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The 2007 Tournament Field
Publication Date: May 29, 2007
Again, they've made progress. There were two fairly large omissions this year, I think, in Oklahoma and Cal Poly, and a few head-scratchers that were included, but there doesn't really seem to be much regional bias. The big step backward was the regression on the inclusion of middle-of-the-pack power conference teams -- there's still some fairness work to be done there. I can't tell completely how well they did on the Western teams, because there was really only one that should have obviously been in by ISR standards and not by RPI standards, and they left Cal Poly out (Cal and Gonzaga were borderline, so it's hard to tell), but they didn't punish Oregon State or Fullerton overly for playing in tough conferences. It's still pretty clear that the RPI needs to go, but as long as we're stuck with it, this may be about as good as it gets.
One thing that seems pretty clear if you step back a step or two and look at the arguments that have come up from the selections is that the tournament field is larger than the sport can support at this point. By the time you get down to worrying about which of Kansas State, Gonzaga, College of Charleston, California, Troy, Memphis, or St. John's gets in, you're a long way from talking about anyone who needs to be involved in selecting a national championship on the field.
The field, then. As with last year, the "M" column is the team's rating in Ken Massey's CBASE system, which I include 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.
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 Vanderbilt 51-11 2 2 3 72/51/11 Michigan 39-16 46 39 46 14/ 5/ 0 Memphis 36-25 50 52 63 10/ 3/ 0 Austin Peay State 39-20 83 79 86 4/ 1/ 0
At some level, this is the problem with handing the committee a bad rating system -- they feel like they have to ignore it some times, and there's no real rhyme or reason to when they do. Vanderbilt is a reasonable choice for a national #1 seed -- the difference between them and Rice certainly falls within the margin of error for any method we've got -- but there's no real way to explain Michigan as a #2 other than, "We felt like it." Actually, Michigan did have one of the shinier road records around, come to think of it, so that could have been it. OK, Coach, lunch is on me if we're ever in the same town.
Either way, Vandy has a nice clear path to Omaha laid out. The reason that they're not the overall favorite is that the 1/4/5/8 side of the bracket is much better loaded than the 2/3/6/7 side.
W-L RPI ISR M Probs Virginia 43-14 10 21 18 42/17/ 1 Rutgers 41-10 39 57 55 11/ 3/ 0 Oregon State 38-17 34 12 15 45/20/ 2 Lafayette 33-18 128 151 196 1/ 0/ 0
The tournament is not really designed to give clear answers (I'm not sure how you would design one that was, of course), so we won't really be able to be sure when the dust clears here, but it's certainly laid out like a test case. Those odds don't reflect the home field advantage, since there's still some question about how closely that actually shows up in the postseason, so call it even, given that Virginia gets the more trivial first round game.
W-L RPI ISR M Probs San Diego 43-16 12 6 8 52/30/ 5 Cal State Fullerton 33-23 31 19 23 28/13/ 1 Minnesota 40-16 49 40 49 13/ 4/ 0 Fresno State 36-27 97 63 61 7/ 2/ 0
Now here I'm really pleased. It would have been easy to downgrade USD -- they're new at this level, the RPI calls for a lower spot, and they're from a conference that's been mistreated in the past. Instead, they did the right thing. The pairing with Long Beach is unfortunate, but you can't have everything.
W-L RPI ISR M Probs Long Beach State 37-18 7 5 6 58/34/ 5 Pepperdine 35-20 37 22 28 24/10/ 1 UCLA 30-26 45 31 32 17/ 6/ 0 Illinois-Chicago 32-19 107 107 119 2/ 0/ 0
Here, I'm not so pleased, other than with the fair treatment given Pepperdine, for a change, and UCLA. Long Beach has been in the top 8 all year long in the RPI; their standing in one of the toughest conferences in the land is the only reason to drop them to a non-national seed, unless they were holding to a quota of two Western teams as national seeds. In this case, it just ain't right.
W-L RPI ISR M Probs Texas 44-15 3 4 4 59/41/ 8 UC Irvine 40-15 28 8 9 34/21/ 3 Wake Forest 33-27 22 47 53 6/ 2/ 0 Brown 27-18 145 157 195 0/ 0/ 0
Did Augie Garrido shave both Charlie Carr's and Larry Templeton's dogs or something? This marks the fourth consecutive year that Texas has gotten a tougher draw than they deserved; at some point, it gets to be hard to believe in random chance causing these things. They finally got a national seed that they deserved and were paired with an easier #1 seed, but they got stuck with two absolutely killer #2 seeds, so they're easily the least likely of the true contenders to actually make it through.
W-L RPI ISR M Probs Wichita State 48-19 20 24 22 32/11/ 1 Arizona 43-13 21 11 11 45/20/ 2 Oral Roberts 40-15 38 37 24 17/ 4/ 0 New Orleans 37-24 87 75 94 7/ 1/ 0
I understand the argument for geographic distribution of regionals, whether I agree with it or not, but Wichita's just not that far north, and why would you give them Louisiana-Lafayette's #1 seed as part of the deal?
