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And The Valley Projects: 3-21-18

Every time I think I’m out, they pull me back in

Hello reader. This is you Chief Projectionist Adam Henderson signing on.

I know we said our goodbyes last season because I didn’t know how things were going to shake out with a new job and time constraints, but I think I’ve been able to carve out enough time to dedicate to my one true love, wrongly projection the NCAA Baseball Tournament projections. Although there is a caveat: these posts will stop being as long-winded and more to the point. I’ll post them and briefly explain the field in general, but I won’t go into detail about each and every of the 64 teams. Please hold your applause.

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The National Seeds The Top 8 Seeds

Oregon State, Clemson, Auburn, Stanford, Texas Tech, North Carolina, Ole Miss, NC State

Okay, let’s get this squared away off the bat (puns!): right now, we’re at a weird place where we have meaningful numbers on each and every team, but we don’t have enough data to go solely off of RPI. So for now projections are mostly RPI-based, but the infamous Eye Test plays a part of everything. As the season wears on and we turn the calendar from March to April, then we’ll start to phase the non-quantifiable Eye Test out of machine and deal strictly in #facts.

Going hand in hand with that, as of now these are more “if the season ended today...” than they are honest to god projections. As we go along with the season, the projections will become more like...projections. Which now that I think about it is a misleading name because are projections in the last week of the season really projections? makes u think. Oh well, we’ve come too far to change it now.

I feel like the Top 5 here are really solid teams and I’ll bank on them hanging out in the Top 8 for the rest of the season, especially if Casey Mize keeps doing absurd things for Auburn. North Carolina, Ole Miss, and NC State have a lot to prove to me, but then again so do Arkansas and Florida. Hey, speaking of!

The Hosts

Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Florida State, Indiana, Wichita State, FAU, Creighton

Okay, I know what you’re thinking, and I’ll get to in a hot second. But real quick, if you don’t know, the NCAA switched to seeding teams 1-16 instead of 1-8 and the pairing regionals this season, which simultaneously makes my job easier and less fun. So the matchups are rigid, and we’ll start seeing regionals hosted by teams in the same conference, which I personally hate.

Okay: now onto the big parts: Yes, Arkansas and Florida are not “national seeds”. But they are right there, especially Arkansas. The USC series win for the Hogs is huge, but beating Texas in a midweek series doesn’t give you the same mileage as it used to. Beating Kentucky put them right there, but their two losses in San Diego put them on the wrong side of the line for now. Make no mistake, if they continue this current trend they will be shooting straight to the top. And hey speaking of Florida, that’s who the Razorbacks play this weekend! Really, on paper Florida’s record is great, but watching their series with UCF, Miami (FL), and Rhode Island left a lot to be desired in my mind. I don’t know if they’re just going through the motions with a championship hangover, but I haven’t seen the domination I’ve been expecting.

At the end of the Back 8 we have an unusual number of smaller schools: Wichita State, FAU, and Creighton. I don’t know what other to tell you than the numbers right now really like these teams. Think of this as an example of why you should probably never dive headfirst into the number pool without seeing how deep it is. Will these teams show an on-field product in the backhalf that reflects their numbers? MAYBE. YOU DON’T KNOW. For now we’ll acknowledge these and their good starts to the season. Look at em go.

But What About The Tigahs?

I feel like a two seed is the perfect place right now for LSU. They haven’t been crashing through the floor, but they also haven’t been scraping the ceiling. Zack Hess, Friday Night Starter and Ma’Khail Hilliard have been pleasant surprises, but Caleb Gilbert hasn’t been as successful in his experiment and moving the best arms from the bullpen to the rotation have left it lacking. Labas and Storz are finally getting involved could solve all of LSU’s pitching holes but we haven’t seen them in expanded roles yet.

Austin Bain and the Jordans (oh you love them? name three of their albums) have brought the lumber offensively, but Antoine Duplantis has largely been absent. Injuries to Josh Smith and Zach Watson hurt, and it doesn’t help that Nick Webre and Daniel Cabrera have scuffled and failed to live up to their post-fall ball and scrimmage hype. But with Watson and Smith back in the lineup and producing along with a filled out rotation, things can change on a dime for LSU.

Regional Of Death Of The Week

Bloomington Regional: Indiana, Vanderbilt, Oregon, VCU

Any regional that has Vanderbilt in as two seed is an automatic qualifier for RODOTW. Also kicking around is Oregon, who may be trending down for now but is always down to scrap and suck all the air out of the game. This may also be the most small-ball regional in the field, which always make me want death. Also: VCU.

We do this every week until conference tournament week starts, usually in the middle of the week. We only have one rule here, and it’s one rule we strictly abide by. That rule is: