Saturday, March 25, 2023

MINUM: Athletic Director Wood Selig puzzled over why ODU Baseball didn’t make an NCAA field – Old Dominion University

Norfolk, VA – The mood was festive as the double-decker Venture Tours bus left Hattiesburg, Mississippi, at 11 a.m. Sunday.

The Old Dominion baseball team won three of five games in the Conference USA tournament, and lost to eventual champion Louisiana Tech by one run in the semifinals. The Monarchs won 41 games and 10 of their last 12 matches, the country’s fifth-best in the conference.

40 to them. was rankedth In the NCAA RPI.

Sure enough, as soon as they moved from Mississippi, players and coaches realized they were a lock for a bigger NCAA tournament bid. In many ways, special assistant Tony Guzzo That said, the record was almost the same as the previous season, when ODU emerged as one of the nation’s 16 No. 1 seeds.

But after an upset at the conference title games on Sunday, and low-RPI teams like Louisiana, UNC Greensboro, San Diego and Michigan claiming coveted automatic bids, it became clear the Monarchs were back on the bubble.

coach Chris Finwood Watching bits and pieces fluctuate on his cell phone and when the bus arrived in Norfolk at 4:30 a.m. on Monday, he acknowledged that NCAA selection shows can be a tough pill to swallow.

This was it. For the second time in five years, ODU were one of the first four teams off the field. And it’s troubling for a lot of reasons.

First, this team beat quality opponents. The Monarchs won two games from No. 8 NCAA seed East Carolina, won two of three against No. 11 Southern Miss and won in Virginia, which was in RPi.

The Monarchs are second in the nation in home runs and given their phenomenal performance last season, when they lost 4-3 to Virginia in 10 innings at an NCAA regional, you’d think that their reputation, all things being equal. Because of that, given to them. Slight edge with committee members.

They were 11-8 against Quad 1 and Quad 2 opponents, 16-4 on the road and 22-13 in Conference USA, which, I repeat, was the fifth best conference in the country.

More on that later.

Finwood was disappointed but philosophical, saying, “Our people did everything they could. I don’t know how much more they could have done.”

“When you play in a league like Conference USA, which is the fifth best in the country, and you win 22 conference games and 41 overall and have some really good non-conference wins, it’s hard to get your name on the first line. List four.

“It’s been excruciating for people. I’m putting it in perspective. No one is living or dying today. But people put their heart and soul into it and that makes it difficult.”

Athletic director Dr. Wood Selig was not a philosopher – he was devastated and a little angry.

“This is one of the most disappointing moments of my athletic career,” said Selig, who has been athletic director for 24 years.

“I know how qualified our student-athletes were and there’s no legitimate way to honestly explain it.

“If someone was watching ODU, if they know baseball, they need to know that we are an NCAA team. Not many teams hit it better than us. Not many teams field better than us. We’re always in the game.” . We are made for the NCAA.”

You don’t need to dig too deeply into the statistics to know that the selection committee has some explanation to do. Unfortunately, the ESPN crew who questioned the head of the committee on the selection show did not ask about ODU, choosing instead to think about why Notre Dame didn’t host a regional.

How big a bid the Grand Canyon made is beyond me. The Grand Canyon lost in the semifinals of the Western Athletic Conference and lost to nation 19 . I was 25-5th-Best league. The Grand Canyon was 12-11 in Quad 1 and Quad 2 stories and was 50 . was in placeth in RPi.

Let’s face it, Grand Canyon plays in a low-level baseball league, and yet the committee chairman said he made a bid because he played a “tough non-convention program.”


As D1 Baseball writer Aaron Fitt noted on Twitter: “The committee clearly fell in love with the non-conference SOS (strength of the schedule) and hey, that must be part of the puzzle. But compared to the conference results.” It’s also hard to control, and I think conference performance matters more in those power leagues.”

And this season, Conference USA was a power league.

