, 12-5 vs. RPI top 25, 20-6 vs. RPI top 50

4. Georgia (RPI: 5)
6-3 vs. RPI top 10, 16-6 vs. RPI top 25, 24-9 vs. RPI top 50

5. Florida (RPI: 4)
3-4 vs. RPI top 10, 9-8 vs. RPI top 25, 20-9 vs. RPI top 50

6. Missouri (RPI: 6)
3-3 vs. RPI top 10, 9-5 vs. RPI top 25, 19-6 vs. RPI top 50

7. California (RPI: 7)
3-3 vs. RPI top 10, 13-6 vs. RPI top 25, 17-9 vs. RPI top 50

8. Michigan (RPI: 10)
2-0 vs. RPI top 10, 6-0 vs. RPI top 25, 12-2 vs. RPI top 50

9. Arizona (8 RPI)
1-8 vs. RPI top 10, 13-14 vs. RPI top 25, 18-14 vs. RPI top 50

10. Tennessee (RPI: 13)
3-4 vs. RPI top 10, 9-7 vs. RPI top 25, 14-8 vs. RPI top 50

11. Oklahoma (RPI: 9)
3-5 vs. RPI top 10, 9-11 vs. RPI top 25, 17-15 vs, RPI top 50

12. Baylor (RPI: 12)
4-4 vs. RPI top 10, 9-9 vs. RPI top 25, 17-10 vs. RPI top 50

13. Washington (RPI: 11)
3-8 vs. RPI top 10, 9-13 vs. RPI top 25, 13-13 vs. RPI top 50

14. Oregon (RPI: 15)
3-7 vs. RPI top 10, 8-11 vs. RPI top 25, 14-12 vs. RPI top 50

15. Texas A&M (RPI: 16)
2-6 vs. RPI top 10, 7-10 vs. RPI top 25, 14-12 vs. RPI top 50

16. Stanford (RPI: 20)
2-6 vs. RPI top 10, 9-11 vs. RPI top 25, 11-13 vs. RPI top 50

Other contenders
Georgia Tech (RPI: 14)
0-2 vs. RPI top 10, 0-2 vs. RPI top 25, 14-3 vs. RPI top 50

UCLA (RPI: 19)
3-8 vs. RPI top 10, 7-14 vs. RPI top 25, 11-15 vs. RPI top 50

Oklahoma State (RPI: 18)
2-7 vs. RPI top 10, 5-10 vs. RPI top 25, 12-14 vs. RPI top 50

Notre Dame (RPI: 17)
1-2 vs. RPI top 10, 3-4 vs. RPI top 25, 8-6 vs. RPI top 50

Random thoughts
It’s easy to make too much of conference tournaments — in those conferences that stage them, they’re the last thing any of us see, obviously. But Georgia Tech’s loss against Virginia in the ACC quarterfinals nevertheless feels like a problem for the Yellow Jackets. They only played two games all season against teams currently ranked in the RPI top 25 — both against Georgia — and they didn’t win either of them. That they only lost once against teams ranked between 11-50 in the RPI (an eight-inning loss to Kansas) helps their case. but without the chance to get two more top-50 wins, not to mention doubling up their ACC hardware, I’m not sure the committee will slot them in ahead of their competition from the Pac-10 or Big 12.

Michigan jumps its RPI a little in these projections to claim the final hosting position for super regionals. Like Georgia Tech, Michigan is hurt by a lack of quality games, but the difference is the Wolverines made the most of those games they had against top-10 and top-25 opponents. Arizona is a tricky case because it’s reasonable to think the committee will have consider the Kenzie Fowler factor when it comes to the weak record against top-10 opponents (although the Wildcats had Fowler in the circle when they lost 8-0 to the Wolverines at the Garman).

I still have a hard time believing UCLA, if anywhere close to the cut, won’t land on the seed side of the ledger. That said, Stanford’s win at Arizona State on Friday night might set up the unthinkable. The Cardinal won two of three at UCLA and have an overall resume at least as strong. If the Cardinal drop the finale in Tempe and the Bruins clinch a series win at Oregon, maybe this flips the other way. A case could also be constructed for UCLA displacing Oregon if the former wins the series.

Yes, the RPI is out of order for Arizona above. There was an odd character displaying when it was in the right order, and it’s too early on Saturday for me to figure out why. So, yeah.

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Projections for the 34 at-large bids below, listed alphabetically by conference. The team currently in position for the automatic bid in each respective conference is also listed in parentheses and not counted toward the total of 34.

Leagues not listed project only the lone automatic qualifier making the field of 64.

At-large teams
ACC: (Georgia Tech), Florida State, Maryland, North Carolina
Big 12: (Texas), Baylor, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas Tech
Big East: (Notre Dame), DePaul, Louisville, Syracuse
Big Ten: (Michigan), Illinois, Indiana
Big West: (Pacific), Long Beach State
Conference USA: (Houston), East Carolina, Memphis, Tulsa, UAB
Mountain West: (BYU), San Diego State
Pac-10: (Arizona State), Arizona, California, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, Washington
SEC: (Alabama), Auburn, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, LSU, Tennessee
WAC: (New Mexico State), Fresno State

Last five teams in
No. 64 Florida State
RPI: 51
5-13 vs. RPI top 50
15-24 vs. RPI top 100
Key wins: Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Long Beach, Maryland, BYU

No. 63 North Carolina
RPI 41
4-13 vs. RPI top 50
17-18 vs. RPI top 100
Key wins: Maryland (2), Penn State, Jacksonville, Florida State (3)

No. 62 East Carolina
RPI 44
7-13 vs. RPI top 50
14-17 vs. RPI top 100
Key wins: UAB (2), Maryland, Tulsa (2), Memphis, Longwood

No. 61 Illinois
RPI 37
4-17 vs. RPI top 50
17-20 vs. RPI top 100
Key wins: Maryland, Fordham, Penn State, Longwood

No. 60 Memphis
RPI 43
6-9 vs. RPI top 50
11-10 vs. RPI top 100
Key wins: Stanford, Kentucky, Houston, UAB, East Carolina (2)

First five teams out
No. 65 Longwood
50 RPI
5-5 vs. RPI top 50
12-10 vs. RPI top 100
Key wins: Georgia, Notre Dame, East Carolina, Penn State (2)

No. 66 Penn State
RPI 46
4-14 vs. RPI top 50
18-21-1 vs. RPI top 100
Key wins: Oklahoma, Fresno State, Tulsa, Illinois

No. 67 South Florida
RPI 53
5-15 vs. RPI top 50
7-16 vs. RPI top 100
Key wins: Syracuse (3), DePaul, Illinois State

No 68 Florida International
RPI 59
5-10 vs. top 50
13-21 vs. top 100
Key wins: Georgia Tech (2), Louisiana-Lafayette, Memphis, Penn State

No. 69 Hawaii
RPI 55
4-10 vs. RPI top 50
11-14 vs. RPI top 100
Key wins: Oklahoma. Stanford, Long Beach, Longwood

Bubble Bursters
Illinois State (Missouri Valley), Louisiana-Lafayette (Sun Belt) and Fordham (Atlantic 10) project as at-large teams if they fail to win automatic bids in conference tournaments. The same is true of Pacific, if it surrenders its lead in the Big West during the final weekend of the regular season. All four would knock teams off the bubble if they needed to avail themselves of the at-large route.

Conversely, if Fresno State wins the WAC tournament, no other team in the conference projects as an at-large team, opening up one more at-large spot in the projections above.

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