Underdogs Welcome; #7 seed Lamar Leading Parade of Upset Winners …
One of the beauties of college baseball is the ability of underdogs to rise up and knock off the nation’s “elite’ teams. That has been no more evident than during the past few days, as only four #1 seeds (Bethune Cookman, Coastal Carolina, Minnesota & TCU) have won the 16 conference tournaments that have been completed – while only five #1 seeds are left for today’s 11 title games. Saturday’s action included 26 total games involving top-50 teams in the CB360 Composite National Rankings (CNR), with half of those games (13) resulting in upsets. (front page photo courtesy of Lamar)
CLICK HERE for CB360’s Conference Tournament Main Page
(Reminder – Scores for all games involving the CB360 top-50 are listed at the bottom of this page, with the customary links provided for the seven non-tournament games … also be sure to access CB360’s conference tournament main page via the link posted above.)
CHAMPIONS: Saturday’s action – which featured 36 of the CB360 top-50 teams (10 head-to-head) – resulted in 10 teams winning conference tournaments with automatic NCAA bids:
• Atlantic 10 – St. Louis 5, Charlotte 4
• Atlantic Sun – (2-seed) Mercer 3, (3-seed) East Tennessee State 1
• Big South – (1-seed) Coastal Carolina 8, (2-seed) Liberty 2
• Big Ten – (1-seed) Minnesota 15, (4-seed) Iowa 5
• Colonial – (3-seed) Virginia Commonwealth 7, (4-seed) UNC Wilmington 5 (12 inn.)
• Conference USA – (2-seed) Southern Mississippi 7, (1-seed) Rice 4
• Mid-American – (2-seed) Kent State 5, (1-seed) Central Michigan 3
• Missouri Valley – (2-seed) Illinois State 17, (1-seed) Wichita State 8
• Southland – (7-seed) Lamar 17, (1-seed) Texas State 7
• Summit – (2-seed) Oral Roberts 12, (1-seed) South Dakota State 2
Note: UNC-Wilmington had defeated VCU earlier in the day (10-0), setting up the decisive rematch … C-USA’s championship round features only one game (Rice was 3-0 and had outscored its opponent 53-6 before the loss to Southern Miss).
… And here are the 11 tournaments that will be decided on Sunday:
• Atlantic Coast – #5 seed Florida State vs. #7 North Carolina State
• Big 12 – #5 seed Texas A&M vs. #6 Baylor
• BIG EAST – #2 seed Connecticut vs. #4 St. John’s (one game, even though SJU is unbeaten)
• Horizon – #1 seed Wright State vs. #2 Milwaukee (Milwaukee beat Wright St. on Sat. night)
• Northeast – #1 seed Sacred Heart vs. #2 Central Connecicut (CC beat SH on Sat. night)
• Ohio Valley – #1 seed Tennessee Tech vs. #2 seed Jacksonville State (TN-Tech must beat JS twice)
• Southeastern – #7 seed Alabama vs. #8 LSU
• Southern – #1 seed The Citadel vs. #6 Western Carolina
• Southwestern – #3-West seed Grambling vs. #3-East seed Alcorn State
• Sun Belt – #4 seed Florida International vs. #6 Troy
• Western Athletic – #1 seed Fresno State vs. #4 Hawaii (Fresno beat Hawaii on Sat. night)
(Note – Six tournaments had concluded earlier, with the winners including: Stony Brook (America East), Dartmouth (Ivy), Bethune Cookman (Mideastern), Rider (Mid-Atlantic), TCU (Mt. West) and Bucknell (Patriot) … the Big West, Pac-10 and WCC to not sponsor postseason tournament (champions from those leagues are Fullerton, Arizona St. and San Diego, respectively) … the first-year Great West does not have an NCAA automatic bid).
The Friday games involving CB360 top-50 teams took place primarily within conference tournament settings, along with four games from the Pac-10, a pair of Big West games and one from the WCC.
BUBBLE ANXIETY: Several leagues appear on pace to receive an “extra” entrant into the NCAAs (i.e. upset winner that was not a solid at-large candidate). Such spoiler teams – which ostensibly would take spots away from “bubble” teams– could emerge from the following leagues:
• ACC – During Saturday’s action, fellow bubble teams simply were hoping that any of the remaining contenders other than #7 seed North Carolina State would win this tournament … but the Wolfpack are in the title game and may already have wrapped up an NCAA bid (wins over Clemson and Va. Tech) … it will be interesting to see the fate of fellow ACC bubble teams North Carolina (narrowly missed ACC tourney) and Boston College (went 1-2, with RPI-boosting win over Miami)
• Atlantic Sun – Runaway regular-season champ Florida Gulf Coast was eliminated early, but if the Eagles fail to receive an at-large spot the A-Sun will remain a 1-bid league … Mercer (#2 seed) completed an undefeated run to win the tournament and earned the NCAA automatic bid.
• BIG EAST – #4 seed St. John’s has reached the title game and may end up taking a bubble team’s spot if the Red Storm beat UConn in the final … #3 seed Pittsburgh, an NCAA bubble team, exited early (so it all might be a wash, with the BIG EAST still getting the three entrants that some predicted) … needless to day, many teams around the country will be UConn fans on Sunday.
