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NCAA Baseball Tournament Bubble Watch

With Selection Monday less than a week away, check out where the Hoos stand

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-North Carolina vs Oregon State Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Over the weekend, Virginia Cavaliers Baseballneeded—and got—a series win over Virginia Tech, raising their RPI from 45 to 41. More importantly, they got their conference record closer to .500 at 14 wins and 16 losses. While a losing record in conference play isn’t ideal, an at-large berth isn’t by any means out of the question. In fact, with the ACC being arguably the second best conference in the country, there is precedent for the conference’s teams getting at-large nods with losing conference records. In fact, in the last ten years, seven ACC teams have made the tournament with a losing conference record including four in 2016. And like 2016, this season features a strong middle of the ACC as well as weak bubble teams from across the country to compete with.

So, who out there will be sweating Memorial Day along with the Cavaliers? Not only did Virginia hold up their end of the bargain last weekend in Blacksburg, they also got some help. UCF took a series from Houston while Southern Miss dropped a three game set to UAB (RPI 129). Last week, we took a look at some of the teams in Virginia’s bubble range and this week we’re expanding that view to 16 teams who make up spots 35-50 in my rankings with the top 46 earning an at-large bid. The teams are sorted based on my ranking.

Bubble Watch - May 22nd

STL Rank Team Conference Overall Conference Rec RPI Top 50 W-L Top 50-100 W-L Bad Losses Good Series Wins
STL Rank Team Conference Overall Conference Rec RPI Top 50 W-L Top 50-100 W-L Bad Losses Good Series Wins
1 Illinois State Missouri Valley 32-22 14-7 29 4-12 7-3 7 None
2 Clemson ACC 33-23 15-15 43 7-10 13-10 4 vs. UNC, vs. Louisville
3 Oklahoma Big 12 33-21 11-13 36 4-11 14-5 5 None
4 Duke ACC 30-24 15-15 44 9-12 7-8 4 @Clemson, @Virginia
5 Florida State ACC 35-21 17-13 55 8-11 8-8 2 vs. Clemson, @Virginia
6 Virginia ACC 32-22 14-16 41 7-13 9-7 2 vs. Louisville
7 Fresno State Mountain West 35-14-1 20-8-1 38 1-3 7-4 7 None
8 BYU West Coast 36-15 19-8 39 0-2 12-8 5 None
9 UCF American Athletic 34-20 11-13 48 7-9 9-6 6 vs. Houston
10 Michigan Big Ten 38-16 16-7 46 4-10 5-2 4 None
11 FAU Conference USA 37-18 22-8 37 3-6 4-6 6 @Southern Miss
12 Houston American Athletic 32-22 12-12 42 8-11 8-2 10 @Dallas Baptist, vs. Arizona
13 Arizona Pac-12 29-24 12-14 47 3-16 12-2 6 None
14 Texas State Sun Belt 36-18 20-10 45 4-4 6-4 10 None
15 VCU Atlantic 10 39-17 19-5 53 3-5 1-7 5 None
16 UC Irvine Big West 34-16 15-6 50 0-5 7-6 5 None

Based on this ranking, Virginia shouldn’t have anything to be worried about, especially considering their biggest black eye is a 14-16 conference record. However, Oklahoma, UCF, and Arizona all boast losing records in conferences not up to the quality of the ACC, Virginia’s shiner may not be as prominent as you’d expect.

Outside of rooting for the teams on this list to lose, we also need to keep an eye on teams from one-bid leagues. Currently, there are 24 conferences that will only send one team to the NCAA tournament. Of those 24, six are currently being led by teams who have an at-large quality resume. We’re rooting for those six teams. So, if you’ve got some extra time this weekend, here’s your rooting guide for conference tournaments around the country.

Big West - UC Santa Barbara
Big East - Creighton
West Coast - BYU
Sun Belt - Texas State
Mountain West - Fresno State
Conference USA - FAU

In years past, the baseball selection committee has done some very strange things and they seem to be a little more unpredictable than the basketball committee. All that said, Virginia controls their own destiny this week. Obviously, if they win the whole thing, they’re in. But even without a championship, their prospects still look good. Given the other teams around them here’s how I see the week

Virginia goes 2-0 (in Pool Play): They’re in no questions asked
Virginia goes 1-1: They’re in, but one of the last teams in
Virginia goes 0-2: They’re sweating bid thieves

It all starts tonight at 7:00 p.m. when they take on North Carolina.