Mississippi State -- Fans of the maroon and white have inquired about the Bulldogs’ hosting chance quite a bit the past few days. Though it very much still is a situation where we’d be very surprised if State garnered a host site, it at least will be in the discussion with the NCAA Selection Committee. The Bulldogs are 38-22 with an RPI of 20. If you’re looking for a big surprise Sunday afternoon, this could be it. But I certainly wouldn’t be counting on it.
East Carolina -- The Pirates took a significant step back the first couple of days of the Conference USA tournament with losses to Tulane and Central Florida by a combined score of 15-4. However, they responded in a big way in the tournament finale against UAB. With an RPI of 29, perhaps the Pirates make the field. But there’s also this little note: ECU is 4-6 in its last 10 contests.
St. John’s -- The Johnnies could take care of their situation once and for all on Sunday with a win over South Florida in the Big East tournament title game. However, they also could make the field regardless of what happens tomorrow. It would be somewhat surprising, but it’s possible with an RPI of 50 and 6-4 record in their last 10 contests. Being a northern team will help the Johnnies, too.
Purdue -- It would’ve been a long shot had it not happened, but there was some talk about the Boilermakers potentially losing their NCAA Regional host spot by losing the Iowa series and not going the distance in the Big Ten tournament. However, they played extremely well in the tourney and should be a lock to host. At the least, the Boilermakers have clinched a No. 1 seed with a 43-12 record, 7-3 in their last 10 games.
North Carolina -- It’s hard to imagine the Tar Heels could’ve lost their national seed by losing a single game to North Carolina State at the ACC tournament, but lasting impressions, especially when it comes to the NCAA Selection Committee, can sometimes mean a lot. That’s why taking care of business against rival N.C. State on Saturday, and keeping them out of the ACC title game in the process, was such a big deal. UNC is in terrific shape for a national seed.
HURT ITS CASE
Southeastern Louisiana -- The Lions certainly have been through this situation before in the past and lost out in disappointing fashion. Well, they’ve put the decision in the committee’s hands after dropping a tough bout to Texas-Arlington. The Lions have put together a very respectable resume this season, but the committee must give the Southland Conference some respect. Right now, the Lions have an RPI of 56 with 39 wins. It will be close.
Tulane -- The Green Wave had a golden opportunity this weekend to solidify their spot in the NCAA postseason. However, they really struggled at the Conference USA tourney, dropping bouts to UCF and UAB after winning a contest over East Carolina. I get the feeling one C-USA bid will go to either Tulane or East Carolina. The Green Wave has an RPI of 63 and is 6-4 in their last 10 games. Again, it’ll be close.
Rice -- The Owls were somewhat of a long shot to earn a top-eight national seed going into Saturday, but they really hurt their chances with a 4-2 loss to Southern Mississippi. With the loss, the Owls are down to 18 in the RPI. Rice shouldn’t seriously be in the running for a national seed, but they’re an absolute lock to host the first round. Rice is 6-4 in its last 10 games.
Michigan State -- The Spartans are one of those extremely tough teams to figure out come Selection Monday. MSU played a decent non-conference schedule and racked up 37 wins with an RPI of 45. However, it went just 2-2 at the Big Ten tournament and is 5-5 in its last 10 games. The Spartans are one of those northern teams that could easily get into the field, but it’s always tough to gauge exactly what the committee is thinking.
Stanford -- The Cardinal was in prime position to swoop in this weekend and perhaps steal someone’s national seed. However, they’ve taken a huge step back this weekend with a pair of losses to California. Stanford certainly isn’t in any danger not to host, but a national seed definitely is a very long shot. Still, this is a dangerous team to watch as the postseason nears.
NATIONAL SEEDS (as of Sunday morning, no order)
Others to watch: North Carolina State, Virginia, Kentucky
Long shots: Stanford, Rice, Texas A&M
REGIONAL HOSTS (as of Sunday morning)
North Carolina State
Others to watch: Cal State Fullerton, Mississippi State,
Long shots: Miami