Outlook for national seeds, hosts in NCAA Baseball Tournament

Indiana has done everything it can. The Hoosiers won both the Big Ten regular season and tournament titles. They have a 43-14 record, the No. 12 ranking in the Baseball America Top 25 and the No. 13 mark in the RPI. They have an automatic bid sewn up and it appears highly likely that they will be one of the 16 regional hosts. There is still a chance they could be one of the top eight seeds, which would mean they could also host a Super Regional should they advance that far.

With that in mind, here’s a look at the race for both the national seed and the 16 regional host spots. The hosts and seeds will be released at 9 p.m. tonight and the rest of the tournament bracket will be laid out at noon Monday. 

National Seed Locks

North Carolina — 52-8, No. 6 in Baseball America poll, No. 1 in RPI, 22-7 in the ACC, ACC regular season and tournament champions. No. 5 strength of schedule 25-8 against RPI Top 50, 36-8 against RPI Top 100

Vanderbilt — 51-8, No. 1 in Baseball America Poll, No. 2 in RPI, 26-3 in SEC, SEC regular season champions, playing Louisiana State for SEC title, No. 21 strength of schedule, 24-4 vs. RPI Top 50, 30-7 against RPI Top 100.

Louisiana State — 51-9, No. 2 in Baseball America Poll, No. 5 in RPI, 23-7 in SEC, playing Vanderbilt for SEC Tournament title,No. 38 strength of schedule, 27-8 against RPI Top 50, 33-9 against RPI Top 100

Cal State Fullerton — 48-8, No. 3 in Baseball America Poll, No. 6 in RPI, 23-4 in Big West, Big West regular season champions, No. 51 strength of schedule, 12-4 vs. RPI Top 50, 24-5 against RPI Top 100

Virginia — 47-10, No 5 in Baseball America Poll, No. 3 in the RPI, 22-8 in the ACC, No. 10 strength of schedule, 19-9 against RPI Top 50, 30-9 against RPI Top 100

Oregon State — 44-10, No. 4 in Baseball America Poll, No. 4 in the RPI, 24-6 in the Pac-12, Pac-12 regular season champions, No. 33 strength of schedule. 11-6 against RPI Top 50, 23-9 against RPI Top 100.

Skinny: These six teams are the absolute sure things. They’ve been at or near the top of all of the polls and the RPI all season, They were set to be national seeds regardless of what happened in their conference tournaments or their final regular season series, but stepped up anyway. North Carolina won a hard-fought ACC title, needing 18 innings to beat North Carolina State to reach the ACC title game on Saturday night, then handling Virginia Tech on Sunday. Vanderbilt is playing LSU for the SEC title at the moment, which could determine how those teams end up seeded. Regardless, these teams have been the undisputed class of college baseball.

SURE THING REGIONAL HOSTS/FRINGE NATIONAL SEEDS

North Carolina State — 44-14, No. 9 in Baseball America poll, No. 7 in RPI, 19-10 in the ACC, fourth place ACC, No. 9 strength of schedule, 18-10 vs. RPI Top 50, 26-13 vs. RPI Top 100

SKINNY: The Wolfpack have a painful loss to North Carolina Greensboro on their resume, and their 19-10 ACC mark was strong but not spectacular.Eight of those losses came to Top 15 opponents in Virginia, North Carolina, Florida State and Clemson, however. The Wolfpack earned a win over the top-ranked Tar-Heels in the regular season and played them to 18 innings in the ACC Tournament. Wins over Miami and Clemson in that event might have clinched them a national seed with the power of the ACC helping their cause.

Florida State — 44-15, No. 7 in Baseball America poll, No. 8 in the RPI, 20-11 in conference, third in the ACC, No. 18 strength of schedule, 14-15 against RPI Top 50, 24-15 against RPI Top 100

Skinny: Seminoles hurt themselves by going 0-3 in the ACC Tournament and four straight losses to end the season, but they also took two out of three from both Clemson and North Carolina State in the previous three weeks. The Seminoles could be Indiana’s direct competition for the final national seed. It’s been said that the conference tournament may not factor in much, and if they don’t, FSU’s strength of schedule could carry the day. IU did match them against their lone like opponent, with both teams taking two of three from Florida.

