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Baseball Bubble Watch: Frogs closing strong, but will it be enough?

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Has TCU done enough to make the NCAA tournament?

TCU Baseball vs Lamar 5.6.18
TCU Baseball vs Lamar 5.6.18
Melissa Triebwasser

The Frogs sit at 30-19, having won 11 of their last 13 games since being swept by Baylor on April 20-22. It’s been an incredible stretch of baseball for the Frogs, as they try to close the season on a high note and qualify for the NCAA Tournament for the fifth consecutive season. However, the question remains: has TCU done enough in recent weeks to garner a bid?

Frogs on the Bubble

TCU is definitely on the bubble at this point. As of May 9th the Frogs were listed under “Next Four Out” on Baseball America’s projections for the tournament (Their projected bracket that was released on the 16th (today) is behind a paywall). Meanwhile, D1 Baseball listed TCU as one of the “First Five Out,” in their projection piece that came out on the 15th.

After taking two of three from the Mountaineers and beating SFA, the Frogs have an RPI of 63.

So, it appears that as of now, TCU is still on the outside looking in, despite the recent hot streak they’ve been on.

One of the arguments made against TCU during this stretch has been the strength of the competition. Realistically, TCU has played some of the strongest, and some of the weakest teams on their schedule during this stretch. Here’s the current RPI of the teams TCU has faced during this 13 game stretch.

  • Texas Tech: 9 (TCU won 2 of 3)
  • Dallas Baptist: 28 (TCU won 1 of 1)
  • West Virginia: 45 (TCU won 2 of 3)
  • Lamar: 237 (TCU won 3 of 3)
  • Stephen F. Austin: 259 (TCU won 2 of 2)
  • Abilene Christian: 271 (TCU won 1 of 1)

So yes, Lamar, SFA, and ACU are not good, at all, and West Virginia’s RPI is deceptively high. But Texas Tech is going to host a regional, and depending on how things break this weekend, could very well be a national seed. DBU is a lock to make the tournament as well. So it’s not like TCU has played completely lifeless teams throughout late April and May.

It comes down to Texas and the Big 12 Tournament

Perhaps its fitting that this squad, one that has struggled mightily and then righted the ship, has to travel to Austin this weekend to try and solidify their tournament footing.

TCU is 14-5 against Texas (regular season and tournament play) since joining the Big 12, including three series sweeps. But this season TCU is down, while Texas has seen a bit of a resurgence.

The Longhorns currently have an RPI of 20, a record of 34-18, and they just took 2 of 3 from Texas Tech in Lubbock.

If TCU can take two of three from the Longhorns, they’ll be in much better shape. But if that’s still not enough, the Frogs have a chance in the Big 12 tournament to lock themselves into the postseason by winning a few games.

A Final Weekend Rooting Guide

There’s a lot still in flux as far as seeding goes, as we head into the final weekend of the regular season. Here’s where everyone stands (record in parenthesis is Big 12 record).

  1. Oklahoma State (16-5)
  2. Texas (14-7)
  3. Oklahoma (13-8)
  4. Texas Tech (12-9)
  5. Baylor (11-10)
  6. TCU (10-10)
  7. West Virginia (8-13)
  8. Kansas (6-14)
  9. Kansas State (5-19)

With a series win, or even a sweep of Texas, TCU could see themselves vault a spot or two in the standings, depending on what happens in other series. Considering that TCU has either performed really well, or really poorly, against the teams in the Top 4 of the conference, who they play in the first round is important. Getting into the Top 4 seeds is still possible, too, and would be ideal, but a few things have to happen for that to become a reality.

Baylor-West Virginia

The Bears and Mountaineers square off in Morgantown, and the Frogs need to be WVU fans. The ideal situation for TCU would be if WVU swept the Bears, giving TCU the best chance to jump Baylor in the standings. Head-to-head results are the first tiebreaker for any standings tie, and Baylor holds that over TCU, while the Frogs hold that over West Virginia.

Texas Tech-Oklahoma State

The Raiders have fallen off in recent weeks, going 5-7 in their last 12 games, while Oklahoma State has gone 7-5 in their last 12 games. Neither team is exactly a giant killer at this moment, but both have a lot to play for, as seeding in the top four teams isn’t locked up by any means. Frog fans need to pull for the Cowboys, because TCU holds the standings tiebreaker over Texas Tech, and the Raiders are just 1.5 games ahead of the Frogs in the standings.

Oklahoma-Kansas

This series is less meaningful to TCU, unless the Jayhawks sweep the Sooners, and TCU sweeps Texas. Be Kansas fans, but don’t get too invested.

Kansas State-San Francisco

The Wildcats are the worst team in the Big 12, and they’re not going to make the tournament (only the top 8 teams qualify), unless they sweep San Francisco and the Jayhawks get swept by Oklahoma. Either way, this series is meaningless with regards to TCU’s seeding in the tournament.