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The 2006 Tournament Field
Publication Date: May 30, 2006
In the large things, I'm somewhat pleased. The committee has begun to recognize that the RPI doesn't work, although they're not yet really ready to throw the whole thing out. There are still some major problems, but they're almost all attributable to the RPI, and they did overcome those to get San Diego and San Francisco in. The super pairings are the place where that causes the biggest problems, but small progress is being made. If the frog in the pot gets more comfortable over time instead of boiling, how does that work?
In one small thing, there is some unhappiness. There's an appearance of impropriety with the Mississippi State bid. It's not that MSU didn't deserve to be in; they were borderline, and it's not an unreasonable thing for them to be included. The problem is that a borderline case was decided in favor of the committee chair. Now, the problem with volunteer work is that it only gets done by the people who are willing to do it, and in this particular case it's unlikely that you're going to find someone willing to be committee chairman and qualified to do so who doesn't have a vested interest in the results. More clearcut criteria for selection could shortcut these discussions, but in the mean time I think we're stuck with these problems, and I don't know any good way around them. After all, the alternatives to athletic directors from large programs are conference officials and AD personnel from smaller programs, and there are still problems with both of those.
The field, then. I've added a column this year; the "M" column is the team's rating in Ken Massey's CBASE system. I'm including those this time to give a sort of neutral rating so that I'm not accused of pushing my own system at the expense of the RPI's. Note that mine and Ken's methods are almost entirely different, and note how the results of the two methods track.
As always, the probabilities are the ISR-based odds of the team winning the regional, super, and CWS respectively.
W-L RPI ISR M Probs Clemson 47-14 1 3 3 71/48/ 9 Elon 44-16 24 37 38 16/ 7/ 0 Mississippi State 35-21 34 40 37 13/ 5/ 0 North Carolina-Asheville 28-33 152 145 145 0/ 0/ 0
Elon's overrated a bit by the RPI, but they're not a horrible choice as a low #2 seed. Clemson's not the #1 team in the country, but they're not far off; they've really come on nicely this last month. They're matched with a fair pairing below. All told, there's not much to complain about here.
W-L RPI ISR M Probs Oklahoma State 39-18 17 18 20 49/21/ 2 Arkansas 38-19 15 17 25 37/16/ 1 Oral Roberts 38-14 49 48 40 14/ 4/ 0 Princeton 19-24 223 228 232 0/ 0/ 0
On the one hand, you could probably switch the top two here and be better off. That does skew the probabilities a bit, but other than that, this is a decent grouping, with the worst #1 seed paired with the best #2 seed, give or take one or two.
W-L RPI ISR M Probs Georgia Tech 45-16 4 13 14 56/36/ 4 Vanderbilt 36-25 35 49 48 20/ 9/ 0 Michigan 42-19 50 60 56 15/ 6/ 0 Stetson 38-22 65 84 91 8/ 2/ 0
I guess they're tired of watching Tech flame out at home; they forgot to send them a #2 seed. Even if you look just at the RPI, you have to give Vandy a lot of credit for performance this last week to get them to a #2. That said, the Commodores did come into Hoover with a really great game plan, so we'll see how this week plays out. Tech/Kentucky is an interesting pairing, since they played greatly disparate styles of ball.
W-L RPI ISR M Probs Kentucky 42-15 27 24 23 41/21/ 1 College of Charleston 43-15 21 35 41 32/16/ 1 Notre Dame 45-15 42 58 54 17/ 6/ 0 Ball State 37-20 74 81 73 10/ 3/ 0
Last year, Tennessee managed to ride a strangely high SEC finish and some favorable tournament placement to get to Omaha. I have no idea if history will repeat, but stranger things have happened. UK may be the only SEC team I can remember to be underrated by the RPI.
