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A Mish-Mash

Publication Date: February 19, 2002

Most Likely to Succeed?

I've had a few issues that I wanted to revisit from past columns that don't really warrant a full column, and I want to split up and hit those this week. I'm not going to turn it into a full-scale Peter Gammons-style notes column (OK, so Grantland Rice did them, too; I don't really see much comparison past that), but I'll be wandering about a bit here.

In my piece on "gaming" the RPI, I talked about a schedulability factor, which basically takes into account how good a team is, in terms of how likely a bubble team is to beat them, in conjunction with how good their winning percentage is (it's really more complex than that; go read the original for more detail). Based on those factors from last year and this year's schedule, I've identified what are probably the teams most likely to be overrated by the RPI for this season. As always, there's no moral judgment here, assuming that these schedules were made out without looking at the RPI potential; it's just a fact of living with the RPI that it's going to be wrong in some specific ways.

The 20 most likely to be overrated by the RPI, in order:

Boston College
Arkansas-Pine Bluff
St. Peter's
St. Joseph's
Seton Hall

Others of interest in the top 50: Clemson, Minnesota, and South Florida. Notably not in the top 50 this year is East Carolina, who gets a chance with the conference change to be more accurately ranked in the RPI's this year.

The 20 most likely to be underrated:

Santa Clara
Oregon State
San Diego State
St. Mary's
Cal Poly
San Diego
Oral Roberts
San Francisco
Brigham Young
Cal-Santa Barbara
Cal State Sacramento
Loyola Marymount
Cal State Northridge
Delaware State

Most of the Pac-10, Big West, and WAC are in the top 50.

Updated EFI's

They're a little late this year, but I've finally updated the EFI's to reflect results through the end of the 2001 season. I've talked about the EFI's a good bit before and won't repeat myself much, but do take the time to go take a look through them if you never have; it's some fairly eye-opening work.

The new batch uses three-year ISR's for 1999-2001 as a measuring stick. Due to Wichita State's off-year in 2001, Rice is now the most overachieving school in the country, but for the most part the leader board has stayed the same, and I repeat my congratulations to those programs like those two and Notre Dame who manage to be competitive despite lousy weather and/or real academic standards.

Injury? Report

Unfortunately, we have this story: Tigers prospect Kenny Baugh felt "twinges" in his shoulder in his first day to throw this week and has been transferred from the major league camp to the less strenuous minor league camp. Baugh was the centerpiece of my first report on pitcher abuse, and I hope that this isn't a bad sign but just caution on the Tigers' part.

I've been accused once or twice of being a vulture gleefully waiting for injuries to report. That's very far from the truth; as I've said before, I'm fond of most of the players I watch, and I want only the best for them. However, I am trying to verify the notion that overwork causes future injury, and I need to be able to report the results of that overwork without prejudice. If using Kenny Baugh as a cautionary tale causes distress to him, his family, or his fans, I apologize for that distress, but if it saves Lance Cormier's or Tanner Brock's arm, then it's worth it.

Pitch Count Watch

Rather than keep returning to the subject of pitch counts and pitcher usage in general too often for my main theme, I'm just going to run a standard feature down here where I point out potential problems; feel free to stop reading above this if the subject doesn't interest you. This will just be a quick listing of questionable starts that have caught my eye.

Date Team Pitcher Opponent IP H R ER BB SO AB BF Pitches
Feb 23 Mississippi J. R. Pickens South Alabama 8.1 5 4 4 1 8 31 33 133
Feb 16 Houston Gene Flores Southwest Texas State 5.0 0 0 0 1 6 15 16 58
Feb 16 Mercer Brett Jarrett Louisiana State 6.1 7 5 5 5 7 22 29 125

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