Stock Report: Week 14

Every Tuesday here on the College Blog, we examine how the postseason picture has shifted over the weekend. Rather than get bogged down in the jigsaw puzzle that is a full field of 64 projection, we're not going to worry about which regionals teams get sent to. We're just looking at who's in, who's out, who's on the bubble, with 14 weeks in the books.

During this discussion, we will reference the updated Ratings Percentage Index rankings at, which are extremely close to the NCAA's official rankings (those aren't released until later Tuesday). We'll also reference the useful RPI Needs Report at Boyd's World, which provides a rough sketch of what teams need to do in order to reach important RPI benchmarks like finishing inside the top 45 (a loose target for an at-large bid). And we'll make use of records against the top 25, 50 or 100 in the RPI—figures that the Division I Baseball Committee looks at when constructing the field of 64.

We'll get to at-large chances in a bit (and since it's conference tournament week for most leagues, we'll also make picks to win the one-bid leagues), but let's start with a look at which teams are on track to earn national seeds and which are on track to host regionals through 14 weeks of the season:

National Seeds

SECURE TEAMS: Florida State, Florida, Baylor, Louisiana State, Oregon, UCLA, North Carolina

ON THE BUBBLE (IN): South Carolina

ON THE BUBBLE (OUT): Rice, Stanford, Texas A&M, Kentucky

Changes from last week: LSU replaces Kentucky as a national seed. LSU won the SEC regular-season title outright and has an impressive 12-6 record against the top 25; that combination should be enough to assure the Tigers of a national seed even with an 0-2 showing in Hoover.

The landscape changed dramatically in the SEC in the final weekend of the regular season. We have maintained that the SEC regular-season champion would get a national seed, and last week we gave Kentucky a slight edge in the race for the title. But the Wildcats were swept at Mississippi State, dropping them to the No. 4 seed in the conference tournament and No. 19 in the RPI. After losing three of their final four series and trailing the other three SEC heavyweights significantly in the RPI, Kentucky's national seed hopes look shot, even if they make a run through the conference tournament.

That gives South Carolina the inside track at the final national seed even though it lost its series against the SEC's other big three powers (LSU, Kentucky, Florida). Those were the only three series the Gamecocks lost all year, and their consistency in the nation's toughest conference is impressive. South Carolina won the SEC East, remained in the top 10 in the RPI (No. 9) and went 9-9 against the top 25 in the RPI. That gives it a decided edge over Texas A&M, which ranks one spot ahead in the RPI but is just 1-6 against the top 25 and finished four games out of first place in the Big 12.

The bigger threat to South Carolina is Rice, which captured the C-USA regular-season title by taking two of three at Central Florida in the final weekend. The Owls have a nice 8-4 record against the top 25 and trail the Gamecocks by just three spots in the RPI (No. 12). If they can complement their regular-season title with a C-USA tournament crown, and if South Carolina fails to go deep into the SEC tournament, the Owls should snatch the final national seed. Rice might not even need to win the C-USA tournament; just reaching the title game could be enough.

The dark horse is Stanford, which swept its last two series against Washington State and Utah to climb within two games of first place Oregon in the Pac-12. We still like Oregon's chances to earn a national seed even if it fails to hold onto its Pac-12 lead (the Ducks, who travel to Oregon State this weekend, have a one-game lead over Arizona heading into the final weekend). That's because Oregon won weekend series against each of the next four teams in the Pac-12 standings (Arizona, UCLA, Stanford, Arizona State). And the Bruins are strong enough in the RPI (No. 3) and have enough quality wins (12-8 against the top 25, 18-12 against the top 50) that they look like a lock as well—especially since they finish with a very winnable series at home against Southern California. A team that finished in the top three in the RPI has earned a national seed every year since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1999.

But Stanford did win two of three at UCLA; it did take two of three from Rice; it did sweep Vanderbilt (which now looks like a regionals team); and it did sweep Arizona State. Stanford is 13th in the RPI, 8-7 against the top 25 and 15-9 against the top 50. If the Cardinal can finish in the top three in the conference (they are currently tied for third with UCLA and ASU), it stands a chance to beat out South Carolina, Rice and Texas A&M for that last national seed. None of those teams has as many quality series wins as the Cardinal, after all. Stanford finishes with a home series against Cal.

For now, though, we'll give the edge to the Gamecocks for winning the SEC East, while the Cardinal remains tied for third place in what will likely be a five-bid Pac-12 (though the conference has six regional-caliber teams; Arizona State is ineligible).

Regional Hosts

SECURE TEAMS: The eight national seeds listed above; Rice, Kentucky, Stanford, North Carolina State, Purdue

ON THE BUBBLE (IN): Texas A&M, Virginia, Arizona

ON THE BUBBLE (OUT):  Cal State Fullerton, Central Florida

One change from last week: Texas A&M replaces Cal State Fullerton as a host.

We're not terribly comfortable with that move, since Fullerton won the head-to-head series against the Aggies in College Station, and Fullerton has a better record against the top 25 (4-6) than the Aggies (1-6). But the reality is it's hard to envision the Aggies getting left out of a host spot with a No. 8 RPI, especially since they came on strong down the stretch to finish with a solid 16-8 record in the Big 12, alone in second place. The Titans had little room for error playing in the Big West, and they stumbled last week, going 1-3 against UCLA and UC Riverside. At No. 20 in the RPI, the Titans can certainly still host—but it seems unlikely that they will do so at A&M's expense. One data point in the Aggies' favor: they are 14-7 against the top 50, while Fullerton is just 7-7. But the most meaningful difference between the two clubs (at least as far as the committee will be concerned) is the RPI gap.

