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Several conference regular-season titles were decided on Friday while a few others (including some top-end leagues) have yet to be decided, following a full day of top-50 action among teams in the CB360 Composite National Rankings. It’s only fitting that the season-long trend of underdogs winning one-third of a day’s top-50 games played out true to form on Friday, as favorites went 30-15 in the top-50 results. All but one of the top-50 were in action, with nine head-to-head series (two of them with doubleheaders) and four other series that played two games on Friday. front-page photo courtesy of Pittsburgh
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Click Here for links to CB360 top-50 scoreboard pages from Feb. 26-March 25
Host Central Florida (cb360 #18) surged ahead of the Conference USA standings by winning Friday’s resumed game vs. #11 Rice, 8-6, but the Owls won game-2 (9-2) – meaning the winner of Saturday’s series finale will claim the CUSA regular-season title.
Things are more complicated in the SEC, as three teams – #2 Florida, #9 Kentucky and #8 LSU – all ended Saturday with 18-11 league records, while #7 South Carolina is 18-9 (Gamecocks lost a game to rain a week ago). LSU clinched the SEC Western Division by beating South Carolina in their first matchup on Sat. (5-2), but the defending champs came back to win the 5-4 nightcap. Kentucky came out on the short end of a 4-3 decision at #36 Mississippi State. Florida won again at Auburn, 10-1.
Pittsburgh‘s 8-2 upset of Louisville helped #46 St. John’s (a 5-4, 12-inning winner over Seton Hall) clinch at least a share of the BIG EAST regular-season title. The Red Storm are 18-8 in league play, while Louisville now is 17-9 (South Florida and Seton Hall are 16-10).
A couple weeks ago, it seemed likely that Florida State (still cb360 #1) would wrap up the top spot in the ACC with plenty of games to spare – but it ended up they clinched that #1 seed with one game remaining, following Saturday’s 3-2 win that tied the series with visiting #14 North Carolina State (Atlantic Division champ FSU is 23-6 while the Coastal’s top team, North Carolina, stands 21-8). Florida State started 21-2 in ACC play but has gone 2-4 over its past six conference games.
Outside of the top-50, the SEC is not the only conference with a four-team logjam – as the Atlantic Sun features South Carolina Upstate at 16-9 and Belmont 16-10, while Stetson and Kennesaw State are 15-10. The excitement will conclude on Saturday with USC Upstate playing at Mercer … Belmont at home vs. Lipscomb … Stetson playing two vs. visiting Florida Gulf Coast … and Kennesaw closing at home vs. East Tennessee.
Coastal Carolina (cb360 #32) has won the Big South regular-season title for the sixth straight season, following Saturday’s sweep at Charleston Southern (15-8, 6-1). In the Horzon League (outside the top-50), Valparaiso sits at 21-8 and will be looking to wrest the regular-season title from favorite Wright State (21-9) – with Valpo closing at home vs. Youngstown State while Wright State will be playing at Milwaukee.
In another conference outside the top-50, Manhattan earlier had clinched the Mid Atlantic (MAAC) by sweeping a pair on Thursday vs. Siena (to finish ahead of favored Canisius). Toledo’s 5-2 win over Eastern Michigan secured the Mid-American Wetstern Division (Kent State ran away with the Eastern) – while the four remaining teams in the Mid-Eastern (MEAC) tournament are Delaware State, Bethune-Cookman, UMES and North Carolina A&T.
San Diego State’s upset of #22 TCU has momentarily pushed New Mexico (17-6) back atop the Mountain West. New Mexico will wrap up its regular season on Sat. vs. Air Force, while TCU (16-6) has two games remaining vs. SDSU (Sat.-Sun.).
The Ohio Valley regular-season title also will be decided on the final day, with favored Austin Peay (at Tennessee Tech) and Eastern Kentucky (at Murrtay State) both 18-7 heading into Saturday’s finales.
Despite splitting Friday vs. Western Carolina (6-8, 5-4), cb360 #23 Appalachian State (21-8) clinched a share of the Southern Conference regular-season title. #42 College of Charleston (20-9) sits a game back, after being upset by UNC Greensboro (8-10).
Mississippi Valley State will be awaiting Saturday’s Prairie View A&M vs. Texas Southern game, i the Sunday’s SWAC title game (MVSU was the 4th-place finisher in the eastern division, Texas Sothern 4th in the western, and Prairie View the east-2).
The Summit League is bracing for final-day drama, as favored Oral Roberts is 16-6 while Oakland stands 14-6. ORU can clinch the regular-season title on Sat. with a win over North Dakota State (or a loss by Oakland, vs. Southern Utah). Two teams similarly are in the running for the Sun Belt crown – Florida Atlantic (19-8, end Sat. vs. FIU) and surprising Arkansas State (18-9, close at Ark.-Little Rock).
(The WAC will be playing through Sunday – more on that race in Saturday’s rundown).
In addition to games already mentioned above, Friday’s other top-50 upsets included:
• #49 Vanderbilt 6-2 vs. #26 Mississippi
• #39 Missouri State 7-5 at #31 Indiana State
• Iowa 6-1 vs. #10 Purdue
• Wake Forest 2-1 vs. #28 Clemson
• Bradley 12-7 vs. #29 Dallas Baptist
• Alabama 4-0 vs. #35 Georgia
• Central Arkansas 13-4 vs.#40 Sam Houston State
• and Penn State 6-5 at #50 Michigan State
All but one of the 12 CB360 top-50 teams that were idle on Thursday were back in action on Friday. #21 San Diego is taking a weekend off before returning for the huge WCC showdown at Pepperdine on March 25-27.
Friday’s 45 top-50 results are listed below, with photos and an assortment of postgame links .
A special dedicated Twitter feed also is included below, featuring team tweets from top-50 teams playing head-to-head and from the “Bakers dozen” top-13 …
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FRIDAY’S TOP-50 MATCHUPS (May 18, 2012)
based on the CB360 Composite National Rankings
upsets in italics
• at #7 South Carolina 5-8-1 … def. #8 LSU 4-11-0 (DH, gm-2; Thur. rainout)
(SC now 39-14, 18-10 SEC … LSU 41-14, 18-11)
… Final Stats: HTML & PDF | SC Recap | LSU Recap (w / video) | Quotes | Video Highlights
• at #36 Mississippi State 4-9-0 … def. #9 Kentucky 3-7-1
(MS has clinched series, 2-0 … MS now 33-21, 15-14 SEC … KY 41-14, 18-11)
… Final Stats: HTML & PDF | MS Recap | KY Recap | Notes | Video Highlights
• #39 Missouri State 7-15-1 … won at #31 Indiana State 5-9-1
(series tied… MO-St. now 36-18, 12-6 MVC … ISU 41-14, 14-6)
… Final Stats: HTML & PDF | MO-St. Recap | ISU Recap w/ video | Video Highlights | Postgame Video
FRIDAY’S OTHER TOP-50 GAMES (May 18, 2012)
based on the CB360 Composite National Rankings
upsets in italics
• #20 Arkansas 10-14-2 … won at Tennessee 3-10-1
(ARK has clinched series, 2-0 … ARK now 38-17, 15-14 SEC … TN 24-30, 8-21)
… Final Stats: HTML & PDF | ARK Recap | TN Recap | Photos | Video Highlights
• at #27 Arizona State 7-11-1 … def. Washington 5-9-0
(series opener … ASU now 33-18, 15-10 Pac12 … WA 27-22, 11-14)
… Final Stats | ASU Recap | WA Recap