This is the time of year when national seeds and NCAA Regional hosts are clinched.
Several teams around the country are still vying for one of those eight elusive national seeds. For instance, both Rice and Kentucky were in great shape for national seeds just a couple of weeks ago. But the Owls have since slipped in the RPI, while UK has dropped back-to-back SEC series.
Both programs are within striking distance of earning national seeds, but they must take care of business, and they’re going to need some external help.
Though not near as intense as the race for national seeds, there are some teams vying for a couple of the final few host sites. UCF, Arkansas and Arizona lead the way in that category, with the Wildcats in the best shape heading down the stretch.
There also are those bubble teams to watch, such as Utah Valley, which is on a 28-game winning streak, and Auburn, which must close its SEC schedule on a positive note to have any chance of making the NCAA postseason.
We breakdown the situations in each of these groups, and dissect what each team should probably do to better their situations with only a few weeks until Selection Monday.
NATIONAL SEED CONTENDERS
Record: 34-13, 17 RPI
Record vs. RPI Top 25: 8-4
Record vs. RPI Top 50: 12-6
Record vs. RPI Top 100: 17-9
What needs to happen: A late-inning rally against Houston last weekend kept the Owls from entering an absolute disastrous situation. The Owls were just a couple of outs away from dropping a home series to Houston, a bad RPI team. A series loss would’ve doomed the Owls in the national seed picture. Instead, the Owls won the series, but still slipped several spots in the RPI. That’s precisely why they still have work to do. Rice will have a very strong case for a national seed should it finish the season with a home series sweep over UAB (121), a midweek win over Sam Houston State (53) and a road series win over UCF (21) to complete the regular season. The Owls have the pitching to win the national title, but the big key the final two weekends is that sometimes-anemic offense.
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