Baseball: Texas No. 1 Heading Into Post-Season

When the Longhorns take the field in Arlington Wednesday to defend their consecutive Big 12 Tournament titles, they will also again have the weight of the nation's No. 1 ranking on their shoulders. After a week at No. 2/3, UT overtook former No. 1 Stanford in the Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball rankings and both The Cardinal and Rice in the Sports Weekly/ESPN Top 25 Coaches' Poll released Monday to regain the top spot in college baseball's three major polls.

UT (48-11) and Stanford (42-11) occupy Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, in all three polls. Miami (41-11) is either No. 3 or No. 4 in all the polls. The other consensus members of the top 10 are East Carolina (47-9), Rice (40-11) and Notre Dame (46-10). LSU (41-15) is ranked as high as third (in Baseball America) but the Tigers only rate No. 11 in the Collegiate Baseball poll. Georgia Tech (38-17), which has won 17 straight games and is the ACC champ, is all the way up at No. 5 in Collegiate Baseball but just No. 17 in the coaches' poll.

Texas A&M, which dropped two of three to Texas over the weekend and finished the regular season fifth in the Big 12, continues to earn the highest ranking of all league team's in the coaches' tally, coming in at No. 10. The Ags (39-17) are No. 23 in Baseball America and No. 29 in Collegiate Baseball. Oklahoma, which trailed UT by just half a game in the final conference standings, is the highest-rated league team in the Baseball America poll at No. 17. The Sooners (36-20) remain No. 21 in Collegiate Baseball and unranked in the coaches' poll. Texas Tech and Oklahoma State are heading in opposite directions. The Raiders (38-17) climbed to the third spot in the final conference standings after sweeping Baylor over the weekend and moved into the Baseball America poll for the first time at No. 22 and inched up from No. 29 to No. 26 in Collegiate Baseball. The fourth-place Cowboys (33-22) are now unranked in all three polls.

In the most recent simulated RPI rankings, Texas is No. 2 behind only the Hurricanes. That RPI number, combined with the Horns' poll rankings, puts UT in great shape for a top eight national seed and thus a host spot in both the Regional and Super Regional rounds of the NCAA Tournament. Oklahoma and Texas Tech are considered locks for baseball's Big Dance, while the Ags and Cowboys are probably also in, but wins in Arlington will certainly help their cause. Big 12 Tournament No. 1 seed Texas, win or lose in its Wednesday 8 p.m. opener vs. No. 8 seed Nebraska, will face one of those two (potentially desperate) teams in the second round. No. 4 seed Okie State takes on No. 5 seed A&M Wednesday with the winner taking on the UT-NU winner on Thursday at 8 p.m. and the loser facing the Horn-Husker loser at 1 p.m. Thursday in an elimination contest.

Horns Digest Top Stories