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College  | Story  | 5/13/2014

The anatomy of a national seed

Kendall Rogers     

The postseason situation for almost everyone around the country is still very fluid, but this time of year, we get a hefty number of questions about national seeds.

Is my team a national seed this week?

What does my team need to do to become a national seed?

How many more games do we need to win to become a national seed?

Those are all questions that load up my email inbox right now. And with that in mind, I went back and researched the last five seasons to see which teams and conferences earned national seeds, while also breaking down the individual resumes for all of the national seeds for the past four seasons.

Though this feature gives college baseball fans an idea of what the committee expects from a national seed from a resume standpoint, it obviously doesn't account for the human element – the NCAA Selection Committee.

All metrics used in this breakdown come from the NCAA's official worksheets.

PART I: National seeds by conference affiliation

College baseball fans are always asking about national seeds, specifically, how many national seeds Conference X should expect to get on Selection Monday. Though the number of national seeds a conference receives changes year to year, here's an inside look at the breakdown over the past five seasons.

Something interesting to take away from the breakdown is that while some have reserves about the Atlantic Coast Conference getting three national seeds in Virginia, Florida State and Miami, it's not that uncommon with the league earning three national seeds in two of the last five seasons. Virginia is a virtual lock for a national seed right now, while Florida State and Miami have similar resumes, with the Seminoles having the higher RPI and head-to-head series win over the Hurricanes. Still, Miami has an excellent case for a national seed with a high RPI, good resume, and of course, the best conference record in the ACC.


SEC – 2 (Florida, LSU)

Big 12 – 2 (Texas, Oklahoma)

Big West – 2 (Cal State Fullerton, UC Irvine)

ACC – 1 (North Carolina)

Pac-12  - 1 (Arizona State)

Like last season, the Cavaliers are expected to be a national seed. (UVa. photo)


ACC – 2 (Virginia, Georgia Tech)

Pac 12 – 2 (Arizona State, UCLA)

Big 12  – 1 (Texas)

Big East – 1 (Louisville)

SEC – 1 (Florida)

Big South – 1 (Coastal Carolina)


ACC – 3 (Virginia, North Carolina, Florida State)

SEC – 3 (Florida, South Carolina, Vanderbilt)

Big 12 – 1 (Texas)

Conference USA – 1 (Rice)


SEC – 3 (Florida, LSU, South Carolina)

ACC – 2 (Florida State, North Carolina)

Pac 12 – 2 (UCLA, Oregon)

Big 12 – 1 (Baylor)


ACC – 3 (North Carolina, Virginia, Florida State)

SEC – 2 (Vanderbilt, LSU)

Pac 12 – 2 (Oregon State, Oregon)

Big West – 1 (Cal State Fullerton)

PART II: Resumes of those national seeds

One of the most important aspects of the postseason selection process is how teams stack up from an RPI Top 25, RPI Top 50 and RPI Top 100 standpoint. Here's a breakdown of how all those national seeds over the past four years stacked up resume-wise.

Teams with some sort of losing mark as part of their resume are indicated in bold/italics. As you'll notice, only six of the 32 national seeds over the last four seasons had losing marks in a category.


