The official start of summer came at least week too early for FAU baseball.
The NCAA tournament selection committee elected not to include FAU in its 2017 tournament field, announced on Monday. It’s the first time in three years the Owls didn’t have something to celebrate on Memorial Day – traditionally the day the baseball brackets are announced.
FAU’s 35-21-1 record and a third-place regular season finish in Conference USA wasn’t enough to impress the selection committee. Ranked by some national polls earlier in the season, FAU stumbled down the stretch, losing eight of its final 14 games.
Two losses to eventual Conference USA tournament champion Rice this past week bookended victories over Old Dominion and FIU in the C-USA tournament. Rice defeated Southern Miss in Sunday’s C-USA title game.
FAU ended the season with an RPI in the mid 50s – a ranking that couldn’t have been viewed too favorably by the NCAA.
The 35 wins are the most for a McCormack-coached FAU team that didn’t receive an NCAA Tournament bid.
Unlike previous season’s FAU’s resume lacked the heft of quality wins. The Owls lost all three games against Miami, which saw its run of 44 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances end. FAU was also swept by C-USA regular season champ Southern Miss, which was selected to host a regional in Hattiesburg, Miss.
FAU did take three of four games over the season’s final two weeks from C-USA regular-season runner up Old Dominion, considered at the time to be an NCAA bubble team. ODU failed to receive a bid
The Owls swept two games from UCF, a tournament team with an RPI in the mid 20s and beat Indiana, another team with an RPI in the 20s, once in three tries.
Losing two-of-three at Western Kentucky, RPI 246, in the regular season’s penultimate series likely proved crippling to the Owls’ chances of making the field.
Southern Miss and Rice were the only C-USA teams to receive bids.