After a disappointing performance on Saturday afternoon in the SEC Tournament semifinals which led to a 12-3 loss to Vanderbilt, Texas A&M will be anxiously awaiting the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee's decision on Monday. The Aggies have had opportunities aplenty to really solidify their hold on one of the 8 national seeds - and the right to host a regional and super regional - over the last month of the season, but they have largely failed to take advantage of them. Thursday's impressive performance against SEC Pitcher of the Year Carson Fulmer which led to a 6-1 victory over Vanderbilt did put the Aggies in a strong position heading into the final day of the season, but nothing is ever a certainty when it comes to the NCAA.
As a refresher for anyone not familiar with how the NCAA Tournament works in college baseball, a Selection Committee determines the entire field for the Tournament which will be released on Monday at 11am CST on ESPNU. The Committee will select 8 teams to receive national seeds, and 8 more teams will be selected as regional hosts. The 8 teams who receive national seeds will have the right to host a super regional should they win their hosted regional. The remaining 48 teams will be a combination of automatic berths and at-large selections to complete the tournament bracket.
Projecting the entire Field of 64 is an adventure beyond my job description, but there is some debate as to which 8 teams will receive national seeds that is extremely relevant. Let's jump in and look at the 13 teams that are theoretically in the running in the battle for a national seed. I'm going to split those 13 teams into 3 groups (really, it's 4 for me, but we'll call it 3 for simplicity's sake) - teams that should be a lock for a national seed (in green), teams that are right on the bubble (in yellow), and teams that I'd be shocked to see receive a national seed (in orange/red).
On the Bubble
My thoughts are that those 6 teams in my "locks" group are sure-fire selections as national seeds come Monday morning. I'll add a caveat that I don't necessarily think all 6 of those teams actually deserve to receive a national seed, but I fully expect they will all receive one from the Selection Committee. The real debate, for me, centers around the 4 teams in the "on the bubble" section, as those teams are likely battling for the remaining 2 spots. Some analysts have TCU as a team right there on the bubble as well, but my opinion is that TCU's uninspiring 0-2 showing in the Big 12 Tournament as well as the overall weakness of the Big 12 Conference this year will keep TCU from earning one of those national seeds.
This is my attempt to do as unbiased a look as possible at the case for and against each of the 4 teams on the national seed bubble.
- Highest RPI of 4 "bubble teams"
- Undefeated non-conference record (25-0)
- Record against RPI Top 50 & Top 25 (7-3) teams
- Weak non-conference strength of schedule
- Lost 3 of last 5 series to end the season
- 3rd place finish in regular season conference standings
- Best overall & conference record among "bubble teams"
- Won conference regular season & tournament
- 16 straight wins to end the season
- Weakest strength of schedule
- Weakest conference
- SEC East Division Winners, 2nd overall in SEC
- Top 10 strength of schedule
- Other "bubble teams" have better record vs RPI Top 25, 50
- Non-conference record less impressive at 19-7
- 19 wins against RPI Top 50
- Won ACC Conference Tournament
- Top 5 strength of schedule
- Swept by Clemson and Notre Dame during regular season
- Losing record on the road (9-12)