Just over two short weeks ago, Clemson´s chances of being a Top 8 seed in the NCAA postseason tournament looked to be slim and none, and probably closer to none. The Tigers had just lost to Georgia in Athens, capping off a seven day stretch that saw them lose four of five, and take a huge hit in RPI. Baseball seasons are filled with all types of streaks, good and bad, but this one felt like it was more than a good team hitting a ¨rough patch.¨ It felt like the wheels might have been starting to come off.
Clemson was not playing very good baseball at all. A team that had started 16-1 was now 26-11 and had gone from being #6 in RPI, and looking good for one of those Top 8 national seeds, to being #16, all in the span of a week. Next up was a weekend road series vs Wake, and the Deacs had won 8 straight ACC series at home, dating back to 2016. Hosting a regional was even starting to look iffy.
Before hitting the road for Winston Salem, Monte Lee called a team meeting. Whatever was said at that meeting seems to have pushed the right buttons. The team has not lost since, reeling off 8 straight wins. The Tigers swept Wake. They took both midweek games last week, Then they went to Charlottesville and swept the Cavs, something Clemson had not done since 2002. The Tigers now find themselves right back in the conversation for one of those coveted Top 8 seeds. Something many of us thought was no longer within reach realistically. Clemson also finds itself back atop the ACC Atlantic. At 17-7 in the conf, the Tigers now find themselves 2 games ahead of NCST, and 3.5 games ahead of FSU. The Pack were swept at home last weekend by UNC.
So, lets take a quick look at how things could shape up postseason wise for the Tigers. As for the ACC tourney, the Tigers locked up a spot last weekend, and would be the #2 overall seed if the season ended today. The Heels are a game ahead and would be the #1 overall seed. I despise the ACC Tourney. I hate the ¨pool play¨ format they use, so I am not going to delve to deep into that. If you are not familiar with the format, they now take the top 12 teams from the conf. They are grouped into 4 pools of 3 teams. The winners of each pool then advance to a 4 team, single elimination bracket. Why cant we just play a normal double elimination tournament?
D1Baseball just released their latest postseason projections and right now they have Clemson as the #8 overall seed, edging out NCST for that final national seed. The Tigers currently sit at #10 in RPI, while the Pack are #13. However, as I am typing this, Campbell has just knocked off NCST, so a drop of some kind should be in store. Thank you Campbell. They also project Coastal as the #2 seed in the Clemson Regional. The two teams have already split a pair of games this season, both having won at home. They also have Mizzou St as the #3 seed and Wagner as the 4 seed. Mizzou St is currently a Top 50 RPI team, and Wagner a Top 75 team. It is very unlikely this is how we end up, but secure that national seed and you are looking at similar type teams RPI wise.
They have FSU and the Tallahassee regional matched up opposite Clemson, with Auburn as the 2 seed, Sam Houston St as the 3, and Saint Louis as the 4. Keep in mind these are only projections and change from week to week. I would not hate an FSU/Clemson matchup at DKS in the supers.
One thing that does hurt the Tigers is their 1-6 record vs the Top 25. They can help themselves out in that area this weekend, as they have FSU coming to town for a weekend series. The Noles are currently #13 in RPI. It also happens to be the Tigers last chance against a Top 25 RPI team during the regular season, so to say its a huge series would be an understatement. They need to win this series. Taking 2 of 3 from the Noles would help tremendously as far as grabbing one of those national seeds. Hey, I am greedy, so I say lets get that third straight sweep and really put ourselves in the drivers seat.
After that, there is a midweek game vs the 4-38 Catamounts(nope, not a typo) of W Carolina (RPI 271), the final 3 home games of the regular season vs Austin Peay (RPI 107), a midweek road trip to Kennesaw St (86 RPI), and a road series vs Pitt (97 RPI).
As you can see, after the FSU series, there is no RPI help left. Gotta take care of business vs the Noles, then go 8-3 over those final 11. Do that and I think we see a Top 8 seed, assuming we do not have a disastrous showing in the ACC Tourney. Barring a complete collapse, this team should host at the very least. Something to keep in mind however, when thinking about Clemson hosting postseason games, the Tigers are only 7-5 at home since ACC play began, and 10-2 on the road......