Perfect Game also has the Razorbacks as the 2-seed in the Houston regional (hosted by UH, not Rice) with Maryland and Xavier as the 3- and 4-seeds.
College Baseball Daily has Arkansas as a 3-seed in the regional at Houston (not hosted by Rice, by UH). The 2-seed is TCU and the 4-seed is something called Canisius.
Baseball America didn't release updated projections this week, but did have a great breakdown of Arkansas' RPI situation and scheduling difficulties (including an interesting point at the bottom regarding Arkansas' refusal to play in-state teams). Here are some highlights:
Ten weeks into the season, the RPI says Arkansas (No. 51) is on the bubble, even though the Hogs have won series against SEC powers Alabama, South Carolina and Vanderbilt, and faced Florida, Mississippi State and LSU on the road without getting swept. Arkansas is 8-7 against the top 25 in the RPI, giving it the third-most top 25 wins of any team (behind only Florida and Kentucky). The Hogs are 10-10 against the top 50.
And the RPI says Indiana State (No. 21) is an NCAA tournament lock with a chance to host a regional, even though the Sycamores are just 1-2 against the top 25 and 2-4 against the top 50. High Point (No. 41) ranks 10 spots higher than Arkansas despite an 0-3 mark against the top 25 and a 1-7 record against the top 50. High Point is 23-16 overall; Arkansas is 25-16. But whose resume is more impressive?
Unlike most SEC and ACC powers, Arkansas even made a trip to the West Coast, where it faced San Francisco, California and Tulane. The Hogs played quality two-game midweek sets against UNLV and Nebraska. They played a three-game series against a South Alabama team that was a No. 2 seed in a regional last year. It’s not like the Hogs tried to load up with a soft nonconference schedule.
But because opponents’ winning percentage comprises 50 percent of the RPI formula, playing a few games against a team with a horrific winning percentage has a disproportionate impact on RPI. So Arkansas pays a huge price for playing five games against No. 295 Mississippi Valley State (3-29) and No. 300 Grambling State (12-26). As a result, Arkansas ranks 46th in strength of schedule. Remove the three games against MVSU, and its SOS jumps to sixth. Take away the two games against Grambling, and it jumps to No. 1.
For Arkansas, scheduling midweek games is particularly challenging because an inane school policy prohibits the Razorbacks from playing other in-state opponents like Central Arkansas and Arkansas State, and Northwest Arkansas is an expensive place to fly into.
"It’s hard for me to schedule midweek games," Hogs coach Dave Van Horn said. "Nobody calls us to play us—nobody. Grambling says they’ll come in Tuesday-Wednesday, well that’s the Tuesday-Wednesday I can’t get anybody to play me. So I’ll get some freshmen some innings—what are you going to do? You’re killing your RPI."
"INANE"?!?! Do they not understand it's UA's mission to make the state believe it's the only university in Arkansas? I mean, why would that not be obviously understood?
Really though, should Arkansas be willing to play in-state teams in baseball?
It absolutely would help the Razorbacks' RPI to play ASU (RPI #45) and UCA (#97) instead of Grambling and Mississippi Valley State. That's an issue football doesn't have to consider. There is no "Arkansas gains nothing by playing those teams" argument in baseball. If the Hogs played them instead of the SWAC teams, the Hogs may be in consideration to host a regional instead of trying to win enough to earn a 2-seed.
We can argue about whether or not that's fair, but that's the way the system is set up.
Further, I understand there are a lot of complexities in scheduling with a lot of moving parts, but is it impossible to schedule games against regional teams that could easily make the trip? There are several schools in Oklahoma and Kansas that Arkansas has either played before and/or would be an easy bus trip.
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