Few chances remain for bubble teams
This seemed a lot clearer last week, before Rice and Georgia Tech struggled over the weekend. The top six are still solid, and the last two spots boil down to two separate debates.
First, who gets the second spot in the ACC. Georgia Tech has a gaudy RPI but finished fourth in the conference, while Florida State took the regular-season title with a less impressive RPI. The Seminoles can make this a moot point if they win the ACC tournament, as that should wrap up a national seed.
This will sound like a broken record, but the other debate is in the SEC. LSU has most likely already wrapped up one of the spots, so it comes down to Ole Miss and Florida. This one could be settled in Hoover, as the Rebels and Gators are on the same side of the bracket. For now, the Ole Miss series win at Florida is enough to pick up the last national seed.
Lurking in the shadows is Rice -- the Owls need a lot of help (both Florida and Ole Miss losing early in the SEC tournament), but a deep run in the Conference USA tournament puts them back in the discussion.
National seeds: No. 1 Texas, No. 2 UC Irvine, No. 3 Arizona State, No. 4 LSU, No. 5 North Carolina, No. 6 Cal State Fullerton, No. 7 Georgia Tech and No. 8 Ole Miss.
The Rest of the Top 16
For the past several weeks, TCU has been a traveling No. 1 seed -- at this point, the Horned Frogs' success (as well as the late-season slump by Texas A&M) is enough to land Fort Worth the third hosting spot in Texas.
That doesn't mean the committee won't still be on the lookout for a "northern" host. Louisville has a better résumé than Ohio State, including a midweek sweep of the Buckeyes, and could merit a No. 1 seed if it sweeps through the Big East tournament.
East Carolina moves into a hosting role with a strong finish and the regular-season Conference USA crown. On the heels of sweeping Texas A&M, Oklahoma garners the second home regional from the Big 12.
The other eight hosts (in alphabetical order): Clemson, East Carolina, Florida, Florida State, Louisville, Oklahoma, Rice and TCU.
And Everyone Else
It really seems as if the bubble is a lot smaller than normal this season. College of Charleston looks to be set up for disappointment again, as it slumped to finish fifth in the Southern Conference. None of the other "bubble out" teams has much to complain about if it doesn't make the field. There are usually three or four upsets in conference tournaments that shake things up, so of the last five in, Western Carolina and Baylor have the least to worry about.
Last five in (least secure first): BYU, Troy, Southeastern Louisiana, Baylor and Western Carolina.
First nine out (best chance first): College of Charleston, Duke, Stanford, New Mexico, UC Riverside, Hawaii, Tulane, Oklahoma State and Auburn.
The Field of 64
National seed regionals are shown next to the regional that they match up with for super regionals:
No. 1 Texas
|Forth Worth Regional
No. 8 Ole Miss
|Baton Rouge Regional
No. 4 LSU
|Chapel Hill Regional
No. 5 North Carolina
No. 3 Arizona State
No. 6 Cal State Fullerton
San Diego State
San Jose State
No. 2 UC Irvine
No. 7 Georgia Tech