Big East baseball: Bulls are in
The Big East isn't providing those darling little "x-" prefixes in its official standings, leaving fans to do the math as to which teams have clinched a top-eight finish, and thus, a spot in next week's Big East baseball tournament. That's where your trusty blogger comes in.
I haven't bounced this off anyone at the league office to be absolutely, unfailingly positive about it, but I'm almost sure -- O.J.-guilty sure, I'd even say -- that USF has locked up a ticket to Brooklyn. (That's not a euphemism. I just mean they're in the tournament).
Hear me out on this: USF is currently in fifth place with a 12-12 league record. So for the Bulls to not make it, they definitely have to get swept this weekend by St. John's, and at least eight teams have to get at least 12 league wins. The four teams above USF are easy, and Villanova (11-13) could win at least one game against Rutgers (though the Knights are tied for first) and get past USF on the head-to-head tiebreaker. If Cincinnati (9-14) were to somehow sweep Louisville (17-7), they could finish a half-game ahead of the Bulls, providing USF also gets swept. But that only drops USF to seventh.
For USF to fall to ninth and miss the tournament, both Notre Dame (10-13) and Connecticut (8-13) would have to catch them, and those two teams play each other in their final three games. Notre Dame can win two and catch the Bulls, or Connecticut can sweep and finish ahead on winning percentage (11-13, at .458, beats 12-15, at .444), but both can't happen. So USF's in. And the most likely scenario has them playing an opening-round game against fourth-seeded Pittsburgh, which the Bulls took two of three from in March.
Why can't the Big East do this math? USF is holding off on travel plans until they know they're in. Book the tickets! Or show me a scenario where USF doesn't make it, and then I'll feel very, very bad. Check my work for me, hit me with "makes sense to me" type comments so I don't go down alone if I'm wrong on this. (I'll cover myself by saying that this all banks on the Big East's official standings being correct.)
Hey, more basketball recruiting news: Marcus Britt, a combo guard from Forrest City, Ark., released from his letter of intent at Louisiana Tech, has opted for Stan Heath's old school, Arkansas, over a reported offer from the Bulls. Read all about it here.