April 25th, 2019
Weekend Eleven preview
With just four weekends left in the regular season, time is running out for teams to make their moves. We're previewing all of the games that you should be watching this weekend!
Who will win the Big XII?
The Big XII title is still wide open as all nine teams are within five games of first place. The top spot is on the line this weekend as #21 Oklahoma State travels to #17 Texas Tech. The first-place Cowboys currently sit just two games ahead of the third-place Red Raiders who are coming off an impressive series win against Baylor. The Bears, currently in second place, look to get back on track as #22 Baylor is at TCU this weekend. With an RPI of 75, and a .500 conference record, the Horned Frogs are currently on the wrong side of the bubble and face a potential must-win series. TCU still has road series against West Virginia and Texas Tech, so the Horned Frogs need to defend home field. Meanwhile, at only a half game out of first place, Baylor is in position to take the lead in the Big XII should Oklahoma State falter.
#19 West Virginia at Texas is a match up of teams trending in opposite directions. West Virginia has earned its highest ranking of the year behind a 10-3 stretch in their last 13 games, and Texas is at 5-9 in conference after being swept at Oklahoma State last weekend. With just 9 conferences games left, the Longhorns cannot afford to lose any more series.
With the top three teams in the Pac-12 all facing teams outside the RPI top 75, the most intriguing match up out west is #12 Arizona State at Washington. Arizona State is 2.5 games out of first place in the conference and will need to win at least two out of three games at Washington to keep pace in the conference race. Washington, an Omaha team a year ago, is on the outside looking in for a Regional right now. The Huskies' RPI of 62 is in the range of consideration, but at 5-10 in conference, Washington needs a few series wins to have a shot. The Huskies will be a highly motivated squad this weekend.
True to form, the SEC showcases several marquee match ups this weekend as four SEC series feature ranked-versus-ranked battles. #4 Georgia at #9 Mississippi State highlights the list as the two teams gear up for a top ten showdown at Dudy Noble. Georgia spent last weekend sweeping Missouri, while Mississippi State endured a sweep doled out by Arkansas. Mississippi State bounced back with a midweek win over rival, Ole Miss, and hopes to carry that momentum into the weekend. The Rebels will look to rebound from their Governor's Cup loss when they host the Aggies as #10 Texas A&M visits #18 Ole Miss in an SEC West match up. The Rebels and Aggies are two of the six teams within two games of first place in the division.
Elsewhere in the SEC, #20 Tennessee visits #6 Arkansas with both teams coming off sweeps. The Volunteers pitching staff is first nationally in ERA and has only given up 1.2 runs per game over their last five games, while the Razorbacks have scored 11.9 runs per game over their last seven. This match up will be a battle of strengths and something will have to give. #23 Auburn at #5 Vanderbilt rounds out the ranked SEC series this weekend as Vanderbilt tries to gain ground on Georgia in the SEC East standings.
Other Series with Regional Implications
As the regular season winds down, every series means more in terms of postseason hopes. After taking two out of three against Louisville a few weeks ago, Clemson has lost eight of their last ten and are in desperate need of a series win. This weekend Clemson is at #14 Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets are coming off a midweek win over rival, Georgia, and are entering the conversation for earning a national seed. Another squad with hosting hopes is #11 East Carolina who hosts Tulane. The only series the Pirates have lost this season was at top-ranked UCLA,. East Carolina can begin to wrap up the regular season American Conference race with a series win this weekend. Meanwhile, Tulane has built a solid Regional resumé, but the Green Wave needs an RPI boost which a win against East Carolina could provide.
In the Big Ten, Illinois at Nebraska is a match up of RPI top 40 teams. Both teams are in position to make a Regional, but neither can afford too many losses down the stretch. At 11-4 in conference, Nebraska is also looking for the regular season title in the Big Ten. UConn at Sam Houston State is one of the most compelling non-conference series of the weekend. A road win for UConn could push the Huskies back into the top 25, while a series win for Sam Houston State would give the Bearkats a shot at an at-large bid. In the Missouri Valley Conference, the series of Illinois State at Dallas Baptist will go a long win in deciding the conference winner. These two teams are at 30 and 29 in the RPI, respectively, and the winner of this series will be well on their way to a Regional bid.
The last month of the regular season promises to bring several high-stake games. To keep up with our Bubble Watch, follow us on Twitter! For more on this week's rankings, check out our Composite Top 25 and our Conference Power Rankings. If you like what you're seeing from us, consider becoming a Patron.