W-L RPI ISR M Probs Alabama 41-19 6 14 18 53/31/ 3 Troy 45-14 22 29 24 28/14/ 1 Southern Mississippi 38-21 40 44 39 17/ 7/ 0 Jacksonville State 35-22 140 135 123 1/ 0/ 0
There shouldn't be a national seed from the SEC this year, but that's just an RPI problem, so we live with it until we manage to get rid of the RPI. The winner of this super will have Pepperdine's spot in Omaha.
W-L RPI ISR M Probs North Carolina 45-13 11 19 16 61/33/ 3 Winthrop 44-16 19 41 47 28/12/ 0 North Carolina-Wilmington 41-20 46 82 85 10/ 2/ 0 Maine 35-20 164 182 176 0/ 0/ 0
Have you noticed by this point that the ACC could manage to finally win a title simply by overwhelming numbers? I count four ACC teams with at least a 30% chance of making it to Omaha, and Clemson looks like a legitimate contender. UNC shouldn't have this good a chance, but there's not as much competition here as there should be, since the RPI overrates Winthrop a bit and the other two are legitimate #4's.
W-L RPI ISR M Probs Cal State Fullerton 43-13 3 1 2 74/54/21 Fresno State 43-16 31 16 8 16/ 8/ 1 San Diego 32-23 57 28 29 10/ 4/ 0 St. Louis 32-27 129 150 154 0/ 0/ 0
There are only two ways that this can go, and neither of them are good. Either the best team in the country runs the table and gets to Omaha, in which case everyone just shrugs their shoulders and assumes that Fresno, USD, UCLA, Irvine, and Pepperdine really didn't deserve to be there (at least two of them probably should end up in Omaha), or Fullerton stumbles and everyone assumes that they were overrated rather than stuck having to fight through an absurdly tough gauntlet.
Note that according to Ken's ratings, I'm actually underrating Fresno by a good bit. I'm not sure who's right, but that leaves the RPI as pretty much the odd man out.
W-L RPI ISR M Probs Pepperdine 40-19 18 7 7 37/14/ 2 UCLA 32-23 23 12 11 28/10/ 1 UC Irvine 36-22 38 11 15 28/10/ 1 Missouri 31-25 48 64 59 6/ 1/ 0
At some point, I'll have to go back and find the exact point at which Pepperdine took over from Arizona State the mantle of most mistreated team in the country. I guess it's nice that they did give them a #1 seed, flying slightly in the face of the RPI's, but then they followed the RPI's enough to send them two more legitimate #1 seeds.
Missouri, who will quickly get lost in this particular shuffle, is an interesting case, because as far as I can tell the only way they got in is through receiving credit for the Max Scherzer injury. I don't know if that's a good thing or not.
W-L RPI ISR M Probs Rice 50-10 2 2 1 66/48/13 Arizona State 36-19 28 10 17 23/13/ 2 Baylor 35-24 32 33 36 11/ 5/ 0 Prairie View A&M 33-20 229 232 252 0/ 0/ 0
ASU's placement here is a testament to the fact that, even when you know about the flaws in the RPI, it can be tricky to schedule around them. After successfully getting their RPI to more accurately reflect their quality the last couple of years, the Sun Devils were let down by Auburn's bad year and then discovered that scheduling teams from Texas just doesn't work as well as those from the Southeast. Both they and Rice get punished for it. When you add in the pairing with the strongest of the non-national #1 seeds, Rice has a much harder path to Omaha than they should.
W-L RPI ISR M Probs Oklahoma 40-19 9 8 12 44/18/ 2 Houston 39-20 20 23 19 29/ 9/ 1 Wichita State 44-20 45 54 52 13/ 3/ 0 Texas Christian 38-21 71 45 42 14/ 3/ 0
On the face of it, there's not much wrong here; you could quibble over the Wichita bid, but they're not the worst at large bid by any means.
