Did The Cowboys Get A Raw Deal?

It has been the talk of the day and really the talk since the NCAA released the NCAA Tournament bracket for everybody with designs of going to the College World Series in Omaha. Oklahoma State (45-16/RPI 18) got a regional host position with the likes of second seed Nebraska (40-19/RPI 31), Cal State Fullerton (32-22/RPI 54), and the Cowboys first-round opponent Binghamton (25-25/RPI 157).

However, the committee seemed to send a message to the Cowboys that they were the last school to get a host role as they will turn around if they win this weekend's regional and match up with the winner of the regional hosted by national number one seed Oregon State (42-12/RPI 6).

Cowboys fans had hoped that their team was under consideration for a national seed after winning the Big 12 regular season championship and that the Big 12 Tournament championship game had a national seed riding on the line.

The truth is that it probably did, but not for Oklahoma State. A loss to the Cowboys might have cost TCU (42-15/RPI 11) a national seed. NCAA Baseball Selection Committee chairperson Dennis Farrell, commissioner of the Big West Conference, had said that TCU, LSU (both of which were named national seeds), Vanderbilt and Rice (both of which did not get national seeds) were the schools in contention for the final two national seeds.

The truth is that Oklahoma State was more in competition for a regional host role, and that while many of us (and yes, I am including myself here) were positive that the Cowboys would host it may have been the two wins over Texas on Saturday that locked in the Cowboys and Stillwater as a regional host.

Farrell said after the bracket was released that five teams were considered for the last two host spots, Oklahoma State and Louisville (who are both hosting), as well as Houston, Texas and Washington (who are all traveling this weekend).

"Oklahoma State playing in the Big 12 Championship certainly helped them, as well, as well as winning the regular season in the Big 12," Farrell said in explaining the decision, although not in great juicy detail. "Then Louisville had the dominance over Houston this year with a series sweep and the championship game."

That doesn't do much for the Cowboys players and staff, who you can tell from some comments and from some Twitter traffic aren't real pleased about TCU being a national seed while they are paired with the top national seed for a potential Super Regional.

When the potential meeting with Oregon State showed up on the screen on Monday with the team watching in their clubhouse the reaction was not cheering but almost shock and surprise. The truth of the matter is the RPI must have been leaned on by the committee. The Cowboys must have been hurt by an early season ugly loss (10-7) in the second half of a doubleheader to Oakland (RPI 257).

Here is a list of the records and RPI for the top 32 teams in the NCAA Tournament:
National Seeds - 2nd Seed in Their Regional
1. Oregon State (42-12/RPI 6) - UNLV (35-23/RPI 31)
2. Florida (40-21/RPI 3) - Long Beach State (32-24/RPI 29)
3. Virginia (44-13/RPI 1) - Arkansas (38-23/RPI 33)
4. Indiana (42-13/RPI 2) - Indiana State (35-16/RPI 22)
5. Florida State (43-15/RPI 4) - Alabama (34-22/RPI 21)
6. Louisiana-Lafayette (53-7/RPI 5) - Mississippi State (37-22/RPI 30)
7. TCU (42-15/RPI 11) - Dallas Baptist (40-19/RPI 27)
8. LSU (44-14-1/RPI 9) - Houston (44-15/RPI 10)

Other Regional Hosts - 2nd Seed in Their Regional
Rice (41-18/RPI 7) - Texas (38-18/RPI 12)
Cal-Poly (45-10/RPI 16) - Arizona State (33-22/RPI 40)
Mississippi (41-18/RPI 13) - Washington (39-15-1/RPI 24)
Louisville (45-15/RPI 19) - Kentucky (35-23/RPI 20)
Vanderbilt (41-18/RPI 8) - Oregon (42-18/RPI 23)
South Carolina (42-16/RPI 14) - Maryland (36-21/RPI 25)
Miami, Fla. (41-17/RPI 15) - Texas Tech (40-18/RPI 17)
Oklahoma State (45-16/RPI 18) - Nebraska (40-19/RPI 26)

From that information it appears that OSU was far from the school that got the biggest slight or shaft from the committee. Houston has a 44-15 record and is a 10 in the RPI yet not only are the Cougars not hosting but they are the two seed in the Baton Rouge Regional hosted by LSU, which won the SEC Tournament.

Schools like Vanderbilt, Miami (Fla.), Louisville, Rice, and even national seed Florida State appear to have a more difficult second seed in their regional.

At the end of the day, Cowboys head coach Josh Holliday prefers not to get caught up in bracket and committee politics. You play the hand that your dealt, get used to it and embrace it. Not doing so might be responsible for ending your season sooner than you would like for it to conclude.

Holliday acknowledges that the committee saw them as a host, but not a national seed.

"It's always interesting to hear how you are viewed by the people making those decisions and evidently from what the gentleman (Dennis Farrell) said that was the case," Holliday said. "The bottom line is our kids did a helluva job all year long, they competed at the highest level with elite teams.

"If we earned the opportunity that we are given then we are proud of what we earned and we will take this opportunity and go play as well as we possibly can. It is interesting to hear how you are viewed. I would hope that for the future of Big 12 baseball that the winner of the regular season would be viewed as deserving of hosting a regional.

"If the two wins on Saturday over Texas sealed our fate then it is good that our kids had that kind of magic left in them. It is what it is and those folks have metrics they look at and consider. Evidently, the RPI factored heavily in how the national seeds were determined, and rightfully so.

"I'm appreciative of what we do have and we will take what is a challenging road and attack like we have all year long," Holliday finished.

It doesn't matter now. You go plays the games and this is a challenging, but a winnable regional for Oklahoma State.

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