We're just a few days away from the NCAA Division I Selection Committee convening in Indianapolis, Ind., and putting together the field of 64, and of course, ordering the always-important protected top eight national seeds.
Though the postseason picture is always fluid throughout the week of conference tournaments, we'll update how we view the national seed and hosting situations after each day of action.
Here's Saturday's report, which includes a roundup of the national seeds, regional hosts and teams trending up or down when it comes to postseason at-large bids.
1. Florida: The Gators were very impressive in their win over Mississippi State at the SEC tournament. UF has an RPI of 2, a 39-20 overall record and are an amazing 17-9 vs. RPI Top 25 in addition to a 24-14 mark vs. RPI Top 50.
2. Oregon State: The Beavers suffered a tough loss to USC on the road to begin the weekend, but still are a lock to be a national seed. OSU has an RPI of 5 with a 13-4 road record, 8-2 record vs. RPI Top 25 and 13-5 mark vs. RPI Top 50.
3. Virginia: Sitting at 1-1 after two games at the ACC tournament, the Cavaliers remain a lock for a national seed, sitting at an RPI of 1, along with a 44-12 overall record and 14-7 mark vs. RPI Top 50 teams.
4. Florida State: The Seminoles split their first two games at the ACC tournament. With an RPI of 4, it’s hard to imagine the ‘Noles not being a national seed, but the resume isn’t overwhelming. Still, even with a loss to Virginia on Saturday, FSU likely still would be a national seed. If there’s a potential surprise, it would be FSU falling out of the top eight on Selection Monday. FSU is 5-7 vs. RPI Top 25, 13-12 vs. RPI Top 50 and had a non-conference RPI of 9.
5. Indiana: The only way the Hoosiers were dropping out of a national seed was a poor performance in the Big Ten tournament. IU, though, has been terrific in Omaha so far this week and its RPI is up to 3 with a 40-13 overall record. Indiana is 18-8 on the road, 8-7 vs. RPI Top 50 and has a SOS of 36. I think it’s safe to put IU down as a top eight lock.
6. Louisiana-Lafayette: Those hoping the Cajuns would stumble badly in the Sun Belt tournament were badly mistaken. ULL only has continued to experience success, sitting in pretty shape with an RPI of 6, overall record of 51-7 and an astonishing 22-2 road record. ULL does have an SOS of 124, but is conference affiliation really its fault?
7. TCU: The Big 12 has the nation’s No. 2 conference strength of schedule, and should be rewarded accordingly. Though Oklahoma State’s RPI is 19 and within striking distance of being a national seed, for now, we’re giving the slightest of edges to the Frogs. Things could change, though, if the Pokes can advance to Sunday’s Big 12 tourney title game. The Frogs have a very good resume. TCU has a 29 SOS, a 29 non-conference RPI to go with an 18-8 road record, 13-2 mark in its last 15 games, and a 7-6 record vs. RPI Top 25, 15-8 mark vs. RPI Top 50 and 24-11 mark vs. RPI Top 100. TCU, by the way, finished the regular season just a game out of first place behind OSU.
8. Mississippi: This was a very tough decision between the Rebels and Hurricanes, but we’re giving the slightest of edges to the Rebels. For starters, the Rebels finished second in the nation’s No. 1 RPI conference (the ACC is third behind the Big 12), and the overall resume is slightly better than Miami. For instance, the Rebels had a 16 SOS, non-conference RPI of 13, 16-10 road record, 10-5 mark in last 15, and a 6-7 record vs. RPI Top 25, 15-12 record vs. RPI Top 50 and 24-15 record vs. RPI Top 100.
Miami: The Hurricanes are out as a national seed for Saturday, but things could change with a strong finish in the ACC tournament. Miami has an RPI of 16, non-conference RPI of 24 and an SOS of 21. The ‘Canes also are 4-5 vs. RPI Top 25, 11-11 vs. RPI Top 50 and 22-12 vs. RPI Top 100. Miami won the ACC regular season title, so it being a national seed on Selection Monday wouldn’t exactly be a huge surprise.
Cal Poly: Out of the top eight for now, but with Big West Conference commissioner Dennis Farrell on the committee, don’t count out the Mustangs for a surprise national seed. Hosting is a lock at this point, while the Mustangs have an RPI of 15, are 45-10 overall and 4-4 vs. RPI Top 50. Cal Poly’s resume lacks star power, but if ULL is in the mix for a national seed, so should the Mustangs.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks likely fell out as a top eight national seed with a poor showing in Hoover, but with an RPI of 13 and 15-11 mark vs. RPI Top 50, they remain safely in as an NCAA Regional host.
