NCAA Baseball Tournament Bubble Watch 2011

May 29, 2011

Which Teams Will Survive??

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The NCAA baseball selection committee room in Indianapolis (courtesy NCAA).

It’s Sunday morning, and there’s work to be done for college baseball teams across the nation hoping to gain entrance into the 2011 NCAA baseball tournament. The problem is, the work has already been done for most of those teams and their fate is in the hands of the NCAA selection committee.

The bubble watch is on for teams that did not win their conference championships. The entire field of 64 is set to be unveiled at 12:30 p.m. ET on Monday, May 30. The selection show will air on ESPN.

Thirty of the 64 bids go to automatic qualifiers (AQ). Most of them win their conferences’ post-season tournament, while conferences like the Big West, Pac-10 and West Coast Conference give their bids to their regular season champs.

As of this morning, 10 AQ spots are yet to be determined. Gonzaga faces San Francisco today in the regular season finale for both teams, with the winner claiming the WCC bid.The loser of that game will not have the credentials to receive an at-large bid. Meanwhile, either UCLA or Oregon State will take the Pac-10 regular season title and NCAA bid that comes with it. The Pac-10 runner-up is a lock for an at-large entrance to the dance.

The remaining eight AQ spots will be determined today in conference championship games. (Click Here to see the list of AQ spots that have been claimed so far.)

That leaves 34 at-large spots for the teams that do not claim a conference crown. The selection committee is hunkered-down in Indianapolis breaking down those at-large spots.

Automatic qualifiers are placed on the board as the win their conference championships (courtesy NCAA).

Here’s the criteria they use:

  • The committee uses the Rating Percentage Index (RPI), a computer program that provides the committee with (1) the institution’s Division I winning percentage, (2) opponents’ success and (3) opponents’ strength of schedule. The RPI is an additional tool used in the evaluation of at-large teams. Please note that the adjusted RPI takes into account a bonus/penalty structure. Bonus and penalty values only will be used for non-conference games.
  • Regular-season conference standings and/or conference postseason competition shall be considered by the committee when selecting at-large teams.
  • The committee may consider comparing data of individual teams, including, but not limited to, overall record, Division I record, overall RPI rank, non-conference record and RPI rank, conference regular-season record and conference tournament results, road record and RPI, last 15 games’ record, its record against teams ranked 1-25, 26-50, 51-100, 101-150 and below 150 in the RPI, head-to-head record, common opponents’ record and input from regional advisory committees.
  • Make no mistake … RPI is a huge factor in the selection and seeding process.

With all that in mind, here’s a look at how those spots could be handed out and which teams are on the bubble:

At-Large Locks

  1. North Carolina-Regional Host
  2. Florida State – Regional Host
  3. Vanderbilt – Regional Host
  4. South Carolina – Regional Host
  5. Georgia Tech – Regional Host
  6. Arizona State – Regional Host
  7. Clemson – Regional Host
  8. Texas – Regional Host
  9. Arkansas
  10. TCU – Regional Host
  11. Southern Mississippi
  12. Oklahoma
  13. Miami
  14. Stanford
  15. Oregon State – Regional Host
  16. Arizona
  17. Alabama
  18. Mississippi State
  19. Oklahoma State
  20. California
  21. UC Irvine

That’s 21 of the 34 at-large spots that look to be secured, which leaves just 12 remaining spots.

Here’s our bubble break-down (NCAA RPI followed by record):

In Good Shape

LSU-23 (36-20)
Central Florida-18 (38-21)
Stetson-21 (41-18)
North Carolina State 30 (33-25)
Florida International 31 (38-18-1)

In The Middle

Georgia-22 (31-30)
Baylor-26 (29-26)
Kansas St. 48 (36-23)
UConn 38 (41-17-1)
Troy 47 (42-17)
East Carolina 29 (39-19)
East Tenn. St 32 (36-19)
Elon 37 (36-21)
Dallas Baptist 45 (39-17)
Texas Tech 44 (33-25)
Ole Miss 40 (30-25)

In Trouble

Jacksonville 49 (36-22)
Florida Atlantic 43 (32-25)
SE Louisiana 51 (35-22)
St. John’s 54 (35-19)
Cal State Bakersfield 56 (31-22)
Mercer 58 (39-20)
Oregon 74 (32-26-1)

CLICK HERE to read more on the selection process and tournament format.


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