• The race for the final two or three national seeds is hot and heavy with only a couple of weeks separating us from Selection Monday. Barring a huge surprise this weekend and in conference tournaments, there are four teams we feel like are virtual locks for national seeds: Virginia, Oregon State, Florida and Florida State, with the Seminoles the most vulnerable of the four, especially if the committee only wants two ACC national seeds with Miami also in the running. Indiana has a top five RPI and is in terrific shape for a national seed with a non-conference RPI of 12, while Louisiana-Lafayette remains firmly in there as a top eight national seed. There are some concerns about the Ragin' Cajuns' resume despite a fantastic overall record and top 10 RPI. For instance, the Cajuns are just 3-1 vs. RPI Top 25 and 50 teams, combined, while they're 12-4 vs. RPI Top 100. If there's a team firmly in right now, but could get pushed out by Selection Monday, it's the Cajuns.
• Other teams in the mix for national seeds include TCU, Vanderbilt, Houston, Rice and South Carolina, while Cal Poly and Washington also could hop into the mix with strong finishes the next two weekends. The Mustangs and Huskies, of course, don't have conference tournaments, thus will participate in two more regular season series. Here's a complete breakdown of some of the national seed candidates in my latest column “The anatomy of a national seed”.
• There are a few changes from an NCAA Regional hosting standpoint this week. For instance, LSU, Liberty and Louisville are no longer hosts. The Tigers are down to 20 in the latest RPI and are hindered by just an OK conference resume, while losing last weekend's series finale against Alabama due to weather hurts. Louisville dropped all the way down to 18 after losing one game of a road series against Temple, while Liberty is squarely still in the mix, but was passed over by teams such as Oklahoma State, Vanderbilt and Houston. OSU leads the Big 12 Conference. And though the Cowboys only have an RPI of 24, the overall resume stacks up well with a 6-3 mark vs. RPI Top 25, 15-4 mark vs. RPI Top 50 and 21-10 record vs. RPI Top 100. Meanwhile, the Commodores surged to seven in the RPI, and, too, have an impressive resume, while Houston, which has the best non-conference RPI in the country, moved in as a host after sweeping Connecticut on the road. The Cougars vaulted to the top five in the RPI after finishing a season sweep of rival Rice earlier this week in midweek action.
• One thing obvious about the current field of 64 is that it's a strong group. Some will say, “yeah, well, sure, it's supposed to be”. But here's what I mean: Typically, the No. 4 seeds are teams with somewhat bad RPI figures. But that's not the case for a lot of teams right now. For instance, Columbia has an RPI of 43, Bryant has an RPI of 36 and Ball State, Evansville and Western Carolina have RPIs of 55, 56 and 57, respectively. Some would call it fool's gold, but we'll soon have our answer.
• Old Dominion, Long Beach State, San Diego State and Dallas Baptist were my last four teams in this week's postseason field, while Tennessee, Illinois, San Diego and UAB are the first four teams out.
Bids by conference: SEC (10), ACC (8), Big 12 (6), Pac-12 (4), Missouri Valley (3), American Athletic (3), Big West (3), Mountain West (3), Big Ten (2), Conference USA (2).