With less than a month to go in the 2016 regular season, Wolfpack Baseball (29-11, 10-6 ACC) has itself positioned pretty well as it rounds the back turn and approaches the stretch run.
But with Duke at home this weekend, followed by road trips to Clemson and Louisville, and home vs Carolina to close things out, there’s still work to be done.
Let’s (briefly) Talk Duke Baseball
The Duke Blue Devils (24-18, 9-12 ACC) have won 4 of their last five, including a series win on the road in Blacksburg at VT last weekend. And yeah, sure….it was VT, but it WAS on the road.
We don’t need to sweep Duke, but at home we better not lose this series if we hope to host a regional and/or garner a national seed.
They pitch fairly well and they’re solid defensively, but they don’t hit well. We match up well with Duke, FWIW.
Now, I don’t mean to sound as if I’m overlooking the Devils. They’re a solid club and they could easily derail our plans. In all seriousness, mostly, I’m being lazy. But seriously….2 out of 3 this weekend and I am a happy boy heading to Clemson next weekend.
Some NCAA Tourney/RPI/National Seed Discussion
State is currently #8 in the RPI rankings, against the 8th toughest schedule. They dropped from #6 last week after pounding on (then #289) NC A&T last weekend. As I mentioned in the comments of the previous baseball entry, one of the A&T games getting rained out was probably very helpful RPI wise.
Pack9 has twelve games left, all conference games. Nine of those games are against teams in the top 15 of the current RPI (at #11 Clemson x3, at #2 Louisville x3, vs #13 Carolina x3).
Then there’s Duke. Currently #56, Duke’s RPI is on the cusp of being significant for our post-season resume. They climbed eight spots this week to get to #56, and aside from this weekend against us, we need Duke to do well the rest of the year and get themselves into the top 50 if at all possible (just playing us should keep them fairly steady as the RPI numbers go….and as a general rule, we need everyone we’ve already played to do well, other than Coastal Carolina…more on that below).
Records against the RPI top 50 are often significant when two or more teams’ resumes are otherwise similar. Currently, the Pack has the best record in the country vs the RPI top 50 (14-6).
So, what will it take to get a national seed? Hard to say for sure because it’s dependent upon what other teams do of course. But win the Duke, Clemson and Carolina series, and don’t get swept at Louisville, and don’t go 0-fer in our pod in the ACC Tourney….and I’d expect we’d have a shot at a national seed.
Counterpoint – As things stand now, Louisville, Miami, and FSU are very well positioned for national seeds. At the same time, the SEC has four other national seeds all but locked up presuming all of their top teams (Florida, SCar, aTm, Ole Miss, MissSt, Vandy) don’t go down the drain in the next month. Sadly, this means that the Pack REALLY needs to distinguish itself from here on out, as the committee is unlikely to give national seeds to only two conferences unless they have to. While they claim to not look at conference affiliation, that’s crap.
There are also the issues of pairing regionals geographically, but I won’t get into that. Just realize that if we’re in the RPI 7 or lower (higher?) range, and teams like SCar, Vandy or Coastal Carolina are ahead of us, we’re screwed.
FWIW….National seed refers to the top 8 seeds of the NCAA Tourney. A national seed will host both the regionals and also the super regionals…presuming they don’t screw the pooch in the regionals. It’s a way easier path to Omaha than going on the road. As far as hosting a regional (top 16), Pack is safely in that range currently and will have to screw up very badly to fall out. Which isn’t impossible, FWIW.
(please don’t say #NCStateShit)
But yeah, the next four weekends are huge for ’16 NCSU Baseball. You can be a hero….or you can be a zero.
Weekend Schedule vs Duke
- Friday 4/29, 6:30pm – ESPN3
- Saturday 4/30, 6:30pm
- Sunday 5/1, 1pm – ESPN3
|Schools||Conf W-L-T||Conf PCT||W-L-T||PCT|
|Schools||Conf W-L-T||Conf PCT||W-L-T||PCT|
Elsewhere in the ACC this weekend:
- FSU at Clemson (go Tiggs…now I feel sick)
- VT at BC (who cares?)
- UVa at Pitt (ditto)
- St John’s at ‘Ville (again…who cares?)
- Ohio U at ND (ibid)
- FLA A&M at Miami(sheesh)
- Coastal Carolina at GT (Go Jackets!!!)