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College | Story | 5/19/2022

Week 14 College Picks and Preview

Craig Cozart      Vincent Cervino     
Photo: Jacob Melton (Oregon State Athletics)
Picks and Breakdowns

Matchup Vin's Picks Cozy's Picks
#23 UCLA at #3 Oregon State
#4 Texas A&M at Ole Miss
#11 Notre Dame at #7 Miami
#10 Gonzaga at San Diego
#15 Virginia at #13 Louisville
#14 UCONN at Georgetown
#20 LSU at Vanderbilt
UNC Wilmington at James Madison

No. 23 UCLA at No. 3 Oregon State

Cozy's Pick: Oregon State

The Bruins (33-19) head to Corvallis to finish the regular season and this series is a must-win if they have any hope of an at-large bid due to RPI issues. They are 17-10 in Pac-12 play, good for third place in the standings and have played their best ball inside the conference. Their pitching and defense have been tremendous in the league with a 3.88 team ERA, a 3:1 K/BB ratio and they are fielding .978 limiting their opponents to only 5.4 free bags per game. The offense is blue collar, grinding out at-bats, but runs come at a premium. The Beavers (40-11) can lock up a national seed this weekend, if they haven’t already done so. The sit atop the Pac-12 at 19-8 and had their one slip up of the season on the road at Arizona last weekend. They continue to play the best defense in the nation, fielding .987 inside the league and only surrender 4.5 free bags per game. The pitching staff has an amazing 4:1 K/BB ratio in conference play with a stingy 3.39 team ERA. They also average almost 7 runs per game on offense, more than enough with how they limit opponents scoring chances. This will be one of the cleanest, fundamentally sound series of the entire season but I think Oregon State wins resoundingly.

Vin’s Pick: Oregon State

Last week was just the second weekend series the Beavers have lost all season and the first since the beginning of April. They’re still legitimate national title contenders and a near lock for a top-3 seed and they’ll be able to take care of business against UCLA. The Bruins are young and very inconsistent and Oregon State should be able to bounce back nicely this weekend.

No. 4 Texas A&M at Ole Miss

Cozy's Pick: Ole Miss

The Aggies (33-16) have been one of the biggest surprises of the season and have rocketed themselves into the top-5 in our poll. They are currently 2nd in the SEC West at 17-10 and have just figured out how to win, plain and simple. Their sticks have come alive in league play batting .288 and they have hit more than half (37) of their home runs there. They are also averaging an impressive 7.6 runs per game inside the league. Their components have come together on the mound and their defensive unit is more than adequate. The Rebels (31-19) have put their fan base through quite the emotional rollercoaster, but this team has always been dangerous and it seems like they have found their mojo again. They are in fifth place in the West at 13-14 and are potentially on the wrong side of the at-large bubble right now. They have launched 51 home runs and are scoring over 6 runs per game in conference play. Plus, they are fielding a much-improved .979 in league play. I don’t think numbers matter this weekend. Ole Miss has only won one SEC series at home this year, their fan base knows what is riding on this series for their team and they will have Swayze Field rocking. Ole Miss wins this series and is the most dangerous team in the SEC headed to Hoover.

Vin’s Pick: Ole Miss

Rebels are hot! Ole Miss looked like they were done for just a month ago but now they’re sitting in the top-40 in RPI with 13 wins in the SEC. Recent history seems to dictate that they’d need at least two more conference wins to get into the big dance. Ole Miss is coming off two straight sweeps though it won’t be an easy one as with this series win Texas A&M could lock up a national seed; it’s going to be close but I think the Rebs pull it out at home and secure an at-large bid in the process.