• Big South –#2 seed Liberty is a bubble team that could have clinched an NCAA spot, but the Flames lost the title game to top seed Coastal Carolina … that game still should lift Liberty’s RPI, but will it be enough?
• Big 12 – Bubble team Baylor (#6 seed) has reached the title game, which may already be enough to secure a spot in the NCAAs (the other finalist is #5 seed Texas A&M).
• Conference USA – #2 seed Southern Mississippi likely needed to win this event to keep its season going … and that what Southern Miss did, beating a Rice team that had rolled over its three previous opponents … convention thinking would indicate that a bubble team saw its NCAA hopes burst with the result in the C-USA final.
• Southern – #2 seed College of Charleston has been eliminated but likely still will reach the NCAAs … #6 seed Western Carolina (a classic “fly in the ointment”) has regained its early-season form and could play its way into the NCAAs by neating #1 The Citadel in the SoCon title game … it would seem unlikely that WCU could lose the final and still make the NCAAs (a WCU win would sink the hopes of some bubble team).
• Southland – This conference had been shaping up as a 1-bid league over the past few weeks, but it may be conceivable that #1 seed Texas State still could earn an at-large spot … the Bobcats reached the title game but lost to #7 seed Lamar (the epitome of a “bid-stealer” … unless Texas State gets left out, then it’ a wash in the big picture).
Sun Belt –Top seed Florida Atlantic lost twice to #4 Florida International and failed to reach the Sunbelt final (if two many bubble spots dry up, is FAU still safe for an at-large spot?) … FIU – which will face #6 seed Troy in Sunday’s title game – would be a great addition to the NCAA field, assuming Garrett Wittels extends his hitting streak to 54 games on Sunday … FIU also could be in bubble position, should it lose the title game to Troy … there’s also another bubble team from the Sunbelt (#2 seed and regular-season co-champion Louisiana-Lafayette) that went out early and may end up being squeezed out, so this conference could end up receiving the same number of bids that it would have prior to the past few days.
… AND OUT WEST – #1 Arizona State rallied Saturday to win the series-deciding game at #32 Stanford (8-6), while surging #40 Oregon State clinched its series (2-0) vs. #30 Arizona (5-0 score) and #41 California secured a series-clinching win ar #19 Oregon (13-3) … one other key Pac-10 series is tied, following #24 Washington State’s 6-4 win at #6 UCLA … ASU (20-7) and UCLA (17-9) are the 1-2 finishers, while WSU’s win secured a 3rd-place finish (15-11) for a Cougars team that has been on a roll the past few weeks … Stanford (14-13) similarly has clinched a 4th-place finish, thanks to its earlier sweep of Cal (13-13) … without diving into the tiebreakers at this point, it would appear that Cal, Oregon (12-14) and Oregon State (12-14) are in the running for 5th – while Arizona and Washington (both 11-15) may still have a chance to finish ahead of the Oregon schools … in the CB360 to-50 games involving Big West teams on Saturday, #9 Cal State Fullerton added one more win (6-0 vs. CS Northrdige) to its body of work, in hopes of being one of the top-8 national seeds (#26 UC Irvine also padded its resume with a 6-1 win at Long Beach State) … #20 San Diego’s credentials took a hit, with an 8-1 loss at lowly Saint Mary’s.
SATURDAY’S TOP-50 RESULTS (5/29/10; upsets in italics)
(based on the CB360 Composite National Rankings)
Reminder – follow THIS LINK for CB360’s Conference Tournament Main Page (with links to all of the conference tournament central pages that include complete info., links, etc.)
• #27 Texas A&M 9, #2 Texas 3 (Big 12)
• #3 Virginia 12, #12 Miami 7 (ACC)
• #4 Coastal Carolina 8, #49 Liberty 2 (Big South)
• #29 Alabama 5, #5 Florida 2 (7 inn.; SEC)
• St. John’s 5, #7 Louisville 3 (BIG EAST)
• #21 Clemson 9, #8 Georgia Tech 3 (ACC)
• #8 Georgia Tech 17, #48 North Carolina State 5 (7 inn.; ACC)
• #15 Oklahoma 13, Kansas State 2 (8 inn.; Big 12)
• #18 Connecticut 11, Rutgers 10 (BIG EAST)
• #18 Connecticut 7, Rutgers 4 (BIG EAST)
• Southern Mississippi 7, #22 Rice 4 (Conference USA)
• #34 LSU 8, #23 Mississippi 0 (7 inn.; SEC)
• #48 North Carolina State 10, #25 Virginia Tech 9 (10 inn.; ACC)
• Florida International 11, #35 Florida Atlantic 9 (Sun Belt)
• #39 The Citadel 6, #44 Elon 5 (Southern Conf.)
• #43 Baylor 6, Kansas 3 (Big 12)
• #46 Texas State 15, Texas-Arlington 10 (Southland)
• Lamar 17, #46 Texas State 7 (Southland)
• #49 Liberty 9, High Point 5 (Big South)