Rice: The only way the Owls were losing an NCAA Regional host site was to struggle in the CUSA tournament. Instead, they’ve played a tremendous brand of baseball. The Owls have an RPI of 9, are 39-17 and have played an impressive 10 SOS.
Louisiana State: We moved the Tigers back into the mix as an NCAA Regional host, and with them in the driver’s seat in the SEC tournament, things are looking up from a hosting standpoint. LSU has an RPI of 12, is 42-14 overall and is 14-12 vs. RPI Top 50, along with a 7-3 mark in its last 10 games.
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys are a couple of RPI places away from being squarely in the mix for a national seed. OSU has an RPI of 19, are 43-15 overall and have a 6-4 record vs. RPI Top 25, 15-5 mark vs. RPI Top 50 and 26-13 record vs. RPI Top 100. The only drawback for OSU is an SOS of 68, but a Big 12 regular season title should trump that in the eyes of the committee. OSU could enter the top eight by winning a pair of games over Texas to advance to the Big 12 tournament title game.
Washington: With Texas surging, the Big 12 being a higher-rated power conference, and the Huskies sitting at 22 in the RPI, this host site could be in the danger zone. UW’s overall resume isn’t as impressive as the Longhorns’, and it is in the midst of a three-game losing streak. The Huskies, who are second in the Pac-12, need to finish the weekend with a series win over UCLA to feel ultra confident moving into Sunday night.
Vanderbilt: We gave the slightest of edge to the Commodores over Texas, but should UT beat Oklahoma State on Saturday, and win the Big 12 tournament, our minds could change on this one. The two have very comparable resumes, with the Commodores carrying an RPI of 8 with a 8-8 mark vs. RPI Top 25, 19-16 record vs. RPI Top 50 and 25-17 record vs. RPI Top 100. VU also has a non-conference RPI of 2 (Texas at 4) and non-conference record of 23-3 (Texas at 23-5).
Others considered: Texas, Louisville, Houston
Cal State Fullerton: I made the move and put the Titans in the field of 64 after a series-opening win over Cal State Northridge on Thursday. Well, the red-hot Titans only improved their case with a Justin Garza no-hitter, series-clinching win over the Matadors. Fullerton is up to 52 in the RPI with a 10-6 record vs. RPI Top 50 and 15-17 mark vs. RPI Top 100. The Titans, of course, played a rigorous non-conference schedule and tallied some nice wins, including a road series sweep over Oregon early in the season.
UC Santa Barbara: We have Cal Poly, Cal State Fullerton, UC Irvine and Long Beach State getting into the field of 64, so that means the Gauchos are sitting pretty with five postseason bids should UCSB join the mix. UCSB is likely out of luck at this point, but it still has a chance with an RPI of 51, 11-11 vs. RPI Top 100 teams and a 7-3 mark in their last 10 contests. What really holds UCSB back at this point is an 11-12 league record, which obviously could improve to .500 by finishing off a series sweep over UC Davis tomorrow.
Stanford: There’s no doubt the Cardinal was left for dead a couple of weeks ago. However, the Cardinal is one win away from winning four-straight series to end the regular season, beating Utah 5-0 on Friday. Stanford’s RPI is up to 45 with a 9-15 mark vs. RPI Top 50 and 12-19 mark vs. RPI Top 100. Though those metrics are unimpressive, Stanford did play the nation’s No. 19 SOS. The Cardinal needs another win or two against the Utes to have a legitimate shot to get in the field. In addition, the Cardinal is still sixth in the Pac-12, a full game behind USC.
Illinois: The Fighting Illini suffered a tough loss to Michigan State to get eliminated from the Big Ten tournament with a 1-2 record. A losing record in the conference tournament certainly doesn’t help their chances to get into the field of 64, but how much did it hurt? We get the feeling the Illini is still on the good side of the bubble. Why, you ask? Well, the bubble just isn’t very strong right now, the Illini took a road series from Florida earlier in the season, and they have an RPI of 55 with a winning record vs. RPI Top 50. What gives me pause about the Illini right now is 13 losses vs. RPI 101-200 teams, but on the flip side, the Illini went 17-7 in the Big Ten and were in the fight atop the league much of the season.