No. 11 Notre Dame at No. 7 Miami

Cozy's Pick: Notre Dame

The Fighting Irish (32-11) have methodically navigated the 2022 season and once again find themselves atop the ACC Atlantic division with a 15-9 record. The strange thing about their path is the fact that they have been swept in two ACC series this year. However, this team knows its identity and ride their ability to pitch and defend to keep them in games. In league play, they are averaging 7.5 runs per game, mixing in 43 doubles, 31 home runs and have swiped 25 bags. Their team ERA is a little elevated at 5.15 but they are fielding a solid .978 inside the conference. The Hurricanes (37-15) are in first place in the Coastal with an 18-9 record. They have been extremely consistent on the mound, coming in with a 4.45 team ERA and only allowing 7.5 free bags per game. The offense comes and goes but they do blend power in 54 doubles and 40 home runs with speed as they have stolen 27 bags. This has translated into them averaging almost 8 runs per game in league play. Both teams are in position to host the first round of the NCAA tournament, so winning this series not only secures that but gives them a regular season ACC divisional title. The safe pick is Miami, but I think Notre Dame will use their offensive creativity to win a tightly contested final series.

Vin’s Pick: Miami

On paper, Notre Dame looks like the more complete team in terms of scoring and team ERA, though I think the Canes will have a little something extra to play for. Miami scuffled this week by dropping their midweek to FGCU and winning this series at home will likely lock up a national seed for them. I expect the offense to come alive for Miami in what could be a high scoring affair and the Canes to take two out of three at home.

No. 10 Gonzaga at San Diego

Cozy's Pick: San Diego

The Bulldogs (32-14) are a battle-tested club that has played a quality schedule and accumulated an 18-7 record on the road this year. They are two games ahead of USD in first place in the West Coast Conference at 18-6. They stifle their opponents with outstanding arms that have an in-league ERA of 3.74, holding them to a .238 OBA and a stout 3:1 K/BB ratio. The arms are backed up by a fundamentally sound defense sporting a .983 fielding percentage and they simply take runs off the board. The Toreros (31-16) sit right behind Gonzaga in 2nd place with a 16-8 conference record. They are an impressive 17-7 at home and are one of the league’s best offensive units with a .293 BA with a good blend of 21 home runs and 29 stolen bases. They have the slightest edger in the series on the mound with a 3.69 team ERA, over a 3:1 K/BB ratio and limit opponents to 6 free bags per game with the glove. It would be hard to find a more evenly matched series this time of year and Gonzaga is playing for the chance to be a host in the NCAA tournament. However, I have a hunch San Diego is ready for the upset and wins the series two out of three.

Vin’s Pick: San Diego

The battle for the West Coast Conference is on the line as the Torreros will have to sweep the Zags to take the regular season conference title. Winning this weekend would likely lock up a Regional hosting spot for Gonzaga while a series win would do wonders for San Diego’s at-large status. On paper, Gonzaga has the edge in terms of pitching but I like the depth San Diego has both on offense and pitching and think the home field advantage gives them the edge.

No. 15 Virginia at No. 13 Louisville

Cozy's Pick: Louisville

The Cavaliers (37-13) have been one of the most well-rounded and consistent clubs in the nation this year. They are currently in third place in the ACC Coastal at 16-11 and are in position to host the first round of the NCAA tournament. They lead the league with a .302 team BA and are scoring on average 7.5 runs per game. They are fourth in league play with a team ERA of 4.70 and carry a 2:1 K/BB ratio. The concerning thing is that they have not played all that well on the road with a 6-8 record and Jim Patterson Stadium is no cakewalk. The Cardinals (36-15-1) are in great position to be a host site for the NCAA tournament and this weekend could secure a national seed if they take care of business. At 16-10-1, they sit atop the Atlantic Division and are stellar at home. They have had some concerns on the pitching and defense side of things, but they are trending in a good direction right now. Their team fielding percentage is .978 in league play, good for 2nd and are 3rd averaging over 10 Ks per game. Their offense is as explosive as any in the country, they are third in the conference with a .292 team BA, have 40 home runs and lead the ACC with 36 stolen bases. I like the way the Louisville is playing right now and think they lock up a national seed with the series win this weekend.

Vin’s Pick: Virginia

The blueprint here for teams to beat Virginia is that they need long starting pitching performances to beat the Cavaliers but I’m not sure the Cardinals’ arms are up to the task. They’re similarly explosive offenses but I think the pitching edge gives Virginia a small margin in terms of edge though a Regional hosting spot is likely on the line and this series could go either way.