W-L RPI ISR M Probs Arizona State 43-13 5 3 2 68/52/11 UC Riverside 37-19 48 17 16 23/14/ 1 Nebraska 30-25 32 42 42 9/ 4/ 0 Monmouth 36-22 119 163 221 0/ 0/ 0
Hmmm. They've been largely ignored by the national media, but they may be the best hitting team in the nation, they've actually got a fair draw, and they have a few hundred chips on their shoulders. Could be interesting.
W-L RPI ISR M Probs Mississippi 37-23 13 23 27 42/15/ 1 Southern Mississippi 38-21 25 27 40 32/10/ 0 Troy 34-25 54 59 78 15/ 3/ 0 Sam Houston State 38-22 69 69 76 12/ 2/ 0
There's an accidentally interesting matchup here with the top two, so it's worth checking the scoreboard for, anyway.
W-L RPI ISR M Probs Rice 48-12 1 1 1 72/49/15 Texas Christian 46-12 30 20 12 18/ 8/ 1 Baylor 34-25 23 33 30 10/ 4/ 0 Prairie View A&M 34-23 201 201 326 0/ 0/ 0
The Rice-Vanderbilt thing is an interesting testimony to the power of first impressions, or at least early ones. Vandy, of course, 20-0 at one point. Rice was 10-7 before getting started. On the other hand, Rice has won 30 of their last 32, and I can't find a rating system that doesn't have them as the best team in the country right now. Nonetheless, Vandy's the #1 seed. The Massey rating for TCU is interesting; he may be doing a better job of managing the Air Force situation than the rest of us.
W-L RPI ISR M Probs Texas A&M 44-16 9 9 10 56/25/ 4 Louisiana-Lafayette 43-15 14 16 26 37/14/ 1 Ohio State 37-22 72 73 82 6/ 1/ 0 LeMoyne 34-17 100 127 127 2/ 0/ 0
This is the problem with using a bad rating system -- you overseed top mid-major teams for a couple of years based on it, then you lose faith and mess up on an actual legitimate #1 seed. Now, frankly, if UL-L is actually the #16 team the way the ISR says (and I don't have any reason to think they're not), then it's not that great a tragedy that they slip to a #2, but it's all just a bit unseemly.
W-L RPI ISR M Probs Arkansas 41-19 16 18 19 52/29/ 2 Creighton 44-14 33 25 21 28/14/ 1 Oklahoma State 38-19 53 36 31 20/ 9/ 0 Albany 29-27 194 202 292 0/ 0/ 0
When I'm king, or chairman of the committee (both of which are equally likely), the first thing that we're going to do, way back during the offseason, is to draw up a prioritized list of what matters, publish it, and then we're going to stick to it. The current situation means that you have this weird mix of teams being rewarded for their RPI or rewarded for their conference finish or rewarded for their conference tournament or any of a half-dozen other things, or being punished for the same, but never in the same order. On the field, by the way, this should be a fun regional to watch; it's a strange truth that the screwed-up ones are usually more fun to watch.
W-L RPI ISR M Probs Missouri 40-16 15 13 13 57/32/ 3 Miami, Florida 36-22 17 34 34 26/11/ 0 Louisville 40-20 44 58 62 14/ 4/ 0 Kent State 33-24 115 120 133 4/ 1/ 0
One of the reasons why it's nice that new teams join the mix of those who have done well every once in a while is that they're always so justly proud of themselves; it's been nice to see the Tigers get rewarded for a quiet, excellent season.
W-L RPI ISR M Probs North Carolina 48-12 4 7 5 62/40/ 6 East Carolina 39-21 26 32 38 22/10/ 0 Western Carolina 40-18 40 46 54 14/ 5/ 0 Jacksonville 34-26 104 117 131 2/ 0/ 0
I'm still not sure what to make of the top ACC teams and their empty schedules, but I think the top two may actually be poised to make a decent run into the postseason; they may actually be as good as their rankings, and they both have fairly clear paths into Omaha.
W-L RPI ISR M Probs South Carolina 42-18 11 15 17 57/29/ 3 North Carolina State 37-21 18 35 33 23/ 9/ 0 North Carolina-Charlotte 47-10 43 43 35 19/ 7/ 0 Wofford 30-31 140 177 200 1/ 0/ 0
Charlotte intrigues me for the same reason that UNC and FSU do; big records against lesser competition are hard to measure. I don't see much of a struggle for the Gamecocks here, though.
W-L RPI ISR M Probs Florida State 47-11 8 10 7 62/39/ 5 Mississippi State 33-20 24 28 37 24/11/ 0 Stetson 41-19 36 48 73 13/ 5/ 0 Bethune-Cookman 33-25 124 149 163 1/ 0/ 0
The number of games that MSU has played may actually be a hidden informative piece of knowledge here. They've always waited until later than most Southern teams to start play; by coincidence, their start date almost always falls right around the new common start date for next year. The reason they've only played 53 games is that they had five rainouts that they weren't able to fit in replacements for. That may be a more general sign of things to come. Yes, that's probably the most interesting thing to say about this regional, which FSU should win comfortably.
