State of Louisiana Flexes Its Muscle in College Baseball
In College Baseball, geography dictates much of your schedule, especially in the middle of the week games.
In 2016, that's a good thing for Louisiana schools.
The strength of teams in the state is a boon to the schools as they fight, not only for the standings in their respective leagues, but for position in the Rating Percentage Index (RPI) as well.
Winning games and winning them against good teams really help the latter. And, the schools, by playing each other, have improved their lot in that regard. And, the strength of their respective conferences hasn't hurt either.
According to the latest report on warrennolan.com, the Southeastern Conference (LSU) is rated the best. Conference USA (Louisiana Tech) is third. The American (Tulane) is 6th, the Sun Belt (Louisiana, ULM) is tenth and the Southland (UNO, Nicholls, Southeastern, Northwestern, McNeese) is 11th. The SWAC checks in at the bottom.
Eight of the 12 Division I schools in the state have an RPI in the Top 100. Louisiana leads the way at 21. LSU is 24, Northwestern State (36), Tulane (50), SLU (61), UNO (62), McNeese (81). LA Tech (88). And, a ninth, ULM,(104) is just outside that mark. Only Nicholls State, Grambling and Southern have ratings in the bottom 75.
The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns have 19 games this season against schools from Louisiana, including a non conference series this weekend against Southeastern Louisiana. That's a full 1/3 of the season's schedule. They've played nine of those games so far (5-4 record). Still to come is the series against SLU this weekend, home games against McNeese, Nicholls, and Louisiana Tech, along with three against ULM. They'll also make up Wednesday's rain out at UNO.
Credit all of the schools in the state for playing tough non conference opponents along with each other. That's helped the schools keep their position in the Top 100, even though some of the records aren't breathtaking. Northwestern has kept their rating in the top 50 despite a 17-15 record. UNO (18-14) is in the top 70. And ULM (13-20) is barely outside the Top 100.
When it comes down to selecting teams for the NCAA tournament, the committee looks at your record against the Top 25, 50, 100 along with the rest of the schedule. Thanks to the strength of baseball in Louisiana this year, the committee will have plenty of games against good competition to consider.