No. 14 Connecticut at Georgetown

Cozy's Pick:

The Huskies (43-10) are one of the most battle-tested teams in the nation as they played 18 of their first 20 games on the road, including a long West Coast swing. They have performed exceptionally away from home with a 22-5 record and have a stranglehold on first place in the Big East with a 16-2 record. They are leading the league with a .305 team BA in conference play and are averaging a robust 8.3 runs per game. Their arms are elite, with a 2.87 team ERA and an astounding 3.8:1 K/BB ratio. The Hoyas (29-22) have put together a solid season but find themselves in 4th place in the league at 8-10 right now. They are only batting .257 inside the conference but use their foot speed with 35 doubles and 20 stolen bases to generate 6 runs per game. The pitching has been a hurdle as the staff has a combined 6.35 ERA and barely a 2:1 K/BB ration in conference competition. I think UConn wins the series and most likely sweeps and secures the Big East regular season title.

Vin’s Pick: Connecticut 

The Huskies have been one of the most consistent teams in the country and they’re second in the country in both total wins (43) and winning percentage (.811). Austin Peterson looks like the Pitcher of the Year in the Big East while the offense has been high powered like we expect to see from the Huskies. They’re 16-2 in conference and I think they take care of business as they prepare for the conference tourney next week.

No. 20 LSU at Vanderbilt

Cozy's Pick: Vanderbilt

The Tigers (34-18) were on a path where we thought they had finally hit their stride and then they got swept at home by a previously-struggling Ole Miss team. They are now fourth in the SEC West at 14-13 and are probably no longer in position to host the first round of the NCAA tournament. They are one of the most powerful offenses in the league with 52 home runs, but they have only swiped 4 bags, so they’ll play it station-to-station. They are sound on the mound with a 4.48 team ERA in the league, but they do field the worst defensive unit with a .968 fielding percentage. The Commodores (35-16) on the other hand are coming off back-to-back series wins against Georgia and Arkansas. They seem to finally be playing the type of ball that led us to ranking them No. 1 in our preseason poll. They are the opposite of LSU offensively in that they like to create action to generate runs. In league play they have 48 doubles, 35 home runs and have swiped 34 bags. Defensively they are difference makers and make it extremely difficult to score because they just don’t give opponents anything free. They are fielding .982 in conference play and have a 4.50 team ERA to date. This is the time of year for a team to get hot and Vanderbilt is, so I think they will take the series.

Vin’s Pick: Vanderbilt

I think everything is finally coming together for the Commodores and they should be able to take the series against LSU and could be primed for a deep Hoover run. The ‘Dores are coming off two impressive road victories over Georgia and Arkansas and we obviously think they’re talented coming in as our No. 1 team in the preseason. Vanderbilt is hot and I think the talent they have coupled with the streak they’re on give them the edge over an inconsistent LSU team.

UNC Wilmington at James Madison

Cozy's Pick: UNC Wilmington

The Seahawks (29-21) have won four games in a row, which is their second-longest win streak of the season. They are 13-8 in the Colonial, good for third place, but they are out of reach of first place. They need to win this series to position themselves to win the CAA tournament to see the NCAA tournament. They don’t have much margin for error since they average just over 6 runs per game in league and allow almost 9 free bags per. The arms limit opponents to a solid .239 OBA but they allow 5 walks per game and only have a 1.8:1 K/BB ratio. Plus, they are only 7-10 on the road in 2022. The Dukes (26-24) are stumbling a bit having only won 4 of their last 10 games. They are fourth in the league at 11-9 right now and have an impressive 16-5 record at home. They play an aggressive style offensively, average almost 2 stolen bases per game, have nice power in the middle of the lineup and generate 6 runs per contest in league. They defense is fairly pedestrian with a team fielding percentage of .966 and they allow opponents to bat .277 against their arms. Both teams must win the CAA tournament for an NCAA berth, but I think UNCW is playing better ball right now and will win the series.

Vin’s Pick: UNC Wilmington

Charleston has already locked up the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament but UNCW still has something to play for as a sweep and some good luck could get them the No. 2 seed and a bye. Brooks Baldwin coming back has been huge for the Seahawks and they have a pretty solid pitching rotation around him to work with. JMU will be without star Chase DeLauter and I think the Seahawks take the series.

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