RPI Time for Baseball
Yes, folks, it's time to look at the ol' RPI to see how the MWC is standing with all the other teams looking to make the NCAA Tournament. I don't know for sure how many automatic bids the Mountain West receives but I'm guessing two and maybe three with an at-large. I was a bit surprised when I visited boydsworld.com and this site had four teams that look pretty good right now. UNLV at 25 looks solid as they've risen a bit in the past week or so. I'd guess they're in unless they completely disengage from reality the rest of the season. The Rebels are followed by New Mexico at 45 and San Diego State at 57. That's also pretty healthy. The real surprise to me is Fresno State at 69. That's right on the cusp and they could be in if they finish strong and/or do well in the MWC tournament. A decent RPI does not guarantee a bid as a win-loss record of barely .500 and a poor performance on the road or in OOC contests could spell death.
This has certainly been the year for the mid-major in college baseball. Fullerton was the pre-season number 1 team. Louisiana has been an offensive juggernaut and has been number one. Cal Poly was there but slipped to third and there are others in the top 30 that could make some serious waves in the post season. Would this ever happen in football or basketball? Not as likely but not completely out of the realm of possibility. Geez, I love baseball.
The field of conspirators, er, participants in the tournament is composed of 64 teams. We all know the big boys will get the most bids and those conference tournaments will have little bearing on which teams receive bids. The SEC, for instance, could have as many as 12 but 10 is more likely. Can you believe that? Then again, the Big West has some absolutely great teams this year. Fullerton was the pre-season number one but has fallen to number 63 between East Carolina and Ball State, if you can believe that. The biggies in the conference are Cal Poly (17), Santa Barbara (50), and Irvine (55). I'm guessing they'll get two bids. The WAC will get one and that should be Sacramento State which is definitely the class of the conference. The WCC will also get one with Pepperdine leading the way in its conference. Pre-season had San Diego and they've fallen off the charts. It looks, then, that both the Big West and the MWC could get two bids. I could live with that.
But, and this is a big but, there is the issue of conference tournaments. The one automatic goes to the tournament winners for mid-majors. Ugh. Keep an eye on Fresno State as they've made a habit of underachieving during the regular season and then winning the conference tournament to get the automatic bid. That cheats one of the more deserving programs from getting the second at large bid. I don't see the conference making millions from a post-season tournament so why do it? Body of work is all I ask. Oh, well, we'll see what transpires in the following few weeks. I'm still saying two, maybe three bids. I'd love to see four as that would mean the committee smiles on what our beloved MWC has accomplished this year. Let's hope.