Purdue's continuing problem of not having Alexander Field done in time for the first weekend of June continues to hurt our baseball program. after 38 games the Boilers are a stellar 32-6, beating a good Illinois State team on the road last night 3-2 and today they host a pretty bad Ball State team they already pounded in Muncie. Some key numbers in Purdue's NCAA profile:
- At 32-6, Purdue currently has the best winning percentage in the country.
- The RPI is exceedingly strong at 11, which is almost unheard of for a northern school at this point in the year.
- An 18-4 record in true road games and 18-5 record against the top 100 in the RPI is a major reason for this.
- Purdue has already won more road games (18) than home games it even has scheduled total (17).
- The Nolan Power Index, which takes into account true road wins, has Purdue as the No. 1 team in the country.
- The RPI and NPI likely won't dip much the next two weeks, as No. 65 Michigan State comes to Lambert before Purdue goes to No. 5 UCLA.
This all, of course, makes the following more frustrating. Perfect Game continues to have Purdue as a National Seed, this time a the eighth and final one:
WEST LAFAYETTE REGIONAL
1. Purdue* (8)
4. Kent State*
3. Indiana State
The problem here, again, is no hosting site, and potentially borrowing Indiana State's seems out of the Sycamores, who are having a very good year in their own right, are placed in our regional as expected. right now they are an at large team, and given a rare chance to have a Midwest regional with Purdue playing so well, the NCAA can keep them close to home as well. Arkansas is also a very difficult No. 2 seed that was in the top 5 earlier this season.
Baseball America is also in agreement with Perfect Game, as it thinks Purdue is a definite National seed contender, especially if it wins the UCLA series that is looking bigger every day
Keep an eye on Purdue as a national seed dark horse. The Boilermakers leapt from No. 16 to No. 8 in the RPI last week, and they have a chance to make a major statement in two weeks with a road series at UCLA. Win that series and continue taking care of business in the Big Ten, and Purdue will be a prime national seed candidate.
Clearly, this hosting thing has got to be figured out. Purdue's final two regular season series are against Michigan and Iowa, two teams that aren't even on the happy side of the cut line for the Big Ten Tournament. Midweek games against IPFW, Illinois-Chicago, and Butler are also in the last nine, meaning Purdue is going to be a big favorite in every game after the UCLA series. If Purdue gets through this weekend and next at 4-2 or better, and doesn't screw up too badly in those final nine, it is going to be host-worthy and probably National seed-worthy with a likely record in the neighborhood of 44-10.
Therefore, this hosting problem has got to be figured out. It would be embarrassing to be deemed one of the best eight teams in the country, but be forced to play a true road game in the Regionals and Super Regionals. The "temporarily upgrade Lambert Field with lights, bleachers, etc." is also out, since the school is already auctioning off the scoreboard
to be gone by June 1, two days before Regionals start.
It is very frustrating that Purdue is in this position, but when the athletic director has gone on record that permanent lights at Ross-Ade Stadium (only Purdue's biggest possible money-maker, especially with bigger night game crowds) are not a priority
, thus severely limiting us in scheduling as discussed yesterday, I can't say that I am surprised a growing boondoggle like this is happening.
It is becoming increasingly more important for this problem to be solved because this Purdue team is having its best season in school history. If it wins the UCLA series, it will show the nation that Purdue is not only a legitimate good team, but a legitimate threat to reach the College World Series in Omaha. It deserves to have hte easiest possible path by playing at home, or at least close to it, in front of home fans, especially since it plays so many road games in comparison to everyone else. Here are the number of home games for Perfect Game's eight National Seeds, the other seven of which would have no trouble hosting:
Florida State: 32 home games
Kentucky: 34 home games
Baylor: 32 home games
Florida: 33 home games
Rice: 31 home games
UCLA: 32 home games
North Carolina: 37 home games
Purdue: 17 home games
For grins and giggles, here are the other eight projected hosts and their total home games:
Central Florida: 38 home games
North Carolina State: 30 home games
LSU: 37 home games
Arizona: 35 home games
Texas A&M: 40 home games
Cal State Fullerton: 30 home games
South Carolina: 35 home games
Oregon: 29 home games
Wow, 17 home games in comparison to 31 or more for each of the other seven national seeds. Yes, weather is a factor here since all seven are from warmer climates, but even in comparison to the rest of the Big Ten we have a paucity of home games:
Ohio State: 25 home games
Michigan State: 22 home games
Minnesota: 37 home games (Minnesota plays most of its home schedule in the Metrodome)
Northwestern: 21 home games
Indiana: 23 home games
Nebraska: 30 home games
Michigan: 21 home games
Iowa: 18 home games
Illinois: 20 home games
Penn State: 22 home games
Purdue: 17 home games
Remember, 12 of every team's home allotment comes in the form of conference games. As you can see, even with a team we knew would be loaded coming into this season and a field that is really no worse than Indiana or Northwestern's (also with no lights) Purdue had the fewest home games of anyone in the Big Ten. The only school we have more home games than is Wisconsin, which has the noticible handicap of not even having a team.
I don't have time to check, but I am willing to bet Purdue has among the fewest home games of anyone in the country, making this season even more stunning. That will likely change once Alexander Field is finished, but the athletic department needs to find a way to let this program receive the reward of hosting a regional.
Go to Gary. Go to Ft. Wayne. Borrow Indiana State's Field (and yes, there is precedent, as California borrowed Santa Clara's field
last year to host a Super Regional because they lacked lights and, indeed, nearly had their entire program scrapped). Triple the work output and finish Alexander Field. I don't care what we have to do. I don't care if we have to have an H&R weekend where the readership shows up in West Lafayette to volunteer to finish the field on time. This team deserves to host, and Morgan Burke needs to find a way to make it happen, if not at Purdue, than somewhere in-state. Cal made it to the CWS last year in a worse predicament than we are currently in, so there is no reason Purdue can't find a solution.