What a weird and wacky world we live in. Xavier, who won 3 conference games in 2015, is your 2016 BIG EAST baseball champion. Creighton, who was the odds-on favorite to win the conference, who holds the highest RPI in conference, and appears to be a lock for an at-large bid even if they don't get the AQ by winning the BIG EAST tournament, came in second place.
Seton Hall and St. John's exist in the bottom tier of the bracket, placing in third and fourth in conference after tussling and toiling with Butler, Villanova, and Georgetown. St. John's doesn't have the starting pitching it did in their championship run in 2015, but they do boast a whole bunch of gritty players who don't really dominate the game but do just enough to be in the conversation. Seton Hall has the best player in the Milky Way Galaxy in Mikael-Ali MOGUES (pictured below) and feature a starting pitcher who threw a perfect game this year in Shane McCarthy.
4. St. John's (9-9, 27-24-1) lost a buttload of pitchers in the offseason and had to reload this year. They had to fall back on the talents of Alex Caruso, Robbie Knights, Michael Donadio and Jesse Berardi - who crushed baseballs and led the BIG EAST in offense. Unfortunately, their opponent's had the ability to tee off on the sacrificial lambs the Johnnies threw out there every weekend, so their record sort of reflects that. I don't see how the Johnnies could pull off back to back conference titles, especially after their star closer was broken into pieces over the past weekend.
3. Seton Hall (10-8, 38-18) boasts a lineup of streaky hitters that can get hot at a moments notice. I like the Pirates' chances in a short series if their offense comes around in Aberdeen. Their defense has their faults, their back end pitching is pretty good with Zach Schellenger and Anthony Pacillo acting as anchors, and their starting pitching can be good in the right light.
2. Creighton (13-5, 36-15) endured a late-season swoon that featured a .500 record over the past 12 games. The Bluejays are the best all-around team in the conference and seem to do everything pretty well. They play excellent defense, their starting rotation features three completely different styles in Rollie Lacy, Jeff 'The King of Anthills' Albrecht, and Keith Rogalla. The Bluejay offense is sometimes poked at with the stick of laughter because they tend to play small ball, and even I've been a critic of it at times, but their offense works incredibly well for the pieces they boast. Their bullpen has the most depth of talent in the conference with the arms of Connor Miller, John Oltman, Ethan DeCaster, and David Gerber. Two weeks ago Creighton looked like the heavyweight in a weight class of featherweights, but after dropping a game to Georgetown and losing their first BIG EAST series ever against Xavier, it became clear that this team is mortal.
1. Xavier (14-4, 27-28)
This shouldn't have happened.
Here's a list of good things about Xavier's baseball program:
- they bring their own equipment to games
- they knock off a little bit of tuition money for young men who want a college degree, then let them play baseball
- they're reading this, aren't they? shit, better write something good about them to appease their fragile hearts
- good at scheduling
Xavier is my arch nemesis. I bullied them on the internet a lot last year. Not directly, mainly because I didn't think anyone actually read the garbage I write on the internet, but I did it because they were atrocious at the game of base.
Now they made me look like an idiot. I mean, I am an idiot, but they didn't have to make me look like one. Do they have a shot at winning the BIG EAST tournament? Sure, why not. Donald Trump is about to be our president and Xavier baseball won the regular season crown. 2016 is an awful year and I hate it and I hate everything and why does life have to be so cruel? Why is it that, when you pound out a narrative, it completely blows up in your face?
Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, right? So, perhaps by my writings and following of Xavier's 14-36 2015 campaign they were only assured the top slot the next year, right?
Xavier baseball operates on a different plane of baseball spirituality. It's like Scott Googins is playing a video game for the first time, and because he wants to feel the pain that evades him so often in real life, he sets the difficulty to its highest level. For weeks he gets nowhere in the game, finding it nearly impossible to get to the next level before he finds the settings menu and changes the difficulty to 'rookie' or 'easy' or 'BIG EAST.'
We'll have more delicious content for you as we approach Thursday's opening game, but til then just pray to the baseball Gods that we have some excellent baseball with fine weather.
Your song of the day is 'Nobody Speak' by DJ Shadow feat. Run The Jewels