USF baseball still in hunt for Big East title

Thanks to a three-game home sweep of Connecticut, USF baseball enters the final week of the regular season just one game out of first, keeping the Bulls in contention for the Big East regular-season title.

The Bulls (33-18, 16-8) are tied with Louisville for second place, one game behind current leader St. John's, and you could argue the Bulls have an easier final weekend series than either of those challengers, though the Bulls would lose head-to-head tiebreakers with the Red Storm and the Cardinals.

Knowing that, for USF to win the regular-season crown, the Bulls have to do the following in their final three-game series at West Virginia (7-17): USF must win one more game than Louisville (which is at 9-15 Pittsburgh), must win two more games than St. John's (which hosts 15-9 Seton Hall) and to be safe, they must win more games than Seton Hall (15-9) does, because the tiebreakers there without a head-to-head series get complicated quickly.

The Bulls could still be seeded anywhere from first to sixth in the eight-team Big East field, which will play in Clearwater on May 23-27. If USF were somehow swept, they could fall as far as a sixth-place tie with Rutgers or Notre Dame, though they hold the head-to-head advantage over the Fighting Irish.

USF is also getting back into national conversations, though it would take a continued strong finish to draw an at-large NCAA berth. USF jumped into the NCAA top 50 (at No. 50) at Perfectgame.org, and is up to No. 64 at WarrenNolan.com, though that site points out that the Bulls are just 19-16 vs. RPI top 200 teams, with a 3-6 record against the top 50 (wins against 1 Florida, 43 Louisville, 48 Michigan State). It's reasonable to think if the Bulls won the Big East regular-season title but lost after a solid showing in Clearwater, they'd have a shot at returning to NCAAs.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 10:30am]

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