Arkansas and Ole Miss also received questionable bids. I realize the SEC is the best league in the country, but almost none of the forecasters penciled Ole Miss on their projected fields of 64.

Ole Miss lost in the SEC tournament play-in game and lost her SEC record. Arkansas was 3-7 in their last 10 games and one place below ODU in the RPi.

Conversely, others joined ODU as teams that should and should not play this week.

State of North Carolina, 32 . in th placeRa At the national level, the ACC fought its way to the championship game, but did not make it to the field. Nor 37 UTSA, who went 19-15 against Quad 1 and Quad 2 teams, defeated Southern Miss twice on their home turf in the C-USA tournament and lost to Louisiana Tech in the championship game on Sunday in the walk-off singles Went. afternoon.

Incredibly, UTSA was not even on the committee’s first four list.

In the baseball RPi, Conference USA was ranked only behind the SEC and ACC (nine bids) and the Big 12 and Pac-12 (five bids). Yet the league received only two bids.

Sun Belt, ranked sixth at the national level, received four bids.

“I scratched my head at that,” Selig said. “When was the last time a fifth-best league fielded only the regular season champion and tournament champion?”

It’s just one more reason why it’s such a good thing that ODU is leaving C-USA for the Sun Belt. July 1 can’t come sooner.

C-USA Commissioner Judy McLeod and her entire staff should bow their heads in shame. When you have teams like UTSA and ODU on a bubble, you fight like hell to educate committee members about how good they are, even if very soon, they will leave your league.

I don’t know what the league did to lobby the NCAA committee. Whatever was done, it didn’t work.

Meanwhile, the sun belt looks better and better every day.

Georgia Southern is hosting a regional and Southern Miss, joining the league next year, is also hosting a regional.

The states of Louisiana, Coastal Carolina and Texas are also in the tournament, and ODU, Marshall and James Madison are also involved in a league that will extend well beyond C-USA the following season.

Dr. Selig declined to criticize C-USA officials, saying he preferred to look ahead and not look back.

But he said he was going to be proactive in trying to prevent it from happening again.

“ODU Baseball should now be an NCAA Tournament team three times in the last five years, but for reasons I don’t think anyone can explain honestly, we’ve only been there once in the last five years,” he said.

“I don’t understand why we haven’t got the recognition that we’ve earned on the field. I think statistically, we’ve done everything we could. I don’t know what the committee needs to see.” Needed. Our inclusion. I am extremely disappointed and amazed.”

He said that he would reach out to the committee members to find out where they feel the ODUs are lacking.

“I was on the NCAA Women’s Basketball Committee for four years,” he said. “I know the process, whatever goes into it. I know how challenging it is and know it’s far from an exact science. I also know that second guessing comes with territory.”

“We need to figure out what we need to do differently, if anything. If they allow me to see the information, I’d like to know what to discuss when comparing it with other teams.” Where have we fallen?

“People don’t understand how hard it is to play at this level and finish we’ve had over the last two years. We’ve seen and enjoyed some of the best baseball in the country over the last two years. People don’t appreciate that at this level. How hard is it to maintain things and opportunities like this don’t come often.

“That’s why it’s so difficult to handle what happened today. Teams like these don’t come around so often.”

Finwood and his assistant coaches got a lot better from a team suffering from injuries and not pitching enough to win the C-USA Championship.

Former Assistant Coach of ODU Karl NonamakerNow in Auburn, Finwood sent a message that he shared with the media.

“He wrote, ‘If a coach’s goal is to get a team fully invested in each other and the program and compete as best as they can, I watched all of yesterday’s games, and man, you guys are the epitome of that. From,” said Finwood..

“I was really proud of the work you did and the kids and the team.”

“That’s what I want to take away from this, a little big picture. No doubt about it, but it hurts for the right reasons. It hurts because those people love each other. We really really I became a good team.

“That’s what you’re after, that’s what you’re always fighting to try to catch, and that’s what those guys did.”

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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