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Tournament Decisions “More An Art Than A Science,” Claims Weiser

This year’s NCAA Baseball Tournament Committee had some difficult decisions to make when it came to picking the 64 teams that would continue their seasons. Given some close and controversial choices, committee chair and Big 12 deputy commissioner Tim Weiser had some explaining to do on the post-bracket announcement media conference call on Monday afternoon.

“If it were just a factor of RPI, my committee wouldn’t need to spend our holiday weekend in Indianapolis,” said Weiser in response to many media questions about the inclusion of St. Johns and the exclusion of LSU, who finished #9 in the strong SEC.

St. John’s snuck in as the #3 seed in the Charlottesville, Virginia regional. “St. John’s finished second in the Big East to a very good UConn team, who won their conference tournament. Is a #2 finish in the Big East more important than a #9 finish in the SEC? The committee had a very lively debate on that in the end, but once they received 7 of 10 on that blind ballot, they were in.

“This is more an art than a science. There is a lot of discussion,” stressed Weiser. He went on to explain that the schedule of some Northern teams, like St. John’s, is considered differently, given how many games they must play on the road early on.

Another point the committee looked at was “the availability of our student-athletes” – NCAA code for weighing what teams are facing injuries to their most key players. At the crux of this committee discussion was Big 12 Tournament Champion Texas A&M, who recently lost number one pitcher John Stilson to a torn labrum. Texas A&M will still host a regional, but wasn’t as highly ranked as some fans and media members expected.

Weiser said Texas A&M’s placement wasn’t all about the injury, but that it may have swayed the decision for some members of his committee. “What we had to go with was in that final weekend in Big 12 play, Texas took 2 games from A&M. We had those kind of discussions already as a committee, and then we were informed about that injury (to Stilson.) Some members of the committee, when we heard about that injury, that was the final piece of the puzzle for them.”

The committee considered 110 teams for the 64 tournament spots, a five team increase over last year. There were 22 teams in contention for the 16 top seeds, and nine of those 16 top seeds were unanimous decision, though Weiser would not divulge who those unanimous teams were. In order to make the field, any team needs seven of ten votes from the committee.

Weiser did acknowledge that the team had to sleep on their decisions, and assembled early Monday morning to make a few final choices. Though he wouldn’t come out and name the teams who were being toiled over in the end, Weiser did mention that teams such as Elon, Oregon and Stony Brook were hanging around for discussion late in the game.

The committee also had some independents to consider in Dallas Baptist and Cal State Bakerfield. Weiser mentioned that both teams have difficulty finding quality weekend games, and thus are able to start their star pitchers in games during the week, allowing them to beat strong teams. “In the case of Dallas Baptist, that was as meaningful to our group as anything,” explained Weiser. “They beat A&M, they had a good schedule, and had success against the Big 12 teams.” Dallas Baptist ended up as a #3 seed in the Fort Worth regional.

As for the number one overall seed, Virginia, Weiser acknowledged that they were clearly the class of the field for that spot. “When you look at Virginia through the course of the season, there really isn’t anyone else who has had that much success throughout the season. Brian O’Connor has done an outstanding job. They lost some games late to North Carolina, but that wasn’t enough to offset what they did in the other 53 games.”

  • Jmcglone

    If the argument is to give a second or third place team in a conference a leg up on a eighth or ninth place sec team then why not wichita state over top of st.john’s, wichita state was 7-3 against top 5- rpi , st. john’s was 1-6, and the missouri valley conference was the seventh rated rpi conference the big east the 13th rated rpi conference?u00a0 It seems to me like the only reason to include st. john’s is to try to spread the sport to the northeast because of market potential, three big east teams every year no matter what.

    • what up squid

      Elon was their conference champ.u00a0 Some reward should be based on winning a conference champ in a conf that has a very good track record. u00a0 Dallas Baptist should have to be in a conf so they cant play cupcakes on the weekends.u00a0 Huge joke that St Johns made it over LSU or Elon.u00a0 RPI should mean more than it does

  • ethanspapa

    Lets face it Michigan was 36 and 20 and they got shut out to. So didn’t LSU and they had a ton of wins but finished 9th in there conference.nu00a0Although is it the best base ball teams in a region or the best teams period . No one up north would watch the sport . the southeast the south the southwest and the west coast is where all the power is mainly because of the weatheru00a0

  • Jmcglone

    Ethan I don’t have a problem including teams up north, I’m not defending the sec, but why not include Wichita State instead of St. John’s, they finished in the exact same position the the MVC as St. John’s in the Big East in the 7th best RPI conference as opposed to the 13th rated RPI conference, also had a much better record against top 50 RPI teams then St.John’s.

  • Jmcglone

    The biggest problem I have with RPI in baseball is you can be swept by a Florida or a Vanderbilt and still come out of the weekend with a top 50 RPI.u00a0 I think more emphasis should be placed on teams not being swept, as I think not finding a way to win one game out of three is inexcusable no matter who you’re playing.u00a0 Winning a regular season or tournament title should get you in, simply because it makes the regular season more important and interesting.u00a0 I agree with you somewhat about Elon even though the Southern Conference was not as good season this as last, conference RPI 15th, but not LSU, they were swept multiple times in the their conference and didn’t win enough conference games.u00a0 Wichita State was 2nd regular season and post season in the Missouri Valley, which was the 7th rated RPI conference, they were also 7-3, I believe, against the RPI top 50.u00a0 And remember Squid if we want to see the sport grow somebody outside of the southeast has to be involved in the post season, like Ethan said.u00a0 One more thing I don’t hear any more whining about east coast bias, I mean, Arizona State is swept by Oregon State and UCLA, the best the Pac 10 has to offer, and is a national seed, that is ridiculous

    • what up squid

      Oh I couldnt agree with you more jmcglone.u00a0 Im an Elon guy and the SEC gets to much love.u00a0 Reg season champs deserve a spot