1. Arizona State – RPI: 1, 16-5 vs. RT25, 27-9 vs. RT50, 38-10 vs. RT100, Non-conf RPI: 1

2. Texas – RPI: 3, 7-3 vs. RT25, 20-7 vs. RT50, 36-12 vs. RT100, Non-conf RPI: 16

3. Florida – RPI: 2, 19-12 vs. RT25, 27-16 vs. RT50, 38-16 vs. RT100, Non-conf RPI: 5

4. Coastal Carolina – RPI: 5, 2-3 vs. RT25, 13-6 vs. R50, 31-9 vs. RT100, Non-conf RPI: 6

5. Virginia – RPI: 4, 14-7 vs. RT25, 22-10 vs. RT50, 31-13 vs. RT100, Non-conf RPI: 14

6. UCLA – RPI: 6, 12-11 vs. RT25, 22-16 vs. RT50, 37-17 vs. RT100, Non-conf RPI: 3

7. Louisville – RPI: 12, 3-4 vs. RT25, 8-6 vs. RT50, 19-11 vs. RT100, Non-conf RPI: 4

8. Georgia Tech – RPI: 10, 10-6 vs. RT25, 15-12 vs. RT50, 25-12 vs. RT100, Non-conf RPI: 17


1. Virginia – RPI: 3, 12-6 vs. RT25, 18-8 vs. RT50, 25-8 vs. RT100, Non-conf RPI: 4

2. Florida – RPI: 2, 15-12 vs. RT25, 25-14 vs. RT50, 33-15 vs. RT100, Non-conf RPI: 7

3. North Carolina – RPI: 1, 11-7 vs. RT25, 15-10 vs. RT50, 31-14 vs. RT100, Non-conf RPI: 1

4. South Carolina – RPI: 6, 10-7 vs. RT25, 19-11 vs. RT50, 25-12 vs. RT100, Non-conf RPI: 5

5. Florida State – RPI: 5, 15-12 vs. RT25, 19-14 vs. RT50, 26-16 vs. RT100, Non-conf RPI: 2

6. Vanderbilt – RPI: 4, 14-8 vs. RT25, 22-9 vs. RT50, 26-9 vs. RT100, Non-conf RPI: 3

7. Texas – RPI: 11, 6-3 vs. RT25, 19-7 vs. RT25, 31-13 vs. RT100, Non-conf RPI: 11

8. Rice – RPI: 12, 8-6 vs. RT25, 13-10 vs. RT50, 29-17 vs. RT100, Non-conf RPI: 12


1. Florida – RPI: 2, 21-10 vs. RT25, 23-13 vs. RT50, 33-16 vs. RT100, Non-conf RPI: 2

2. UCLA – RPI: 1, 12-8 vs. RT25, 15-12 vs. RT50, 29-14 vs. RT100, Non-conf RPI: 1

3. Florida State – RPI: 13-6 vs. RT25, 21-11 vs. RT50, 26-14 vs. RT100, Non-conf RPI: 6

4. Baylor – RPI: 4, 4-2 vs. RT25, 9-10 vs. RT50, 30-11 vs. RT100, Non-conf RPI: 11

5. Oregon – RPI: 6, 12-3 vs. RT25, 15-8 vs. RT50, 28-16 vs. RT100, Non-conf RPI: 9

6. North Carolina – RPI:  8, 7-7 vs. RT25, 22-9 vs. RT50, 27-10 vs. RT100, Non-conf RPI: 17

7. LSU – RPI:  10, 11-9 vs. R25, 15-12 vs. RT50, 22-16 vs. RT100, Non-conf RPI: 16

8. South Carolina – RPI: 7, 9-11 vs. RT25, 13-13 vs. RT50, 21-14 vs. RT100, Non-conf RPI: 14


1. North Carolina – RPI: 1, 15-7 vs. RT25, 25-8 vs. R50, 36-8 vs. R100, Non-conf RPI: 1

2. Vanderbilt – RPI: 2, 15-3 vs. RT25, 24-5 vs. RT50, 30-8 vs. RT100, Non-conf RPI: 5

3. Oregon State – RPI: 5, 6-4 vs. RT25, 12-7 vs. RT50, 23-9 vs. RT100, Non-conf RPI: 23-9

4. LSU – RPI: 4, 11-5 vs. RT25, 27-12 vs. RT50, 34-9 vs. RT100, Non-conf RPI: 9

5. Cal State Fullerton – RPI: 6, 6-2 vs. RT25, 12-4 vs. RT50, 27-5 vs. R100, Non-conf RPI: 3

6. Virginia – RPI: 16-8 vs. RT25, 19-9 vs. RT50, 30-9 vs. RT100, Non-conf RPI: 13

7. Florida State – RPI: 10, 10-13 vs. RT25, 14-15 vs. R50, 24-14 vs. RT100, Non-conference RPI: 4

8. Oregon – RPI: 11, 6-10 vs. RT25, 6-10 vs. RT50, 20-10 vs. RT100, Non-conference RPI: 7

Part III: How today's national seed candidates stack up

The postseason picture is much clearer than it was a few weeks ago, and teams we believe are locks to be national seeds, barring collapse, include Virginia, Oregon State, Florida, Florida State, Indiana, and potentially Louisiana-Lafayette as well. With six of the eight national seeds, at least in our eyes, accounted for at this point, here's a complete breakdown of all the teams we feel are vying for two of the eight national seeds.

Though they aren't included, watch out for Cal Poly and Oklahoma State. The Mustangs are within striking distance to get into the national seed picture, while OSU, with an RPI of 24, needs a lot of help over the next two weeks, but has a chance to sneak into the mix if it can get into the top 18 in the RPI. Washington also could get back in the mix with a series win over Oregon State this weekend.

