When the Aggies and Longhorns meet up for a three game series this weekend, the collective series implications are at their highest since 2003. Both teams have a chance to eliminate the other from Big 12 title contention, and though the Longhorns are locks to be a #1 seed and first round host, both teams have national seed aspirations that can be enhanced or even totally squashed. Aggie Websider takes a look at A&M's postseason possibilities, and how this weekend's play will impact them.
Big 12 Tournament – The Aggies have clinched a berth in the Big 12 tournament, as they cannot finish lower than the current ninth (Oklahoma State) or tenth (Nebraska) place clubs.
Big 12 Regular Season Championship – The Aggies do not control their own destiny in the conference; in fact, that singular distinction only applies to currently second-place Kansas State. There are a plethora of possibilities throughout the league – certainly too many to game here – but what we do know is that A&M is eliminated from the conference title race with two losses to the Longhorns (a 2-1 Texas series win would put their final league record at 17-9-1, while A&M could do no better than 17-10). A 2-1 Aggie result gives them a fighting chance entering the final weekend, and their needed result there would depend upon how the OU/OSU and KSU/TTU series go this weekend. An Aggie sweep would obviously be the best result, but A&M hasn't beaten Texas in the regular season since Mark Johnson's 2005 club – winning the series is certainly asking enough at this point.
NCAA Regional Competition – Literally, unless A&M fails to win at least 2 games in their last ten (including the Big 12 tournament), they are a lock for the NCAA tournament. Even with the ten-loss worst case scenario, they'd be firmly on the bubble with a 31-26 record despite an RPI that will not dip below 30.
NCAA Hosting and #1 Seed – The latest unofficial RPI calculations suggest that a 5-2 finish to the season will hold A&M with an RPI in the Top 16, which is an unofficial lock point for teams from major conferences with competitive bids. A 5-2 finish would demand no less than 4-2 against Texas and Oklahoma, thus the Aggies could then finish no worse than third in the league – and a 37-18 record with a top 3 league finish and top 16 RPI will get the job done. A 4-3 finish would probably be okay too, as it would demand the Aggies still win one of the Big 12 series. A 3-4 mark to end the year probably puts the Ags on the road for the first round.
NCAA National Seed – Can that same 5-2 finish (4-2 against Texas/OU, 1-0 against Texas State) get the Ags a national seed? Maybe, but if and only if their 17-10 mark wins the league – the odds of which I'd place at 15-20%. If that happened, A&M's RPI would be in the 9-12 range, and making the Big 12 tournament championship (in that scenario) probably gets the job done. I just don't see a national seed with a 4-3 finish, even if the team went 4-0 at the tournament. Something crazy, like a very unlikely 7-0 finish to the season (I'd call the odds of this at less than 5%) would give A&M a Top 5 RPI and lock up a national seed. That kind of finish isn't necessary, but the above 5-2 scenario is the "easiest" path to potentially hosting a super regional series.
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