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Touching’ em all—Tar Heels making case for #1

North Carolina moved their winning streak over the weekend to six, with a sweep over rival Clemson.   The Tar Heels needed two late come from behind rallies to topple the Tigers.   The Wins moved the Tar Heels to 37-9 on the season and to #3 in the polls.   I fully expect the Heels to reach the 45 win plateau by seasons end.   A soft schedule down the stretch, has me calling for a heated battle for the top spot and overall #1 national seed.   Oregon State and Louisville will make it an interesting battle, as the season winds down.   The biggest news from the weekend came when Bradley Haslam of Air Force had his 44 game hitting streak snapped, when he went 0-4 at the plate.   His hitting streak was sixth best in NCAA history!


The Rating Percentage Index, commonly known as the RPI, is a quantity used to rank sports teams based upon a team’s wins and losses and its strength of schedule.    It is one of the sports rating systems by which NCAA basketball, hockey, lacrosse, baseball, softball and soccer teams are ranked.    The index comprises a team’s winning percentage (25%), its opponents’ winning percentage (50%), and the winning percentage of those opponents’ opponents (25%). The opponents’ winning percentage and the winning percentage of those opponents’ opponents both comprise the strength of schedule (SOS). Thus, the SOS accounts for 75% of the RPI calculation and is 2/3 its opponents’ winning percentage and 1/3 its opponents’ opponents’ winning percentages.   For baseball, bonus points are awarded for beating top-75 non-conference opponents on the road and penalty points are given for losing to bottom-75 non-conference opponents at home. Bonuses and penalties are on a sliding scale, separated into groups of 25, with the top bonus for a road win against a top-25 team and the worst penalty for a home loss to a bottom-25 opponent.   The RPI will play a huge factor in determining who the top eight national seeds will be.   It will also play a big part in the selection committee’s decision on who makes up the initial 64 teams to reach post-season play.


Clemson fell to number eight in the latest poll after being swept by North Carolina.   The Tigers will look to regroup this weekend with a non-conference home series with Nevada.   Louisville pushed their winning streak to eight games with a weekend sweep over Toledo.   The Cardinals have a challenging schedule ahead.   They close the season with games against Clemson and Florida State, and non-conference tilts with both Indiana and Vanderbilt.   A strong showing could vault the Cardinals to the top of the RPI.   Three weeks remain in the regular season and its do or die for the following teams.   Miami and North Carolina State will need strong finishes to make the field of 64.   This weeks series to watch will be Boston College traveling to take on the Demon Deacons of Wake Forest who moved to #21 in the latest poll.


Maryland saw their seven game winning streak snapped at Indiana.   The Hoosiers took two of three from the front running Terrapins.   The losses dropped Maryland out of the top 25.   Michigan remained at #17 taking their series versus Rutgers.   Purdue stretched their current  win streak to seven games with three non-conference wins last week.   The Boilermakers at 25-18 could have an outside shot for post-season play, if they continue there hot play.   I think eight teams still have a shot to make the tournament.   This weekends key series to watch will take place at Michigan State, where the Spartans will host Iowa.   The loser of this series will likely kiss playoff hopes goodbye.


The highly anticipated series between Texas Tech and TCU, went to the Red Raiders.   The Raiders blasted the Frogs in the series finale 21-3.   Everyone in the starting lineup had at least one hit and run scored in the victory.   Leadoff hitter Grant Little was 3 for 6 with a home run and five RBI’s.   Tech moved to #8 in the poll and #5 in the RPI.   I told you a few weeks ago to watch out for the Longhorns of Texas.   They moved into the top 25 over the weekend taking two from Oklahoma State.   The Horns have now won seven of their last eight.   The Horns travel to TCU this weekend in what will be a must watch series.   All three games will be televised by ESPN.


The Beavers just continue to roll through PAC 12 play.   USC was the latest victim over the weekend falling twice to the Beavers.   Oregon State continued their onslaught Tuesday night with a 4-1 win over Oregon.   The Beavers called on sophomore Jordan Britton, who combined with Brandon Eisert to limit the Ducks to two hits on the night.   The Beavers have what I think is the top pitching staff in the country.   It’s a mystery as to what has happened over the last two weeks to Arizona.   They have now dropped six straight in conference play after getting swept by Stanford.   The Cardinal meanwhile moved to #14 in the top 25.   Will the real Utah team please step forward.   The Utes returned home after sweeping Arizona, only to drop two of three from the last place Washington State Cougars.   The Utes saw their RPI fall from 34 to 52.   This weeks key series will be Washington, traveling to Arizona.   The Huskies will look to improve on their 10-8 conference mark, while the Wildcats look to right the ship.


I can’t say enough about both Auburn and Kentucky.   Both teams continued to flex their muscles over the weekend with impressive series wins on the road!   The Wildcats now lead the SEC East with a 14-7 mark.   After starting the season 0-4 that included a sweep at the hands of North Carolina, they have moved to #6 in the polls with an RPI of 3.   Kentucky will now play eight straight home games, before a final series with Florida which should decide the SEC East.   Auburn’s run through the SEC West is equally impressive.   Mississippi State was the latest victim, falling twice, leaving both squads tied at 14-7.   I also want to give high props to Texas A & M and Florida who both have five game winning streaks.    This weeks featured series will see Mississippi State travel to College Station.    The 10th ranked Bulldogs currently have a one game lead over the 19th ranked Aggies in the SEC West.

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