Miami (Fla.) – RPI: 10, Non-Conference RPI 41, Conference record: 22-5, 4-5 vs. RT25, 9-8 vs. RT50, 20-9 vs. R100

The Hurricanes didn't start the season on an incredibly positive note, so that's why you see a higher than expected non-conference RPI. However, the 'Canes have the best record in the ACC, and history suggests they're more than capable of being a national seed. We have them in as one of the eight national seeds this week.

Mississippi – RPI: 15, Non-conference RPI 22, Conference record: 17-10 (second), 5-7 vs. RT25, 14-11 vs. RT50, 18-13 vs. RT100

The Rebels might soon be the leader for the tough luck award. As of right now, the Rebels are second in the SEC, and that definitely would strike the NCAA Selection Committee as loud. However, there's a little problem, and it's two-fold. First, only two teams (UC Irvine and Oklahoma in 2009) with RPIs lower than 12 have earned national seeds in the last five years, while Vanderbilt and South Carolina, both teams with higher RPIs, play this weekend in Nashville, Tenn. My feeling is Vanderbilt is in terrific shape for a national seed if it takes that series, while the Gamecocks would certainly improve their chances. If I'm an Ole Miss fan, I'm rooting for a Gamecocks road series win, while sweeping A&M on the road.

TCU – RPI: 13, Non-conference RPI 37, Conference record: 15-6 (second), 7-6 vs. RT25, 14-8 vs. RT50, 19-10 vs. RT100

The NCAA Selection Committee loves red-hot teams, and the Horned Frogs meet that criteria as winners of 14 of their last 15 contests. The Frogs still can win the Big 12 regular season crown, and that comes down to the final weekend of the regular season with Oklahoma State. Should the Frogs take care of business this weekend and show up in the Big 12 tournament, they'd absolutely be making an outstanding case for a national seed. I have to admit, I'm really intrigued to see who doesn't get one of the remaining two national seeds. There are some outstanding teams, such as TCU, in the mix right now.

Vanderbilt – RPI: 7, Non-conference RPI: 7, Conference record: 16-11 (third), 7-4 vs. RT25, 17-12 vs. R50, 22-14 vs. R100

I'll be frank when it comes to the Commodores. If Vanderbilt finishes the regular season with a home series win over South Carolina, I'll go ahead and say it: It will be a favorite to nab a national seed entering the conference tournament. Vandy is 11-4 in its last 15 games and is playing a terrific brand of baseball. Vandy, at least from my perspective, controls its own destiny moving forward.

Houston – RPI: 8, Non-conference RPI: 1, Conference record: 13-8 (third), 4-5 vs. RT25, 8-8 vs. RT50, 16-9 vs. R100

In my opinion, the Cougars control their own destiny when it comes to hosting an NCAA Regional. Sure, the Cougars are third in the American Athletic Conference, but assuming they take care of Temple this weekend, you're talking about a top 10 RPI team with the top non-conference RPI in the nation. That's good enough. Oh yeah, those Cougars also have a season series sweep over Rice, so if it comes down to that, nod UH.

Rice – RPI: 6, Non-conference RPI: 18, Conference record: 20-7 (first), 3-6 vs. RT25, 8-10 vs. RT50, 23-15 vs. RT100

The Owls have put together an impressive campaign despite a serious rash of injuries on the mound, and that should be commended. But for now, I have the Owls behind a few others in the national seed pecking order. Rice will need to finish the regular season on a high note, take care of business in the Conference USA tournament, then just hope a few teams slip up. The one thing that will be impressive to the committee is the Owls haven't skipped a beat without starting pitchers Jordan Stephens and Zech Lemond.

South Carolina – RPI: 12, Non-conference RPI: 9, Conference record: 16-11 (third), 6-6 vs. RT25, 14-10 vs. RT50, 18-11 vs.  RT100

The Gamecocks are tied with a few other teams, namely Vanderbilt, for third place in the SEC. It's pretty simple for the Gamecocks: Win the Vanderbilt series on the road, and the committee will be hard-pressed to put them in as one of the top eight national seeds. The struggle for the Gamecocks could be the SEC tournament. Here recently, the Gamecocks have struggled immensely in the conference tourney, and that needs to change to grab a national seed.