Kansas State baseball coach blasts NCAA selection committee for tournament snub

Kansas State believes it belongs in the NCAA Baseball Championship, and that’s not just the fans’ view.

Coach Pete Hughes took to social media to call out the Division I Baseball Committee, which selected and seeded the 64-team field announced on Tuesday. The Wildcats were not included as an at-large team.

“The Division I Baseball Committee and the system failed K-State, our program, and our seniors,” Hughes said in a statement posted on the baseball program’s Twitter account.

Hughes said the committee didn’t consider head-to-head criteria strongly enough. The Wildcats finished 35-24 overall and tied for fourth in the Big 12 at 13-11 — ahead of Texas Tech and Oklahoma in the league standings. K-State went a combined 5-1 against the Red Raiders and Sooners during the season.

But Tech and OU received at-large invitations. Both programs finished higher in the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI), which measures record and schedule strength. Oklahoma finished No. 40, Tech No. 41 and Kansas State No. 55 in RPI.

That shouldn’t have mattered as much as direct competition, Hughes said.

“We were left out in place of two teams that we finished ahead of in overall conference play, and also two teams we beat head-to-head,” Hughes said. “Why play the games if the records are not valued?”

K-State went 2-2 in the Big 12 Tournament, beating top-seeded Texas before falling in the semifinal to eventual champion TCU. The Wildcats were bidding for their first NCAA appearance since 2013, when they advanced to the Super Regional for the first time.

Wildcats athletic director Gene Taylor added on Tuesday afternoon he “couldn’t agree more” with the complaint from KSU’s head coach, adding on Twitter that Kansas State “clearly” deserved to be a regional team.

“A selection system that needs to be changed,” Taylor wrote on Twitter, “so the main decision point is not just RPI.”