NC State has been a disappointment on the baseball field and sits at just 11-11 overall, with an ugly 5-10 conference record. The Wolfpack has been awful at home in league play, and that has left it with a lot of work to do. But all is not lost—in fact, only 11 things have been lost—and the opportunities for quality wins over the second half of the season will be there.
Right now, as you might have guessed, State is not in the NCAA tournament picture. In the latest projection from Baseball America, State isn’t listed among the last four out or the next four out. How far outside is the Wolfpack? Comparing the Pack’s resume to the current first four out in BA’s projection can give us some idea.
First four out, in order (category leaders in bold):
Kentucky (19-7, 5-4): RPI 55, SOS 106, 5-6 vs. Q1+Q2
Liberty (18-8, 5-1); RPI 36, SOS 115, 9-7 vs. Q1+Q2
South Alabama (16-10, 5-1): RPI 68, SOS 92, 3-4 vs. Q1+Q2
Indiana (11-7, 11-7): RPI 112, SOS 207, 0-4 vs. Q1+Q2
NC State (11-11, 5-10): RPI 74, SOS 24, 6-10 vs. Q1+Q2
At this stage in the season, the RPI in general looks pretty wonky, though NC State isn’t in a terrible spot here. Its strength of schedule is a plus, and its six total wins against quadrant one and two stacks up fine against the other four. The winning percentage in those games, not so much.
Of note, BA has a 14-14 (6-12) Virginia team among its next four out. UVA is comparable in terms of RPI (71), SOS (35), and Q1+Q2 record (8-14), which implies that the Wolfpack isn’t impossibly far down the list of at-large candidates.
The Wolfpack’s sweep at UNC—a regional two-seed in the projection—is the big feather in the cap now, and State has remaining series against Notre Dame and Virginia Tech, both of which are slotted as regional hosts. State also plays FSU and Pitt, which are in the field.
So there lots of potential quality wins left, it’s just that the margin for error is minimal. NC State has got to take this weekend’s series at BC—another possible bubble team—and get a pair at least from Wake Forest later on. The climb back toward .500 in ACC play and a decent shot at an at-large spot probably requires those results, given the quality opponents mixed in around those two.