Indiana: 43-14, No. 12 in Baseball America poll, No. 13 in the RPI, 17-7 in conference, Big Ten champions, Big Ten Tournament champions, No. 71 strength of schedule, 10-9 vs. RPI Top 50, 15-11 vs. RPI Top 100

Skinny: The Hoosiers put their best foot forward by taking the Big Ten regular season title outright and winning the Big Ten Tournament. Of course, as much respect as the conference may have gained, it’s still not considered on par with the ACC, SEC or Pac-12, so the Hoosiers are battling that. Winning two of three against both Louisville and Florida in non-conference helped but losses to Ball State (190), Northwestern (146) and Georgia Southern (146) that didn’t seem like major issues then are magnified when splitting these sort of hairs. They might keep them from a national seed, but should be enough for them to host.

Oregon: 45-14, No. 11 in Baseball America poll, No. 9 in RPI, 22-8 in Pac 12, second place in Pac-12, No. 25 strength of schedule, 6-10 vs. RPI Top 50, 18-10 vs. RPI Top 100

Skinny: Oregon has had several opportunities to make a case for a national seed and come up just short. They managed wins over Vanderbilt, Oregon State, Cal-State Fullerton and UCLA, but lost two out of three in series with all four of those teams. Also dropped two out of three at Arizona State and losses to Seattle (No. 222) and Utah (148) won’t help the cause. Forty-five wins should be enough to get the state of Oregon two regional hosts however.

Mississippi State: 43-17, No. 16 in Baseball America poll, No. 10 in RPI, 16-14 in the SEC, fifth in the SEC, reached semfinals of SEC Tournament, No. 7 strength of schedule, 21-15 against RPI Top 50, 23-17 against RPI Top 100

Skinny: The Bulldogs schedule is brutal and they took just a few too many conference losses to take a national seed. But they do boast one win over Louisiana State and taking three out of four against South Carolina this month helped the cause significantly. Their strength of schedule will be enough reason to send a regional to Starkville.

UCLA: 38-17, No 8 in Baseball America Top 25, No. 17 in RPI, 20-9 in Pac-12, third in Pac-12, No. 29 strength of schedule, 5-8 vs. RPI Top 50, 18-12 vs. RPI Top 100.

Skinny: The Bruins are still in the process of hurting themselves at Stanford, where they have already lost two games this weekend. Like Oregon, they have missed on big opportunities. UCLA took two out of three from Oregon this season, but lost two out of three at Oregon State and dropped both of its games against Cal State Fullerton. Also lost five games against teams out of the RPI Top 100. There will still likely be a regional in Westwood, but not quite a Super Regional.

Regional Hosts Out of National Seed Mix

South Carolina: 39-18, No. 17 in Baseball America Poll, No. 12 in RPI, 17-12 in SEC, fourth in SEC, No. 17 strength of schedule, 11-14 vs. RPI Top 50, 17-15 vs. RPI Top 100

Kansas State: 41-17, No. 15 in Baseball America Poll, No. 18 in RPI, 16-8 in the Big 12, Big 12 regular season champions, lost in Big 12 championship, No. 43 strength of schedule, 7-5 vs RPI Top 50, 22-13 against RPI Top 100

Louisville: 46-12, No. 10 in Baseball America poll, No. 15 in RPI, 20-4 in Big East, Big East regular season champions, 0-2 in Big East Tournament, No. 87 strength of schedule, 8-4 against RPI Top 50, 22-9 against RPI Top 100.

Virginia Tech: 38-20, No. 21 in Baseball America Top 25, No. 11 in RPI, 15-14 in ACC, sixth in ACC regular season, lost to UNC in ACC Tournament final, No. 3 strength of schedule, 13-15 vs RPI Top 50, 23-16 against RPI Top 100

 

2 comments

  1. Congrats to Coach and the players for an outstanding season! You have brought IU into collegiate baseball prominence. Well done!

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