USC Trojan fans are rightly mad that the 2023 USC baseball team was snubbed for the NCAA Tournament on Monday morning. USC was widely believed to be in the field after grabbing a road win at Arizona one week ago and then winning one of its two games at the Pac-12 Tournament this past week. USC didn’t dominate down the stretch, but it also didn’t collapse, and it won a pair of games away from home, something the team obviously needed to do.
Yet, it wasn’t enough, even though the Trojans were projected to be several spots inside the cut line just 48 hours before the selection show occurred.
The 2023 Trojans went 34-23-1, 17-13 in 30 Pac-12 Conference regular-season games, finishing fourth in the conference. They won a game at the Pac-12 Tournament.
The Arizona Wildcats, who got into the 2023 NCAA Baseball Tournament, were 12-18 in the 30-game Pac-12 schedule, finishing eighth. They did make the final of the Pac-12 Tournament, but they didn’t win it.
Compare this to 2018 USC basketball. The Trojans went 12-6 in the Pac-12 that season, finishing in second place in the conference. They also made the final of the Pac-12 Tournament, winning two tournament games.
2018 Arizona State basketball went 8-10 in Pac-12 play, finishing in a tie for eighth. The Sun Devils then lost their opening game in the Pac-12 Basketball Tournament to Colorado.
USC won four more conference games in the regular season, two more games at the Pac-12 Tournament. USC won six more Pac-12 games than ASU did (14-7 to 8-11) and reached the tournament final. USC had an RPI of 34 on Selection Sunday, the highest-ever RPI for a Power Five conference team which did not make the NCAA Tournament since the event was expanded to 68 teams in 2011.
The moral of the story: Conference wins over multiple months of play don’t count for anything.
What adds to the sting of this is that Arizona baseball in 2023 was actually rewarded for conference tournament performance. The 2018 USC basketball team was not rewarded for making the Pac-12 Tournament championship game.
2023 Arizona baseball was rewarded for its RPI of 45. 2018 USC basketball was not rewarded for its RPI of 34.
What a bleak, depressing, infuriating day for USC baseball players, coaches and staff. They all deserved better … just like 2018 USC basketball.