W-L RPI ISR M Probs Coastal Carolina 48-11 6 14 14 52/28/ 3 Clemson 38-21 19 26 25 31/13/ 1 St. John's 40-17 51 65 59 11/ 3/ 0 Virginia Commonwealth 37-21 71 92 101 6/ 1/ 0
I always get whiplash on a case like Coastal's this year. The criteria that the committee uses are wrong, but they should at least be consistent about them, like that three inches off the plate outside fastball call some umps use. Coastal didn't deserve a national seed, really, but under the system in place, they should have been given one.
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.
|5/22||St. John's||Scott Barnes||Connecticut||7.2||6||1||1||2||6||27||30||121|
|5/23||North Dakota State||Jake Laber||Utah Valley State||8.0||9||8||4||3||6||33||39||130|
|5/23||Utah Valley State||Marcus Moore||North Dakota State||8.2||13||7||6||5||9||35||40||174|
|5/23||Wake Forest||Garrett Bullock||Florida State||5.2||10||7||6||4||2||26||30||122|
|5/23||Notre Dame||David Phelps||Villanova||9.0||5||3||2||3||9||33||36||123|
|5/23||Old Dominion||Anthony Shawler||Georgia State||9.0||7||2||1||2||10||34||36||132(*)|
|5/23||Alabama-Birmingham||Mitch Kloskowski||Southern Mississippi||6.1||5||4||2||3||6||26||29||124|
|5/23||Central Michigan||Josh Collmenter||Miami, Ohio||7.2||11||7||7||1||5||29||35||122|
|5/23||New Mexico||Robert Lafromboise||San Diego State||9.0||6||0||0||5||6||32||38||156|
|5/23||Mississippi||Will Kline||Mississippi State||9.0||8||1||1||2||10||33||35||131|
|5/23||Wofford||Austin Redwine||College of Charleston||7.2||11||5||4||1||5||30||33||128|
|5/23||Texas State||Justin Fiske||Sam Houston State||9.0||7||2||2||2||8||35||38||142|
|5/24||New York Tech||Joe Esposito||North Dakota State||8.2||9||3||1||5||6||33||40||160|
|5/24||George Mason||Dan Jaycox||Georgia State||9.0||6||2||2||4||4||32||37||131|
|5/24||Youngstown State||Chuck Schiffhauer||Butler||8.0||11||7||7||2||2||35||38||123|
|5/24||New Mexico||Jacob Norton||San Diego State||9.0||5||1||1||3||6||32||36||138|
|5/24||Central Connecticut State||Matt Gianini||Quinnipiac||8.0||7||2||1||3||7||30||37||137|
|5/24||Monmouth||Brad Brach||Mount St. Mary's||9.0||7||0||0||3||5||34||39||123|
|5/24||Florida Atlantic||Chris Salberg||Western Kentucky||7.0||6||4||3||6||8||27||36||142|
|5/24||Western Kentucky||Matt Ridings||Florida Atlantic||5.1||10||5||5||2||3||26||29||121|
|5/25||Nevada||Rod Scurry||San Jose State||7.0||8||5||1||0||9||24||32||121|
|5/25||Wisconsin-Milwaukee||Dan Luczak||Youngstown State||9.0||8||0||0||4||1||33||37||128|
|5/25||Memphis||Ben Grisham||Central Florida||9.0||11||6||4||1||5||37||39||128|
|5/25||Tulane||Brandon Gomes||Southern Mississippi||7.0||6||1||1||3||10||27||31||123|
|5/25||Cal Poly||Eric Massingham||UC Santa Barbara||6.0||6||2||0||5||5||23||29||127|
|5/25||Cal State Fullerton||Wes Roemer||Long Beach State||9.0||8||6||6||0||11||33||36||126|
|5/25||New Jersey Tech||P. J. Saporito||South Dakota State||8.1||11||4||4||1||6||34||35||129|
|5/25||UC Irvine||Scott Gorgen||UC Riverside||9.0||3||0||0||2||11||29||31||135|
|5/25||Washington State||Wayne Daman, Jr.||UC Davis||8.1||5||1||1||6||2||31||38||133|
|5/25||UC Davis||Brad McAtee||Washington State||9.0||5||1||1||4||3||26||35||127|
|5/26||Northern Colorado||Eric Maydew||New York Tech||8.1||8||1||1||0||11||31||32||122|
|5/26||UC Riverside||Matt Montgomery||UC Irvine||8.1||7||2||2||0||8||32||33||121|
|5/27||Cal Poly||Thomas Eager||UC Santa Barbara||8.0||7||3||3||8||3||27||37||133|
|5/27||UCLA||Gavin Brooks||Oregon State||9.0||3||2||1||1||7||30||31||123|
|5/27||UC Davis||Eddie Gamboa||Washington State||9.0||6||2||1||2||7||33||35||123|
(*) 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
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