• NATIONAL SEEDS: The race for the final couple of national seeds was rather difficult to sort out this week, particularly the final national seed, which we gave the edge to Mississippi despite a good case from South Carolina. Barring a surprise at this week's Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, that conference likely is a three national seed league. Sure, some will look at the middle of the ACC and notice some league records that aren't great, but that's simply because much of the league spent the spring beating up on each other. Something could change, but I feel very confident in Virginia, Florida State and Miami as national seeds.
Shifting gears to the Southeastern Conference, you might ask, why does this league have 10 total bids to the postseason, yet only two national seeds? It's easy to explain, though, as committee members have said in the past that national seeds are handed out on individual merit and nothing else. At this stage, I don't see the SEC getting three national seeds, but it's not out of the realm of possibility that someone like an Indiana or Louisiana-Lafayette could get booted out for, let's say, South Carolina. For now, I remain very confident about IU as a national seed, and also feel good about the Ragin' Cajuns.
As for the final national seed race between Ole Miss and South Carolina, to say it was an easy decision is very much an understatement. After all, South Carolina definitely has a compelling case. For starters, the Gamecocks won the season series against the Rebels, albeit at home in a very even series. Meanwhile, the Gamecocks have A) more wins against RPI Top 25 teams and B) a 15-9 record vs. RPI Top 50, as opposed to 14-11 mark for the Rebels. However, the Rebels have a better road mark and finished higher in the SEC standings, winning the SEC West Division and earning the No. 2 seed in this week's conference tournament. Whomever performs better in Hoover, Ala., likely gets a national seed. The other? It will need Indiana or ULL to slip up.
Besides South Carolina, college baseball fans also should watch for Oklahoma State, Cal Poly and TCU. The Cowboys are very much a national seed type of team if they can perform well in the Big 12 tournament and get that RPI in the top 18, while TCU possesses a good resume and Cal Poly continues to rise in the RPI and is the West Coast's elite team outside of Oregon State and Washington. Some things would really have to go their way for teams like Vanderbilt, Rice and Louisville to end up as top eight national seeds.
• REGIONAL HOSTS: The final host site wasn't easy to decide on, and the decision was between Louisville, Houston and LSU, while there also are those in Cajun Country who feel like LSU should clearly be a host over Vanderbilt . The Cardinals absolutely have some holes in their resume, such as just 11 wins vs. RPI Top 100 teams. However the Cards have a top 20 RPI, won the American Athletic Conference and swept Houston on the road earlier this season. For now, UL gets the edge over UH for that reason, but the Cougars have some impressive metrics with the top non-conference RPI in the country, a 17-6 mark on the road and a 16-9 record vs. RPI Top 100 clubs. UH probably could end the discussion between it and Louisville by going the distance in the AAC tournament.
Then there's LSU. It's my belief the Tigers will host if they can make some noise in the SEC tournament. However, they haven't secured one entering the action in Hoover, Ala. The Tigers will point to their No. 3 seed in the conference tournament as the sole reason why they should get a host site at this point, but never mind the fact they A) are mere percentage points ahead of Vanderbilt, the sixth seed, and B) have an inferior overall resume to the Commodores and lost the head-to-head series earlier this year.
Let's compare the resumes between LSU and Vandy. The Tigers had a non-conference RPI of 34, have a strength of schedule of 73 and are 4-8 vs. RPI Top 25, 12-12 vs. RPI Top 50 and 18-12 vs. RPI Top 100. By comparison, the Commodores had a non-conference RPI of 3 with a 21-3 non-conference mark, along with an SOS of 20, and records of 8-6 vs. RPI Top 25, 18-14 vs. RPI Top 50 and 24-15 vs. RPI Top 100. Comparing those two resumes, while also factoring in quality of non-conference schedules, you be the judge. If Vandy gets through the single elimination aspect of the SEC tournament, LSU has more of a chance of taking a host site from someone like Louisville than overcoming the 'Dores.
• AT-LARGE TEAMS TO WATCH: Some teams that just missed the cut in the first edition of our projections for this week include Tennessee, West Virginia, Illinois, N.C. State, Wake Forest, Duke, Cal State Fullerton, UC Santa Barbara, Southern Mississippi, UC Riverside and Stanford, among others.
• NOTEWORTHY: This will be one of three projections throughout the week. Another set of projections will be released Friday afternoon, while the final projections will go up Sunday early evening ... Our postseason coverage will continue each day, even those days without projections, with a complete breakdown of the postseason situations as they change.
BIDS BY CONFERENCE: SEC (10), ACC (7), Big 12 (5), Pac-12 (4), Missouri Valley (3), American Athletic (3), Big West (3), Mountain West (3), Big Ten (2), Conference USA (2), Atlantic Sun (2)