I went back and looked up the preseason coaches’ poll ranking of the eight teams that made it to the College World Series. It was interesting to me to see so many of the top eight teams make it to Omaha.
What was the general basis of the pundits thinking that the Hogs would be the #6 team? Last year’s overall record?
Clearly HK and Martin have been surprises and could not have factored into the prognosticators top 10. And, both Shaddy and Cole’s offense this season were miles beyond those of last season, while Spanberger departed.
Almost every year, we have a good “core” from the prior year coming back, and DVH has shown he has build a program which brings in the needed parts (HS and JC players) to fill in year after year.
But this year, we got the additional, unexpected bonus that three very productive players that we thought all last year would not be here, were coming back - namely, Junior Blaine Knight, and Seniors Luke Bonfield and Carson Shaddy. There are not only talented and productive, but very experienced in SEC play - which is to say, CWS level play. So that has been our “X” factor this season, and it was predictable.