Good news: LSU took the series from South Carolina, won the SEC West and the SEC regular season title, locked up the #1 seed in Hoover, and all but guaranteed the #1 national seed spot in the NCAA tournament.
Bad news: This is the last edition of And The Valley Projects.
The National Seeds
LSU, UCLA, Illinois, Louisville, USC, Texas A&M, Florida, Miami (FL)
Let me preface this by saying I hate, absolutely hate, loathe, and am utterly disgusted that the Pac-12 doesn't have a conference tournament. You're literally the only ones guys. Stop being hippies and get with the program.
LSU (46-9) of course had the terrible implosion Thursday night where they turned a 6-2 lead into a 10-6 defecit over 2 innings. But after that game LSU just turned and burned the Gamecocks to the tune of 9-2 and 8-1 to close the book on the best regular season in the nation. Chris Chinea led the assault with 6 hits over the weekend, including 2 dingers.
Chris Chinea getting hit with a baseball in the chin is the best superhero origin story ever.— Adam Box Stadium (@AdamATVS) May 17, 2015
UCLA (40-12) swept Arizona and is going to have the largest target on their back at the Pac-12 Tour-OH WAIT.
Illinois (45-6) -WWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW.
Louisville (42-14) took 2 of 3 against NC State, who came into the series hoping to take 2 of 3 from the Cardinals in order to help position themselves outside of the "Last Four Out" mud pit.
USC (35-17) has a series to be decided against Cal because the Pac 12 is stupid.
Texas A&M (43-10) split a rain shortened 2 game set with Ole Miss, and honestly they're lucky Mothern Nature intervened. The Aggies are in a flatspin heading into Hoover, going 1-3-1 in their last 5 series after the dominating 24 game win streak to start the year. It's probably for the best that the Aggies get a a break to troubleshoot what's gone so wrong for them.
Florida (40-15) did the same thing Louisville did, take 2 of 3 from a team that desperately needed a series win. In this case, it was Auburn.
Miami University of Miami (MIA) (41-13) beat their way into the Top 8, dropping 42 (!) runs on the North Avenue Trade School For Socially Awkward But Affluent Boys. Highlights can be found here:
TCU, Dallas Baptist, Oklahoma State, UC Santa Barbara*, Nevada, Arizona State, Florida State, Vanderbilt
TCU (43-9) swept Oklahoma and really just is on a crash course to meet Oklahoma State for the Big 12 crown, because outside of those 2 teams, the Big 12 is unbelievably thin. The Cowboys took their regular season meeting in late March 2-1. Speaking of, the Pokes (34-17) played Michigan for...reasons and took 2 of 3 from the Wolverines.
Dallas Baptist (41-11) holds onto to the #1 RPI after taking the season finale from Wichita State. Dallas Baptist may not win the Missouri Valley tournament (hello, Missouri State!) but frankly, they don't need to. The Patriots can move into a national seed slot if Florida, Miami, or A&M goes 0-2, but really I think the committee will hold their small school status against them in that regard - Horner Stadium only seats about 2,000.
UC Santa Barbara (39-13) swept UC Irvine to correct for their slip up last week against Fullerton and look to win the Big West title and tournament this week. LOL JK the Big West doesn't have a tournament. You know what, screw it, I'm just going to imagine all the west coast conferences have a tournament to decide their champions. Like every other conference. Because
Because UCSB are a bunch of flower children who don't have lights at their field, Iowa City physically hosts the regional, but Iowa is the 2 seed. It's dumb, I agree.
Nevada (41-13) continues to be subjected to gross oppression by D1 Baseball dot com, who had them as a THREE SEED in their projections. 40+ regular season wins, 43 RPI, .314 batting average, 53 (!) home runs, 246 runs allowed (209 earned), .975 fielding percentage, and they're still viewed as a 3 seed to some. I'll champion for the Wolfpack until they're either eliminated or win the whole damn thing.
Arizona State (32-19) won 2 of 3 from Washington State and could upset the apple cart in the Pac oh whatever I'm not doing this anymore. You're garbage, Pac-12.
Florida State (37-19) got swept by Clemson and it really caught just about everybody off guard. This is the Seminole's second dropped series in a row (although losing to llvll is understandable).
Vanderbilt (39-17) dropped the series finale to Alabama, which allowed LSU to win the SEC regular season championship before they whipped up on South Carolina.
The Rest Of The Field
Hey look, Southeastern and Tulane in the Baton Rouge regional. That will be fun. This is fun. I'm glad I did that.
Virginia (33-19) is nowhere near as good as they were last year, but the fact that they're a 3 seed is enough for me to call the Iowa City/Santa Barbara regional the Regional Of Death Of The Week™.
Also, I pulled the trigger on an all-Florida regional, setting a potential Florida-Florida State Super Regional and shut up you know you want it too.
Last 4 In: UNC Wilmington (36-16, 44 RPI), Ohio University of Ohio (OH) (32-19, 139 RPI), Auburn (34-22, 23 RPI), Virginia (33-19, 19 RPI)
First 4 Out: NC State (31-20, 40 RPI), Ole Miss (30-25, 24 RPI), Cal State Fullerton (30-22, 31 RPI), Southern Miss (35-16-1, 46 RPI)
Projecting What We Know
We know what the field for
every conference tournament every conference with a tournament looks like, so I've taken the liberty of filling out my bracket for the power 5 conferences, March Madness style (May Madness?). The problem is, the Pac 12 obviously doesn't have a tournament and the ACC employs a silly pool play system. Just like soccer #awaygoals! (NOTE: Having a pool play tournament is still having a tournament.)
For the most part it's pretty chalk (hey Maryland!) but most of the time conference tournaments are chalk. I'm confident LSU can ride Taco Bell Anderson to a win Tuesday over Kentucky/Auburn, Poche and the offense can scrape up enough to get by Florida, and Lange burying Arkansas, but that final game I can't see anybody on the mound who can stop Vanderbilt. Bain can buy us 4 or 5 innings, but we can't rely on him to go 7 or 8 like we can Lange. Hopefully I'm proved wrong and we finally nail down our game 3 starter and the bullpen doesn't implode anymore than it already has.
Projections Within A Projection
Remember, the seedings up top are about a team's overall body of work for the whole season, and this was "if I was a gambling man...".
That's it for the projections, thank you for reading my psychobabble since March. When the field is announced I'll have something else up, a "compare and see how horribly wrong I was and how big of an idiot I am" type deal.