Virginia’s baseball team returns to the diamond tonight after a grueling 10 day layoff for final exams.
The Cavaliers’ foe, Miami, enters the weekend on the outside of the NCAA tournament looking in according to most college baseball experts. Although the Canes are 12-11 and currently in 3rd in the Coastal, and 6th overall, their 24-24 record is not vintage Hurricanes. Thus far, Miami has not won a series against a legitimate NCAA regional candidate, and with UVa the last possibility on their schedule, they’d have to win this weekend to have a hope. They look to have a chance in the ACC Tournament to rack up some more quality wins, but a No. 74 RPI is going to need a serious jolt for the Canes to make another at-large NCAA Tournament appearance.
The last time Miami did not make the NCAA Tournament? 1972.
The Hoos on the other hand are looking pretty. Their run of 13 straight tournament appearances is all but assured of reaching 14 in 2017. If Rice, who has seen struggles this year like Miami, also misses out on postseason baseball, the Cavaliers would be one of just three teams to make the last 14 tournaments.
After starting ACC play 2-4 and losing three of the first four series they played, the Cavaliers have rebounded nicely with a 9-3 record since. On the way, the Cavaliers clinched another ACC tournament appearance. Although a Coastal title appears lost, a 14-10 record currently puts them at 5th overall, just a game behind Wake Forest and two behind Clemson.
Most projections, including D1Baseball’s most recent, have Virginia hosting their 7th NCAA Regional of the past 8 years, and 10th since Coach O’Connor took over the program in 2004.
Barring a meltdown, UVa’s No. 9 RPI will lock them into a Regional Host. Although not impossible, a National Seed looks like a longshot. The RPI likely won’t improve too much over the coming week+ since both Miami and Georgia Tech have RPIs above 50 and neither appear to be at large NCAA Tournament teams. Boyd’s World, a site dedicated to college baseball stats, predicts Uva would have to win out just to have a chance at a Top 8 RPI.
With no more weekends off, the run to Omaha truly begins this weekend against a desperate Miami team at Davenport.