Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Latest RPIs: Aztecs 36th, Bulldogs 59th, Spartans 67th

The latest Ratings Percentage Index is out, and there weren't many changes, except for Fresno State.  Despite winning two of three in Albuquerque against the Lobos of New Mexico, the Bulldogs took a significant -- and costly -- fall.

Losing in extra innings on Friday wasn't enough to offset the Bulldogs' 29-0 combined victories on Saturday and Sunday.  With the Lobos at 11-25 overall, Friday's loss was enough to drop Fresno State 14 spots in the RPI to No. 59.  It is the first time this season the Bulldogs fell out of the top 50.

It was a crucial fall.  In 2012, Fresno State missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history when it had an RPI of 60.  Currently standing at No. 59, the Bulldogs almost certainly need a series win, if not a sweep, against San Diego State this weekend.  Not only would the Bulldogs' NCAA at-large hopes be substantially improved with a series win, but obviously their hopes of winning the Mountain West title would be greatly increased as well.

San Diego State moved up two spots to No. 36 in the RPI this week after a 3-game sweep of Nevada.  The Aztecs are now the only Mountain West team in good shape for a potential at-large NCAA bid.  San Diego State could virtually knock Fresno State from the race for the regular-season MW title, as well as dash its NCAA Tournament hopes entirely, in one weekend.

What's good for the Aztecs, however, may be to the detriment of the Mountain West as a whole.  If San Diego State were to run away with the conference regular-season title, it would ensure another year of the MW garnering just one NCAA bid.

To say this weekend's series in Fresno is big for both teams would be an understatement.  The Bulldogs still own three wins over the RPI Top 30, according to this week's rankings. 

San Jose State still maintains faint NCAA at-large hopes.  Without benefit of marquee non-conference wins, SJSU has fallen each of the last two weeks in the RPI.  Currently standing at No. 67, the Spartans still have six games left against the Aztecs and Bulldogs.  They'll need to win a majority of those to have a shot.  At this point, with its NCAA at-large hopes slim, SJSU will more than likely need to win the conference's regular-season title and the automatic NCAA bid that comes with it.

Colorado State is 83rd and UNLV 91st in the RPI this week, with both teams falling despite winning weeks.  Their only hopes at NCAA bids come from winning the Mountain West regular-season title, which is still a possibility.  With five Mountain West teams in the RPI top 90, this matches exactly what the conference had last week.

Rounding out this week's RPI:  Boise State is No. 106, Nevada 141st, Utah State 152nd, and New Mexico 165th.