Monday, May 18, 2009

Weekly RPI Report (T-1)

Let's go right for the most unthinkable scenario. For several weeks now, much speculation has been focused on whether the West would indeed get the three national seeds that it deserves. And if the committee somehow screws one team, whom would it be.

Would you believe ... UC Irvine?

Yes, yes, yes, it's far-fetched. But let's give this a good look. Currently, the 'Eaters are No. 18 in the RPI and it's likely that they could be out of the top 20 altogether by the end of the regular season. Would the committee take a team outside of the top 20 and make it a national seed - particularly if that team puts in a weak hosting bid and could be conveniently packed into a roadtrip for a top regional seed elsewhere?

It would be criminal, but it's the NCAA, so no one should be surprised if it happens. And if it does, expect the 'Eaters to be paired off with Arizona State in a Super Regional showdown.

For the Titans, currently holder of the No. 1 spot in the RPI, the path to a national seed seems pretty clear: Win the Long Beach series, which will guarantee a second-place finish in the Big West and a top 5 finish in the RPI.

Over the past four years, only one team that finished in the RPI top 5 failed to earn a national seed - Texas in 2005, when the 'Horns finished No. 4 in the RPI but third in the Big 12, behind Nebraska and Baylor, who were both national seeds. However, the 'Horns went on to win the national championship that year, the fifth for Augie Garrido.

Here's a year-by-year national seed review, from 2005-2008:


1. Miami (1 RPI)
2. North Carolina (2)
3. Arizona State (4)
4. Florida State (3)
5. Cal State Fullerton (10)
6. Rice (5)
7. LSU (8)
8. Georgia (12)

RPI top 10 left out: Nebraska (6), Georgia Tech (7), Oklahoma State (9).


1. Vanderbilt (2)
2. Rice (1)
3. North Carolina (4)
4. Texas (3)
5. Arizona State (5)
6. Florida State (6)
7. Arkansas (17)
8. San Diego (15)

RPI top 10 left out: Texas A&M (7), Virginia (8), South Carolina (9), Missouri (10)


1. Clemson (1)
2. Rice (2)
3. Texas (5)
4. Alabama (7)
5. Cal State Fullerton (3)
6. Nebraska (8)
7. Georgia (4)
8. Georgia Tech (6)

RPI top 10 left out: Oklahoma (9), North Carolina (10)


1. Tulane (3)
2. Georgia Tech (2)
3. Nebraska (17)
4. Baylor (6)
5. Ole Miss (1)
6. Cal State Fullerton (14)
7. Florida (5)
8. Oregon State (11)

RPI top 10 left out: Texas (4), Miami (7), LSU (8), Clemson (9), NC State (10).

A few observations:

* The ACC and SEC had at least two national seeds each every year from 2006-2008.
* The West had two national seeds (but not more) in three of the past four years.
* The Big 12 have not had two national seeds in the same year since 2006.
* The highest RPI to get a national seed is 17.
* Two schools earned national seeds in three of those years (Fullerton, Rice).

Based on the committee's history, it's probably unlikely that UC Irvine, which has clinched the Big West title, would be snubbed of a national seed - barring a sweep by UC Santa Barbara this weekend. Still, with its heavy reliance on the RPI, the possibility is there. As for the Titans, short of a disaster against the Dirtbags, the prospects for a national seed are very good.

Here's this week's national seed forecast:

1. North Carolina, 2. Arizona State, 3. Texas, 4. UC Irvine, 5. LSU, 6. Cal State Fullerton, 7. Florida, 8. Rice.

One national seed (the No. 7 slot in this projection) should be up for grabs between the second team from the ACC and SEC. Rice, after failing to win the Conference USA regular-season title, may need to win the conference tournament to lock up a spot.

The other regional hosts would be:

Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, TCU and East Carolina.


Anonymous said...

Big deal if UCI is snubbed and has a Super Regional matchup with Arizona State. Fresno State went into Tempe and beat the Sun Devils in the Super Regionals last year. The Sun Devils were 10X the team they are this year as they were last year with 15 players drafted. UCI has nothing to worry about.

Anonymous said...

*Sun Devils were 10 times better last year with 15 players drafted than this year is what I meant.