Friday, May 17, 2013

Clemson Hosting a Regional?

This time last week Clemson was preparing for a weekend set with Georgia Southern as one of 20+ teams with a hand on of the 16 regional bids, hoping they could keep they could outlast the others. This week, Clemson appears to have a firm grip on a bid and is looking to improve its position. That’s what one week and five straight wins can do for you in college baseball.

The resume for a National Seed is still thin, but what was thought to be impossible can at least be discussed. We stated Clemson needed to get its win total near 44 and a Top 10 RPI. They are currently 39-15, with a minimum of five games to go, and have the 11th ranked RPI. This means to have a legitimate shot as a National Seed, they need to snag an additional 5 wins. There appears to be only two options to get there: 1) Finish the sweep of FSU & win at least three games in the ACC Tourney, or 2) Win the series against FSU & then sweep their way through the ACC Tourney.

Neither option is pretty. Neither option will be easy. But, with this team and pitching staff, all options are open.

In regards to becoming a regional host, we established UVA & UNC are National Seed locks, which leaves two guaranteed regional bids available for Clemson, FSU, & NC State to fight over. FSU was the front runner based on polls, record, & RPI, with Clemson & NC State in a near deadlock for the fourth. With Clemson pulling ahead of NC State in the standings, pulling closer in the polls & RPI, and winning the season series, it looks like they would get the guaranteed fourth slot.

Using historical data, we established Clemson needed a Top 15 (Top 12 preferred) RPI & 40 wins (42 preferred) to lock down a bid. The Top 12 RPI appears guaranteed (even two losses to a Top 8 team shouldn’t hurt their rating) and they only need one more win to reach 40.

It would behoove Clemson to go ahead and grab that 40th win this weekend in Tallahassee to remove any excess pressure from the ACC Tourney, which has not been kind to the Tigers. They are just 8-10 since the round-robin format was introduced in 2007, with no Championship Game appearances. In addition, this year’s tournament could be on the deepest ever, with Miami & Georgia Tech lurking as the 7 & 8 seeds.

Expect Clemson to win the series in Tallahassee to get to 40 wins, play well in the ACC Tourney, but be perfectly content to watch the title game back in Clemson as they prepare to host three other teams. And I still expect Clemson to be paired with either an Oregon based team or LSU.

Regardless of what happens, know these Tigers have fought hard, improved tremendously, and deserve every win and accolade they receive. Hopefully they can celebrate with the locals and the Cajun Café.

Go Tigers!

To see previous articles regarding Clemson becoming a regional host, see below:

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