Aggies ponder post season

With just six conference games to go, the Aggies have a full range of possibilities as far as the post season is concerned. Aggie Websider's Senior Baseball Writer Lanny Hayes takes a look at the possibilities still on the table for this year's squad.

The Texas A&M baseball team continues trucking towards the postseason, and last week's 3-1 record improves the overall lay of the land. Every possible path is still available to the Aggies (35-11, 11-9 Big 12) but there's plenty of work left to do.

The Aggies have virtually clinched a berth in both the Big 12 and NCAA Regional tournaments, but mathematically they still have some work to do.

At 11-9 in conference play, A&M sits in a virtual tie for third place with Oklahoma State. The top eight teams qualify for the Big 12 tourney, which would currently leave Texas Tech (7-13) and Baylor (8-13) at home for the festivities in Oklahoma City. Baylor is tied with Kansas at 8-13, and the two haven't faced each other yet, but KU would hold an obscure tiebreaker if the season ended today. Kansas State sits just percentage points ahead at 7-11.

The Aggies currently outpace the top non-qualifying record of 8-13 by 3.5 games. Should Baylor and Tech win all of their remaining games, they would achieve records of 14-13 and 13-13, respectively. Therefore, A&M's magic number for a conference tournament berth is now three with six conference games remaining.

And don't forget Kansas and Kansas State, who are both teetering near the conference cellar and those bottom four teams have to play each other often over the final three weeks. Kansas and Kansas State hook up this weekend, and the Jayhawks square off against Baylor in the conference's final weekend. KSU still has to play A&M, while the Bears also get their hands on Nebraska in two weeks. Tech still has Oklahoma State and Oklahoma on their remaining schedule.

All of that means that at best, A&M cannot mathematically clinch a tourney berth until game two of the KSU series.

Despite that fact, they'll all but officially lock up an NCAA bid this weekend against Dallas Baptist.

A sweep of DBU would likely move A&M's RPI, currently No. 8, back to at least No. 6. A 2-1 series win would likely hold their current spot, while a series loss would be disastrous for the Aggies' RPI and make a deep regional run much more difficult.

With the regional bid practically locked up, the focus of A&M fans will shift to hosting at least one weekend of postseason play at Olsen Field. And given the makeup of this year's team, it may be essential to bring both rounds back to Aggieland in order to have a legitimate chance to advance to the College World Series.

The path to ensuring a first round host is relatively simple. Three wins in the final four non-conference match-ups plus a 3-3 split of the remaining Big 12 slate would put A&M at 41-15 overall and 14-12 in the Big 12, enough to secure a first round host but not much more.

The dream of a national seed remains plausible, but improbable. At the worst, A&M would need to win every non-conference match up remaining and take four of the final six Big 12 contests, improving their record to 42-14 and 15-11. Even then, A&M would not lock up a national seed. However, a 4-2 finish in conference play would ensure a long hard look from the selection committee.

Winning at least two Big 12 tournament games after a 4-2 finish, however, would likely be enough to schedule two weekend stops in College Station along the path to that city in southeast Nebraska.

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