Tuesday, May 11, 2010

An Impromptu Q&A

 

Auburn gears up for South Alabama tonight. The Jags coming off a narrow series defeat to South Alabama and as usual will be completely gee'd up for this game more than Auburn will. That's just the case. USA, UAB, Troy, and Jacksonville State. To beat Auburn or Alabama can really be something to hang your hat on.

Dexter Price gets the start tonight. I don't read much into that other than Dexter has been our midweek guy for the entire season. I don't see a situation where Pawlowski goes "Johnny Wholestaff" tonight.

On Sunday I dropped by the Weekly chat on The College Baseball Blog (which I highly recommend doing) and got a chance to ask Editor Brian Foley some Auburn-centric questions. I also posted some other Tiger centric thoughts:

 

  • AUPPL: What does Auburn need to do to host a Regional?
    • TheCBB: Coming into today, Auburn had an RPI of 16. They have four SEC teams ahead of them this weekend. Auburn needs to sweep Tennessee and then win their final series with Ole Miss to solidify a host spot for the 2010 NCAA Tourney.

Auburn is a in a bit of a logjam now. With Vanderbilt's win it pushed the 'Dores over Auburn in Boyd's RPI. Auburn is 17 in Boyd and 14 in WarrenNolan as of Tuesday. Before Auburn fans start crowing about South Carolina having a lower RPI but seemingly a lock to host a regional; the committee looks at more than just RPI (SOS, Quality Wins, Streaks, Record, etc).

 

  • AUPPL: Who do you think makes the SEC tournament as the 8th place team? UK, UT, or Alabama?
    • TheCBB: I think Kentucky has the best pitching out of those teams and grabbed a huge series victory over South Carolina today. If Alex Meyer is going to give them 7 innings with three runs, then the Wildcats are going to get it.

Just to have Tennessee in the conversation gives the Vols all the motivation they need this weekend. Auburn could use a sweep and UT will be hungry to steal the series and solidify a make or break weekend against Alabama the following.

 

  • AUPPL: Do you see any SEC team making the NCAA without making it to the SEC tournament? I can only remember 1 year that happened.
    • TheCBB: OK State last season made the NCAA Tourney after not making the Big 12 tourney.
      I think it is possible and I think the SEC is a stronger conference than the Big 12 was last year. If I was on the NCAA committee, I wouldn't let an NCAA team into the tourney if they didn't make the conference tourney unless it was very clear cut which I don't see it being this season. I rather see a Rhode Island type team then a 9th place SEC squad.

Probably the only team that could accomplish this would be Kentucky and it wouldn't be the first time the Cats have made the postseason without making a stop by Hoover. That whole conversation could be moot if UK gets their act together and pushes towards Hoover.

 

  • AUPPL: How many Sun Belt teams do you see as locks for the post season? Just South Alabama and Florida Atlantic or can MTSU/WKU etc sneak in as well
    • TheCBB: I think MTSU and WKU are two dangerous squads in the Sun Belt. WKU played themselves onto the bubble after this weekend and needs to play well over the next three weekends.

Probably the only saving grace RPI wise for Auburn is going to come from the SunBelt. It sucks, but its true. If both USA and FAU can stay locked in the Top 50 it will bode well for Auburn.

 

  • AUPPL:What are 4 teams that could surprise everyone in the NCAA. Is UConn one just because of their name/lack of history?
    • Virginia Tech has the arms and according to a couple of people I have talked to, they have an unbelievable lineup.
      UConn is dangerous as they have the pitching rotation lined up and the bullpen members are all well slotted. The lineup also is solid as the last time I checked, they had 8 guys hitting about .300. If Kentucky gets into the tourney, the Wildcats have a rotation that is starting to get healthy now and have a quality lineup. I wouldn't want to face Florida Gulf Coast in Game 1 of my regional as you would have to face Chris Sale who would get my vote for Pitcher of the year right now!

I have to reiterate the statement about Florida Gulf Coast. The Eagles are dangerous and would likely be set up as a 4 seed just based on their conference. Any team that faces FGCU is going to have a battle to move on.

 

  • AUPPL: Is Dave Perno on the hotseat at UGA? Some fans were questioning his move to move Mike Palazzone to the bullpen today and elect to start Alex McCree. The Dogs got embarrassed by UT this weekend.
    • Georgia's season was over a long time ago, Maybe Perno was just trying to see what he will have next season. It has been a terrible season in Athens and I know many of the UGA fans are unhappy with him. I think next season is going to be make or break for the Dogs.

Dawgsports has more on the "Lost Season" and the coaching moves on Sunday. It's been terrible over in Athens all season and for them, May 23rd can't come soon enough.

 

  • AUPPL: Is Arizona State's coach still considered an "interim"? ... Any chance Auburn could be affected? I don't know if Pawlowski would leave but I remember him being rumored early in the year.
    • TheCBB: Yes, I expect them to do a full national search after the season is over...I don't know, I think Vanderbilt's Corbin is a more likely candidate but that is just throwing a name out there. ASU is one of the best jobs in the country so I would expect several big names to be involved.

When the season started Pawlowski's name was listed a potential candidate for the Sun Devils job. With the roll Auburn has been on, he's only going to be a hotter commodity. However, I would hope that after this year that CJP gets both a raise and some much needed job security.

 

  • tigerterrace: You said earlier that Auburn would have to sweep Tennessee and take two out of three from Ole Miss to host a regional. That would make them 20-10, and would probably win the West unless Arkansas went 5-1 over their last six. So do they have to win the West to host?
    • TheCBB: If that is what will happen, then yes. Auburn is 16th in the RPI but a series victory over Ole Miss would make me much more confident in them being a host.

 

  • Bill: I saw that Auburn offense this weekend. You can say what you want about the strikeouts and the homeruns, but they are hitting .350 AS A TEAM in the SEC. Every starter is over .315. May be the best collection of offensive talent in the country. Scary good. Who is better?
    • TheCBB: I can't think of many others. Fletcher and Morris are college studs. Morris projects better at the next level with a better swing.

  • AUPPL: Does Hunter Morris have a shot as an All-American?
    • Yes, he might be my selection right now for first base as he is hitting .400 with 17 homers and 62 RBI.

If Hunter makes the All-American team, he will be the first Tiger since 2003 (Steven Register). Morris was a PreSeason pick and his performance this year (to me at least) only solidifies that.

You can read the entire chat over at The College Baseball Blog.

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