Notre Dame's baseball team has put together a fine season, compiling a record of 45-15-1, and winning the Big East's regular season and tournament championships. But having been seeded third, behind Kentucky (45-12) and the College of Charleston (43-15) in the Lexington regional, the Irish have dialed up the bias-o-meter.
[ND Coach] Mainieri said he believes the Irish and other schools from the North are perennially underrated by the NCAA and hurt by low RPIs. The problem, Mainieri said, is it's difficult to get midweek games with schools from the South or the West and many weekends are tied up with conference games.
"It's a self-perpetuating problem. The teams from the North aren't rated high, and when we play them it keeps us from being rated high," the coach said. "It's just a flawed system and it's very protective of the power conferences -- the SEC, the ACC, the Pac-10 and the Big 12. And nobody can break into that cocoon."
Now, the facts are that baseball talent is concentrated in the south and west of the country. My hunch is that this stems in part from the fact that good players from the northeast are familiar with the weather at home. Be that as it may, compare the conference standings of the Big East, with, say, the SEC. The clubs which the Irish feast on each year look pale in comparison with the bottom dwellers (Auburn and Florida!) of the SEC. How good is 45-15-1 vs. Big East opposition? I don't know.
Regardless, Coach Mainieri's claim of bias seems rather straightforward to test with data from the NCAA tournaement.
Update: It's not proof of anything (other than my own skepticism of the bias charge), but here's today's final:
Notre Dame ..............4
College of Charleston...5