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And The Valley Projects: Week 3

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It's March, so let's talk about our favorite 64-team tournament.

We're on the feeder street to the on-ramp to the road
We're on the feeder street to the on-ramp to the road

Let me preface this by saying that it is entirely too early in the season to be worrying about who’s in the postseason and who’s hosting. Conference play hasn't even started yet. There is plenty of ball left to play and lots of time for teams to improve and flop.

With that said, let’s worry about who’s in the postseason and who’s hosting.

The National Seeds

Vandy, LSU, Houston, Virginia, TCU, UCLA, Texas Tech, South Carolina.

There’s an argument to be made with Houston taking the #3 seed over Virginia, mainly the fact that UVA is sporting a clean record and Houston just split a series with Columbia. But to me, UVA’s quality of competition just isn’t enough to pull the trigger on bumping them up. I’ll take a sweep over Minnesota and series win over Bama over a sweep of Marist and ECU any day of the week.

South Carolina dropped a home/neutral/away series to Clemson this week, but I'm not exactly sold enough on Florida to justify a swap. Florida is 10-1 and doing what they should be doing, but their real test is this week. Keep an eye on the Gators as they play UCF Tuesday and Wednesday. The way I see it, barring back to back blowout losses, the Gators can’t really hurt their resume with those games, only help it. We’ll talk about UCF in more detail later.

As for LSU…this is a projection after all, and I can’t see LSU not nailing down a solid game 4 starter by the time they depart to Hoover. The Tigers have proven themselves to be worthy of the 2 seed on the weekends, but I don’t think I need to delve into too much detail about our two midweek games. Whether Norman gets it under control or somebody else is called on (coughcoughBoumancough) remains to be seen, but I highly doubt this will be too much of an issue come May.

The Hosts

Florida, Texas, Oklahoma State, Mississippi State, UCF, Miami University of Florida (FL), Arizona State, Rice.

Florida and Texas are the 2 teams that as of now have legitimate cases for being national seeds and I understand any arguments as to why they should be in the top 8. No, John Cohen, 3 "Starkville Tournament" "Championships" do not count, although I do commend you for trying to get your guys used to tournament-style weekends and playing Arizona and Cincinnati.

To me Oklahoma State is the biggest question mark team in this entire field. They have the talent, there’s no doubt in my mind about that. But they’ve dropped the opening series against fellow host Arizona State, lost to Auburn in a midweek and lost to Oregon State to start the Big 12-Pac 12 Challenge. Here’s the thing though: after the Oregon State loss they blew the doors off of Washington (in their own right a team on the bubble), Utah, and Washington State to the tune of 11-1, 10-2, and 12-2. I don’t see OSU settling down at that high point and running roughshod over a conference with TCU, Texas, Texas Tech, and Kansas State.

In fact, now that I think about it, the Big 12 may be the most competitive conference this year. Also, I just really want to see them host so I have a better chance to see their awesome uniforms.

(Side note: remind me to give y’all a stern lecture on colored pants and tequila sunrise later this season.)

Now, let’s talk about UCF like I promised. Ron Swanson would say they’re "very good". The Citronauts are my Omaha darkhorse because they can be paired with any national seed and I can see them beating them all. They’re going into the Florida games with a pretty 10-1 record with a series win over Ole Miss (in) along with wins over Arkansas (in), Maryland (in, automatic bid from B1G), and South Alabama all in the same weekend. True the last 2 games were 7-6 and 7-5, but a win is a win is a win. Remember when I said Florida can help their case more than hurt it against UCF? That goes double, no triple, for UCF. The Knights sit at a peculiar spot because outside of their series against Houston and Tulane, their only real test is a midweek home and home with Florida State and Florida. Their weekend slate outside of those 2 is terrible. If they can grab 7 wins out of the 10 games against Florida, Florida State, Houston, and Tulane, then they have my national seed so long as they don’t trip over their dicks against their other conference foes.

Now since this an LSU blog, I’m an LSU student, and you’re (presumably) an LSU fan, let’s talk about who LSU is paired up with. It’s still plenty early in the season, but Arizona State has had their ups and downs. They took the aforementioned series against Oklahoma State, but then turned around and lost two low scoring games against TCU. I’m not a hypocrite, so I’m not faulting them for playing those big series to start the year, instead I praise them for it. But I wasn’t big on them in the first place, so they have to build that confidence for me. I’m keeping close tabs on them, but the only way they can take a national seed is if they can wrestle the Pac-12 title away from UCLA/Stanford/Oregon while keeping noted snub/bubble team Arizona away from the belt.

The Rest Of The Field

Deciding who is a national seed and who is hosting is easy. Deciding if a team is a 3 seed against national seed or a 4 seed against a host is hard. There are plenty of arguments to be had and to be quite honest, most are ticky tacky and I honestly just don’t care about "Why is X a 3 and Y is a 2". If they’re in, they’re in, and there’s not much complaining to be had in that case.

The best teams in a position to grab a host spot are the Mississippi schools, Florida State, and Oregon. The reasons are quite copy-pasty:

I have my reservations about (TEAM) to start with, but the (CONFERENCE) is such a good conference that if they can grab some quality series wins then they can make a strong case.

LSU’s regional is pretty standard as for as regionals go. Powerhouse program: check. Automatic bid that’s just happy to be here: check. Big name program than honestly goes by name recognition more than anything else: check. Scrappy program that is more than capable of putting up a fight: check. You think I’m kidding, but I’m not. FAU is at 9-2, swept UConn, and took 2 of 3 from Ohio State. As of now their 2 seed is more than justified in my book.

The Group Of Death® is hands down located in Coral Gables. Miami isn’t exactly good enough to be vying for a national seed but at the same time isn’t in any danger of losing hosting privileges, so they’re just hanging out in the middle of the pack. Oregon and Georgia Tech though…I feel as if they’re way different ball clubs in how they play, but on terms of talent they’re about the same. In fact, you can convince me they’re the same players just playing the game two different ways. And College of Charleston is sandwiched in there just for good effect. That’s hands down the most mouthwatering of all the regionals and definitely worth how much Biogenesis The University of Miami decided to charge for admission.

Any questions? Comments? I'll be trying to do this after every single week, so if you like over analyzing, and I know you do because you're on the internet, check back in to see the movements.