Bomber's final predictions

Just hours before the NCAA announces the field of 64 in this year's NCAA Tournament, Aggie Websider's Lanny Hayes takes his final shot at naming the eight national seeds, and gives his projection for the College Station regional lineup.

Bomber's National Seed Locks – (1) Miami, (2) North Carolina, (3) Florida State, (4) Rice, (5) Arizona State
The first four are undoubtedly the top four seeds in the overall tournament, and probably in that order. Arizona State may be passed up to the fifth seed by my highest projected "potential national seed," but I doubt it.

Bomber's Remaining National Seed Picks – Cal-State Fullerton, Louisiana State, Oklahoma State
Fullerton has done what they needed to down the stretch to earn the slot, and a second west-coast national seed will spare the committee trying to defend the RPI (and its East Coast bias) on national television. LSU is the hottest team in the country, and will get the #7 slot. There are some arguments for that last spot, and I could see some other teams going there, but OSU seems to have the overall most compelling case. They finished 2nd in the Big 12 overall, but won series with each of the Top 5 teams (2-1 over A&M, 3-1 over Nebraska, 2-1 at Missouri, 3-0 at Texas), which of course means that they struggled against the bottom of the league. Though A&M finished ahead of OSU, they don't share some of these lofty marks and the committee should reward Frank Anderson's club instead. If OSU doesn't get a national seed, it won't be due to performance against the top of the league, but struggling with bottom-feeders that cost them (1-3 vs Kansas State, 2-2 versus Baylor, home loss to Utah Valley State), and I'd give that slot to Coastal Carolina if not OSU.

Bomber's #1 seed locks – Coastal Carolina, Georgia Tech, Nebraska, Arizona, North Carolina State, Texas A&M
These five will be #1 seeds in today's announcement, barring something crazy going down in the committee meetings. All have strong resumes and really no reason to *not* pick them as a #1 seed.

Bomber's Remaining #1 Seed Picks – Georgia and East Carolina
It's tough to envision the SEC regular season champion being left out of a #1 seed, but anything is possible with an overall 35-21 record. Georgia's RPI is good, but is it enough? I think so, but I could see it going the other way. East Carolina is, without a doubt, my biggest fringe pick here. I thought Georgia might be more on the fringe when I began selecting, but there's just not really anyone else to take their spot. My ECU (40-19) pick comes with a variety of niceties for the NCAA; another "mid-major" #1 seed, they can probably be shipped out to someone else hosting as a #2 and protect NCAA revenue, and it keeps the committee from having to go with such a fine-toothed comb over the middle-of-the-major-conference-pack to choose between the teams I'm about to mention. Make no mistake, though, ECU doesn't really have much over the rest of the teams vying for the spot.

Of the other candidates, Florida (34-22) and Stanford (33-20) have the two highest RPIs at 15 and 16, respectively. Throw in South Carolina (38-21) at 19, UC-Irvine (37-16) at 20 and (gasp!) Texas (36-20) at 21, and you get a group of two seeds with nothing really distinguishing them from each other – all fighting for one spot. This one may come down to geography or one of my earlier mentioned "niceties" of the committee.

Last thoughts on A&M
I put A&M at less than 5% to get a national seed, and again it would take the committee making an incredibly gutsy selection and then trying to explain why it's A&M instead of someone else, which I don't see happening.

My last guess at your College Station Regional? A&M as the top seed, the two seed will either be one from the Pac 10 (Cal or Stanford) or SEC (Kentucky), the third seed probably brings more local flair (Dallas Baptist, Houston, or New Orleans if they get in) and the last spot goes to Mark Johnson's fighting Bearkats from SHSU. If the NCAA doesn't send MJ home, don't be surprised to see them bussed to Austin or Houston and Texas Southern come to town.




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