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Diamond Hogs hold steady in polls, hosting a regional still possible

Here is a weekly update on the Diamond Hogs in the polls, plus a checklist for what Arkansas needs to do to host an NCAA Regional.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas hasn't won an SEC series since mid-April, but that hasn't hurt it much in the polls.

After splitting a weather-shortened two-game series at Tennessee, the Razorbacks remain at No. 16 in the HawgsDaily composite poll, which compiles the six major college baseball polls into one ranking.

Looking at each poll individually, Arkansas maintained its No. 18 ranking in two polls - Baseball America and D1Baseball.com - and actually moved up to No. 15 in two others: Perfect Game (up one spot) and Collegiate Baseball (up two spots).

The Razorbacks' largest movement was in the NCBWA poll, which dropped them three spots to No. 17, while they dropped just one spot to No. 16 in the USA Today coaches poll.

Those minor changes were mirrored in the RPI, where Arkansas fell to No. 18 after the weekend. The Razorbacks entered the week at No. 17, but actually rose to No. 16 before the Tennessee series.

With only two weeks left in the regular season and the remaining series against RPI No. 27 Vanderbilt and at RPI No. 32 Texas A&M, Arkansas still seems to be in contention to host an NCAA Regional despite not being in the national conversation.

Since 2001, SEC teams meeting these three criteria have been selected to host a regional 100 percent of the time (56 of 56):

  1. RPI in the top 16
  2. 39+ total wins
  3. 17+ SEC wins

Winning the final two regular-season would likely allow Arkansas to hit all three benchmarks. Four victories would get the Razorbacks to 39-15 overall and 18-11 in SEC play, satisfying No. 2 and No. 3. Considering their opponents have top-35 RPIs and one series is on the road, it isn't too much of a stretch to think they could jump at least two spots in the RPI to satisfy No. 1, as well.

That is also not factoring in the SEC Tournament in Hoover, where Arkansas would play at least one - maybe more - neutral site game against a high RPI opponent.

Nationally, the top four schools have not changed, with the top three - Oregon State, Louisville and North Carolina - being a consensus decision among the six human polls.

The largest moves within the top 25 were by SEC schools. Auburn fell eight spots after being swept by last-place Alabama at home and Texas A&M dropped five spots after losing 2 of 3 games against Mississippi State at home, while the Bulldogs jumped up five spots.

Here is a complete rundown of the HawgsDaily composite poll (SEC teams in bold, change from last week in parenthesis):

1. Oregon State - 150 points (--)

2. Louisville - 144 (--)

3. North Carolina - 138 (--)

4. Texas Tech - 131 (--)

5. TCU - 123 (+2)

6. Florida - 121 (+3)

t-7. Clemson - 106 (-1)

t-7. Mississippi State - 106 (+5)

9. Kentucky - 103 (-4)

10. Virginia - 93 (+1)

11. Long Beach State - 92 (-1)

12. LSU - 87 (+1)

13. Stanford - 84 (+1)

14. Auburn - 68 (-8)

15. Cal State-Fullerton - 60 (--)

16. Arkansas - 57 (--)

17. Arizona - 53 (+2)

18. Michigan - 39 (--)

19. Wake Forest - 36 (--)

20. Southern Miss - 30 (+2)

21. St. John's - 28 (--)

22. Texas A&M - 26 (-5)

23. Missouri State - 20 (+2)

24. South Florida - 19 (--)

25. Kent State - 9 (+2)

Receiving votes: BYU (8), Houston (7), Loyola Marymount (3), Oklahoma (2), UT-Arlington (2), Florida State (1), Maryland (1), Nebraska (1), Old Dominion (1), Vanderbilt (1)


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