New Mexico: The Lobos will have a fighting chance to get into the NCAA postseason, but it’s not as crystal clear as it once was. UNM finished the regular season with series wins over San Diego State, Nevada and Air Force, winning the Mountain West regular season crown. However, the Lobos also went 0-2 in the MWC tournament with a tough 9-4 loss to Nevada to end it. So, New Mexico’s resume boils down to a couple of things: UNM has an RPI of 61 with a 7-10 record vs. RPI Top 50 and 8-11 mark vs. RPI Top 100. Obviously not impressive marks, but the committee always seems to place importance on winning the conference regular season title. So, which scenario wins out in this scenario? We’ll find out.
UC Irvine: Given the fact the Anteaters were still leading the Big West a couple of weeks ago, it’s hard to imagine them missing the NCAA postseason. Perhaps it’s possible, though. UCI is 35-21 after yet another loss to Long Beach State, dropping to 41 in the RPI with a 5-10 mark vs. RPI Top 50 and 13-15 record vs. RPI Top 100. You’d think the ‘Eaters were safely in, but they’ve lost five-straight contests and are 3-7 in their last 10, both metrics the NCAA Selection Committee won’t like.
North Carolina: At the end of the day, I still think the Tar Heels are getting into the NCAA postseason with an RPI of 42 and finishing the regular season with a winning conference record. However, Mike Fox’s club isn’t making things easy after losing to Virginia, 3-2, and falling to 0-2 in the ACC tournament. UNC desperately needs to defeat Maryland in the tourney finale to avoid giving the committee second thoughts. UNC, though, does hold a bargaining chip with Larry Gallo, the executive associate athletic director for UNC, on the committee.
Old Dominion: Chris Finwood’s Monarchs compiled just a 17-13 Conference USA record this spring, putting themselves on the bubble despite having a surprisingly high RPI. Well, his Monarchs are helping their postseason case out in Hattiesburg, Miss., here the past couple of days, improving to 2-1 in the tournament with an elimination game win over Middle Tennessee State. ODU now faces Rice (and must beat the Owls twice) for a chance to play in the C-USA tourney title game with UTSA and Southern Mississippi remaining alive in the other half of the bracket. ODU has an impressive RPI of 34 and is 3-6 vs. RPI Top 50 and 21-18 vs. RPI Top 100 clubs. Those are two very interesting metrics.
Southern California: The Trojans likely lost any chance for grabbing an at-large bid with a blowout loss to Cal State Fullerton earlier this week, but is keeping hope alive after a 4-2 series-opening win over Oregon State. USC, which has an RPI of 64, could potentially be a surprise team in the field. After all, not all of its metrics are bad. For instance, the Trojans have an RPI of 64 with a 15-13 record in the Pac-12. However, USC is hindered by a poor 7-15 mark vs. RPI Top 50 and 9-19 record vs. RPI Top 100 clubs.
Southern Mississippi: The Golden Eagles still need to make the Conference USA title game, or win the automatic bid to get into the postseason, to have chances to make the postseason. USM is behind Old Dominion in the pecking order for a second C-USA at-large bid, so has some work to do. USM has an RPI of 65 with a 5-8 mark vs. RPI Top 50, but a solid 17-14 mark vs. RPI Top 100 teams. By comparison, ODU enters Saturday’s action with an RPI of 36.
• Loyola Marymount was hot down the stretch in the regular season and entered the WCC tournament as one of the two favorites to win the four-team conference tournament. Well, Pepperdine, which already is a lock to be in the NCAA postseason, defeated Jason Gill’s Lions 4-1 to get fastened into the driver’s seat. LMU gets a rematch against the Waves tomorrow night for the WCC crown. Bubble teams everywhere definitely want the Waves to be victorious, as an LMU victory would take away a bid, giving the WCC two overall postseason bids.
• Not everything is great news for the bubble teams out there. In the Southland Conference tournament, top-seeded Sam Houston State, which will be in the field no matter what, dropped a 4-1 decision to Northwestern State. The Bearkats have an RPI of 35 with a 7-5 mark vs. RPI Top 50 and 14-8 record vs. RPI Top 100 — both solid metrics. That means the SLC will be a two-bid league.
• Dallas Baptist was pushed to the brink on Friday, losing an earlier game to Missouri State on the day, while bouncing back in the second game with a 9-4 victory to advance to the MVC tourney title game. With an RPI of 30, the Patriots likely are a lock to be in the field. However, the overall resume isn’t special with a 2-9 mark vs. RPI Top 50 and 13-15 mark vs. RPI Top 100. Should Illinois State, which has an RPI of 81, win the MVC automatic bid, that would knock one bubble team out of the mix.