Regional Radar (April 13)
Once we reach the halfway point of the season, the Regional Projections are going to come flooding in. Where does Auburn stand as the Tigers head to LSU this weekend?
|SITE||HOST||Seed 2||Seed 3||Seed 4||Location|
|ESPN||UVA||AUBURN||UConn||J. Madison||Charlottesville, VA|
|SEBaseball||Ga Tech||AUBURN||Louisville||Wright St||Atlanta, GA|
At the time of writing, Perfect Game hadn’t released their projections yet. Also, I’m taking the College Baseball Daily projections with a grain of salt. Not only were they the ONLY group to exclude Auburn, they also still have Clemson hosting AND have a regional consisting of Southern Miss, Troy, Texas Tech, and Jacksonville State, which I don’t think the NCAA would even dream about doing. Still, they spend more time covering college baseball than I do and are entitled to their opinions.
Not all sites will rank and actually seed the teams, some will just list a “Who’s In” and “Who’s Out” such as College Baseball Insider who says:
Auburn (5-7, 18-14, RPI 16) and Georgia (8-4, 18-15, RPI 17) both need to keep their overall record above .500 to get in the field.
Or one of the best judges, Baseball America who says this about the Tigers:
Auburn is also on the bubble, with an 18-14 overall mark, but the Tigers helped their cause with a sweep of Kentucky last week, so they stay in our field. We're keeping LSU (just 3-9 in the SEC) out of the bubble category by a thread, based almost solely on its series sweep of Cal State Fullerton. But this weekend's LSU-Auburn series is huge.
At this point, with the SEC being a jumble and the high RPI, the SEC is being mentioned as a 10 bid league, something that has never happened before. I’d have to double check, but I think the most the league has ever received has been 9 bids. 10 bids would be very interesting. Still, I think the race will shake itself and the SEC will stay as a normal 8 bid league.
Arizona State is an interesting case and it should affect the SEC laterally. The Sun Devils are currently in position to host, but the NCAA has yet to rule on their Postseason ban and the ruling may not come until after the bids are announced.
Auburn is on the cusp. The Tigers have a high RPI but really have very little room for error. We’ve got the RPI to get in, but the record has to be there. There’s a ton of baseball to be played and Auburn has a lot of business to take care of. Can we host? VERY doubtful, but after the sweep at State, that should be the last thing in Auburn’s mind. The goal right now is making it to Hoover and then the NCAA will take care of itself. You can tell Auburn is on the cusp just by the seedings released by ESPN and SEBaseball. Yes, the Tigers are a 2 seed in both, but they are traveling to two tough regionals with solid Big East foes as openers.
The number that desperately needs to improve (or at least get to .500) is Auburn’s record against RPI Top 50 Competition. Boyd releases an RPI Needs report, and since Auburn’s RPI is so high right now, there isn’t a whole lot of direction the Tigers can move. To get in the Top 8 (according to Boyd) Auburn would need to go 22-2 down the stretch, to stay in the Top 16 (17-7), Top 32 (11-13), and Top 45 (7-17). Basically, Auburn’s could easily slide down, but it’s very tough for the Tigers to move up.
|vs RPI 1-50 (Nolan)||5-11|
|vs RPI 51-100||4-0|
|vs RPI 101-200||8-3|
|vs RPI 201+||1-0|
|Bad Losses||Radford (126), Jax St (108), Bethune (147)|
|Key Wins||Arkansas (12), Alabama (32), Arizona State (7), Troy (25)|
|Nolan Strength of Schedule||2|
So what’s the remainder of the Schedule look like for Auburn? Well, for starters each of the SEC series have big RPI consequences. LSU (28), Ole Miss (34), South Carolina (5), Georgia (16), and Alabama (32). Tennessee is the only team on the outside looking in with their RPI of 79. Let’s say, Hypothetically, that Auburn takes a series from LSU and Ole Miss, then Auburn’s record against RPI Top 50 would swing to 9-13. If they take a game from Carolina? 10-14. Series from Georgia? 12-15. Series from Alabama? 14-16. All of that is best case scenario.
Another team for Auburn to watch out for is Samford. The Bulldogs are currently 66 in the Nolan RPI. If they can improve their standing and jump into the RPI top 50, it would help Auburn’s record. Same goes for UAB (62) and College of Charleston (56).
Bottom Line, Auburn has to take care of their own business first. Just get to Hoover, the rest falls in to place.