Throw a bazillion straight scoreless innings, and people will start to notice. Mizzou is now #2 in Baseball America's Top 25, behind only Arizona State, who lost to Northern Colorado last week but did beat two Top 5 teams in Arizona and UC-Irvine. They're also up to #4 in Rivals.com's rankings. Meanwhile, Aaron Crow was named Big 12 Pitcher of the Week, which I can't really disagree with, even though, well, Ian Berger has pitched better.
If the now-#2 Tigers want a shot at #1, they're going to have to win two games against Minnesota today and tomorrow. As The Beef mentioned yesterday, Minnesota did sweep South Dakota State last weekend, albeit by scores of 3-1, 5-4, and 3-2. Offense doesn't appear to be a strong suit, though they have beaten Pepperdine and Tulane, two teams that always seem to at least be decent. But the Tigers will at least be getting some cheers in the Metrodome, thanks to Aaron Senne's return home. Senne has carried the heart of the Mizzou order this season. He currently has a ridiculous .464 on-base percentage to go with a team-leading 4 HRs and 24 RBIs.
If these links (and JQ's Big 12 RPI diary) aren't enough for you, check out Corn Nation's Big 12 Baseball Weekly Review. I still don't totally agree that we haven't really played anybody--we haven't played a murderer's row, but we haven't just played South Dakota State--but nonetheless it's safe to say that we more than passed our first test against Baylor, who was a Top 15 team before walking into the Simmons Field buzzsaw.
And speaking of Top 5 Mizzou teams...mutigers.com has posted Part 1 of a two-part interview with Gary Pinkel.
"People ask about the expectation level. I was asked before last year how we would handle the expectations of being picked to win the North and I said we’ll see how we handle it. I thought we would handle it well and I think the results show that we did. It was pressure-packed, we were in basically an elimination situation the last six weeks of the season, and we handled it.
"I think you learn from that and that carries over a little bit. I think there will probably be some pre-season rankings come out where we’ll be pretty high. I saw our team deal with rankings like you want a mature team to do last year, for the first time. In the past, it was kind of overwhelming, we kind of embraced it. I think last year we kind of broke down that barrier of it not being such a big deal, just more of welcoming it and accepting it for what it is and moving on to the next thing at hand. Hopefully going through that experience last year will carry over to this year and if we’re way up in the rankings, we use that the right way. I feel good that we’re in a spot to do just that."
Because I feel obligated to post something about basketball in mid-March, here's a fun Big 12-related blurb in Bill Simmons' latest column...
Does Texas qualify for the Ewing Theory? Of course it does. I may be drinking the Kevin Durant Kool-Aid, but he's never won anything and Texas is doing better without him. These are the facts. While we're here, of any potential first-round pick remaining in this tournament, I think D.J. Augustin is the one who can help or hurt his stock the most over these next two games. Right now, he's either the second- or third-best point guard in this draft -- depending on how you feel about Darren Collison, who's been coming on like a freight train lately -- but he hasn't had one of those "In case you didn't know, I'm REALLY good" games along the lines of the way he demolished K-State earlier in the season. At some point, you need to play well in the Big Dance if you're a fringe lottery pick and he hasn't done it yet.
While I agree, and while I too love Kevin Durant...Bill, this time last year, Durant hadn't won anything either, and yet you kept raving about how he was as cold-hearted as Jordan and could rip your own heart out at any moment. Just sayin'.
You like how I used quotes and pictures to disguise the fact that I didn't have many links to pass along?