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As you might expect, preseason brackets can look vastly different from the postseason field. For instance, defending national champion Arizona wasn't a national seed entering the 2012 NCAA postseason. Instead, the Wildcats hosted an NCAA Regional and only hosted an NCAA Super Regional because St. John's upset North Carolina in the Chapel Hill Regional. Of course, the Wildcats took care of business in that series and stormed through the College World Series.
That's how easy things can change in the world of college baseball, but we're all about giving the field our best shot as a snapshot entering the season.
* The number of national seeds from each conference might look very familiar, and it probably should for a good reason. Last year, the Southeastern Conference led the way in terms of national seeds with three, while the Atlantic Coast Conference and Pacific 12 Conference each had two, and the Big 12 Conference earned a national seed thanks to Baylor. This year? It's much of the same with the SEC getting three national seeds, the ACC And Pac-12 with two each, while Louisville from the Big East occupies the Big 12's spot from last season.
* The national seeds were rather tough to pick, at least when it came down to the final two of the eight spots. For instance, with the uncertainty surrounding the health of Florida pitcher Karsten Whitson, the Gators dropped out of national seed consideration, while they were even replaced as an NCAA Regional host by in-state rival Florida State. Oregon State, South Carolina and TCU were other teams considered for national seeds. This could be a year when a very strong Pac-12 gets three national seeds, while the SEC is equally strong enough to earn possibly a fourth national seed. Then there's TCU, which could be the pick for the final national seed to balance things out from a conference standpoint, something the committee has been known to do.
* The NCAA Regional host sites were equally difficult to choose in some instances. Once again, though, the SEC is king when it comes to projected host sites with six, including Mississippi State, Kentucky and South Carolina on top of the eight national seeds. The Pac-12 and ACC each have four total host sites, with the additions including Oregon and Oregon State for the Pac-12 and Georgia Tech and Florida State for the ACC. The next two programs considered for host sites include Florida and Rice.
* In case you missed our ABCA notebook last month, here's this year's NCAA Division I Selection Committee:
Dennis Farrell, Big West (Chairman)
Ed Scott, Binghamton
David Hickey, Central Michigan
Robert Goodman, Colonial Athletic Association
Larry Gallo, North Carolina
Rick Greenspan, Rice
Joel Erdmann, South Alabama
Eric Hyman, Texas A&M
Mark LaBarbera, Valparaiso
Randy Buhr, Washington State