W-L RPI ISR M Probs Georgia 41-19 8 9 10 60/38/ 4 Florida State 42-19 10 26 30 28/15/ 1 Jacksonville 42-17 43 59 66 11/ 4/ 0 Sacred Heart 26-28 236 248 243 0/ 0/ 0
Here's one that they pretty much got right, if you're willing to put up with the RPI-inspired Jacksonville bid. They did properly ignore FSU's RPI, so I'm willing to smile about this one.
W-L RPI ISR M Probs Virginia 46-13 12 20 13 62/30/ 2 South Carolina 37-22 29 43 44 28/10/ 0 Evansville 40-20 60 83 76 10/ 2/ 0 Lehigh 28-26 198 226 220 0/ 0/ 0
Virginia is one place where Massey is closer to the RPI than to me, which may make this seeding more acceptable. However, they forgot to send them a #2 seed and only got them one #3 seed.
W-L RPI ISR M Probs Texas 40-19 5 5 6 56/31/ 5 North Carolina State 38-21 14 34 32 18/ 6/ 0 Stanford 30-25 44 21 28 24/ 9/ 1 Texas-Arlington 29-34 111 110 100 2/ 0/ 0
Again, they ignored the RPI for an ACC team. I'm not sure why they weren't willing to ignore it for Stanford, although the SoS-based shaky winning percentage is probably it. Stanford's presence combined with Oregon State looming on the other side means that Texas once again has a more difficult path than they should fairly. It obviously didn't hurt them too much last year, but, like Stanford in the early naughts, it's still not fair.
W-L RPI ISR M Probs Oregon State 39-14 30 4 4 56/33/ 6 Kansas 42-23 33 27 26 17/ 7/ 0 Hawaii 43-15 36 15 9 26/13/ 1 Wright State 32-25 156 143 144 0/ 0/ 0
If you accept that they weren't going to give the #30 RPI team a national seed, no matter how much they actually deserved it, you can kind of ignore the OSU part. It's a shame about Hawaii, though, as a great season from the top two WAC teams (I'd have loved to see those two show up a year or two earlier) will largely go unnoticed.
W-L RPI ISR M Probs Nebraska 42-15 7 6 5 62/44/ 7 Miami, Florida 36-21 13 36 35 16/ 8/ 0 San Francisco 38-21 51 25 22 21/12/ 1 Manhattan 32-21 142 181 172 0/ 0/ 0
On the one hand, it would be easy to complain about USF as a #3 seed, and I'll do so for the length of this sentence. On the other hand, they did get in despite the RPI, and they even managed to get sent away from the West Coast, where they can have a chance (remember, it's only a game or two, and anything can happen) to feast on an overrated ACC team. This could be interesting.
W-L RPI ISR M Probs Mississippi 40-20 16 22 21 51/21/ 1 Tulane 41-19 26 39 27 30/10/ 0 South Alabama 38-19 39 57 49 18/ 5/ 0 Bethune-Cookman 30-25 134 148 143 2/ 0/ 0
South Alabama was shaky, as it's hard to defend them over LSU or Wake Forest on any grounds, but the RPI probably does get them in. The RPI overrates every one of these teams, so it's hard to get excited about this one.
There's no one here nearly as good as Cal Poly or San Francisco were last year, but there's still a little work to do:
W-L RPI ISR Long Beach State 29-27 47 30 Washington 33-24 75 31 UC Riverside 29-25 67 32 Pacific 30-25 85 38
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 -- the general threshold for listing is 120 actual pitches or 130 estimated, although short rest will also get a pitcher listed if I catch it. Don't blame me; I'm just the messenger.
|5/19||UC Riverside||Taylor Bills||Long Beach State||9.0||6||1||1||1||7||30||37||135|
|5/21||Long Beach State||Jared Hughes||UC Riverside||9.0||6||2||2||0||13||34||36||135|
|5/23||West Virginia||Kenny Durst||St. John's||8.0||8||3||3||5||6||31||36||136|
|5/24||Tulane||Sean Morgan||East Carolina||8.0||7||4||4||2||5||29||32||121|
|5/24||Birmingham-Southern||Brandon Hynick||North Carolina-Asheville||9.0||8||2||1||1||8||31||36||127|
|5/24||Ohio State||Dan Delucia||Purdue||10.0||7||1||1||2||7||34||40||137(*)|
|5/24||Florida Atlantic||Mickey Storey||Stetson||8.2||10||3||2||2||5||34||38||133|
|5/24||High Point||Eammon Portice||Coastal Carolina||9.1||5||0||0||3||12||34||37||142|
|5/24||Oklahoma State||Oliver Odle||Missouri||8.1||12||7||5||0||1||40||40||128|
|5/24||Western Kentucky||Liam Shanahan||Troy||8.0||7||2||1||1||4||28||31||124|
|5/24||Appalachian State||Jason Rook||Elon||7.0||4||3||1||4||7||24||30||126|
|5/24||Georgia Southern||Everett Teaford||The Citadel||7.0||10||4||4||1||5||28||30||125|
|5/24||Texas Christian||Jake Arrieta||New Mexico||7.0||9||6||6||3||6||27||33||123|
|5/25||Texas-Arlington||Chris Taylor||McNeese State||9.0||8||1||1||3||10||31||35||156|
|5/25||Rhode Island||Steve Holmes||St. Louis||9.0||6||3||3||2||6||31||36||134|
|5/25||Bradley||Michael Christl||Wichita State||8.0||9||8||5||5||1||29||36||131|
|5/25||Florida Atlantic||Joel Schmal||Jacksonville||9.0||6||3||3||3||7||32||35||152|
|5/25||Northeastern||Dave Pellegrine||James Madison||9.0||8||5||5||4||10||34||39||145(*)|
|5/25||Coastal Carolina||Bobby Gagg||North Carolina-Asheville||8.0||9||1||0||0||9||32||33||129|
|5/25||Samford||Josh Ehmke||Southeast Missouri State||7.0||5||5||5||8||11||25||33||141(*)|
|5/25||New Orleans||Bryan Cryer||Troy||6.2||10||6||2||2||5||32||36||135|
|5/25||Texas Christian||Brad Furnish||Brigham Young||8.0||8||3||3||4||9||29||35||121|
|5/25||College of Charleston||Nick Chigges||Western Carolina||9.0||4||0||0||5||4||31||37||148|
|5/26||Central Connecticut State||Matt Gianini||Quinnipiac||8.0||12||6||5||3||6||36||40||138(*)|
|5/26||LeMoyne||T. J. Sheridan||Manhattan||7.0||7||3||3||2||10||25||28||122|
|5/26||East Carolina||Shane Mathews||Tulane||8.1||8||1||1||3||7||30||34||124|
|5/26||Florida International||Kyle Preshong||Troy||7.0||9||9||7||4||7||31||38||125|
|5/26||The Citadel||Ken Egleton||North Carolina-Greensboro||9.0||8||3||3||2||7||31||33||121|
|5/26||Washington||Tim Lincecum||Washington State||9.0||8||3||1||2||14||36||38||145(*)|
|5/27||Western Illinois||Ryan Schmidgall||Oral Roberts||9.0||7||2||1||3||6||33||39||135(*)|
|5/27||Kent State||Alan Morrison||Miami, Ohio||9.0||3||1||1||5||4||30||37||132|
|5/27||UC Davis||Vince Decoito||Stanford||8.2||11||3||1||2||3||34||37||127|
|5/28||California||Tyson Ross||Arizona State||7.0||9||4||2||3||7||26||31||121|
|5/28||UCLA||Dave Huff||Oregon State||7.1||5||1||1||3||3||26||30||121|
(*) Pitch count is estimated. As always, I welcome actual pitch count corrections.If you're interested in reprinting this or any other Boyd's World material for your publication or Web site, please read the reprint policy and contact me
|Boyd's World-> Breadcrumbs Back to Omaha-> The 2006 Tournament Field||About the author, Boyd Nation|