So that leaves Fullerton competing with Virginia and Arizona for a host spot, with UCF on the outside looking in after losing its final series at home against Rice. Virginia should be safe, because it has the highest RPI of the trio (No. 11) to go along with a strong 17-11 record against the top 50 and a decent 7-8 mark against the top 25. The Cavaliers also have momentum, finishing with four straight series since (including a huge road sweep of Miami). The Wildcats are just a game out of first place in a much stronger league than the Big West; they are two spots ahead of the Titans in the RPI (No. 18); and they have better records against the top 25 (7-6) and top 50 (9-9). The Wildcats get the nod, leaving Fullerton as the odd team out. But the Titans still have a strong case, and if they win their final series at Long Beach to clinch the Big West title, they'll still have a chance at an at-large spot if Arizona (or maybe A&M or UVa.) falters.

At-large Bids

There are 30 automatic bids awarded to conference champions, and four teams have already secured spots in the field of 64 by winning their conference tournaments: Cornell (Ivy), Sacred Heart (Northeast), Bethune-Cookman (MEAC) and Prairie View A&M (SWAC).

Here are our picks to win conference tournaments in 14 other leagues we project to earn one bid (for the purpose of this exercise, we'll assume all 14 are one-bid leagues, though a few could receive multiple berths if the favorite fails to win the automatic bid):

America East: Stony Brook. With a potent offense led by a trio of dynamic players (Travis Jankowski, William Carmona and Maxx Tissenbaum) and a pitching staff that ranks seventh nationally with a 2.83 ERA, the Seawolves are a juggernaut. They went 43-11 overall, 21-3 in the AEC to run away with the regular-season title by five games. They are a heavy favorite—but they entered last year's tournament in a nearly identical position after going 22-2 in conference play, and they were toppled in the America East tourney. Expect Stony Brook to take care of its unfinished business this week.

Atlantic 10: Saint Louis. The red-hot Billikens enter the tournament as the top seed after winning 14 of their last 16 games to reach the 40-win plateau for the first time in program history.

Atlantic Sun: Mercer. The Bears enter the tournament as the No. 5 seed but finished just two games out of first. They also are the hottest team heading into the tournament, with wins in 13 of their last 14 games to reach 37 wins overall (most in the conference). And Mercer is very balanced, leading the A-Sun in batting while ranking second in scoring and ERA.

The only A-Sun team with an RPI in striking range of an at-large spot is Stetson (No. 54), but the Hatters probably need to win the automatic bid, because they fell to the No. 6 seed after getting swept by Florida Gulf Coast at home to end the regular season. And Stetson is just 1-5 against the top 50—not at-large worthy. Regular-season champion Belmont is outside of at-large range in the RPI (No. 71).

Big South: Coastal Carolina. With Campbell and Liberty out of the at-large discussion, we're moving the Big South into the one-bid section, with a caveat. The Chanticleers won the regular-season title by 3.5 games over Campbell, and their No. 43 RPI should be enough to earn them an at-large bid even if they don't win the automatic bid. Campbell reached the 40-win plateau, but its No. 84 RPI keeps it out of at-large contention.

Colonial Athletic Association: UNC Wilmington. The Seahawks won the CAA by four games over upstart Hofstra, although both teams enter the tournament with momentum. If the Pride—or somebody else—upsets Wilmington, the Seahawks should still get an at-large bid thanks to a No. 41 RPI and a dominating run to its regular-season title. Those factors cancel out an 0-6 record against the top 50. Bubble teams should root for the Seahawks this week.

Horizon: Valparaiso. The Crusaders won their first regular-season Horizon League title by winning their final seven weekend series, including a road series at second-place Wright State, a sweep at third-place Wisconsin-Milwaukee and two series against perennial power Illinois-Chicago. Valpo, which has a roster stocked with mature veterans and the league's best pitching staff (3.42 ERA), has earned its status as the front-runner, which is new territory for this program. Credit coach Tracy Woodson for transforming Valpo into a very strong contender to make its first regional since 1968.

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference: Manhattan. A year ago, the Jaspers won the MAAC's regular-season and tournament titles, and we project them to repeat that feat this year. Manhattan won the MAAC by two games over Canisius, and the Jaspers ride a seven-game winning streak into the tournament.

Mid-American: Kent State. The Golden Flashes are on fire, riding a 13-game winning streak into the conference tournament. Kent State went 24-3 to win the MAC's East Division by eight games. As we wrote in yesterday's Three Strikes, Kent State's stellar seniors are gunning for their fourth straight MAC tournament title, and we won't bet against them. With an RPI of 90, it would be tough for Kent State to snag an at-large bid, 24-3 in the league or not.

Ohio Valley: Austin Peay State. Eastern Kentucky got hot down the stretch to tie the Governors for the regular-season title, but APSU did win the head-to-head series at EKU. Austin Peay is the defending champion, with a roster filled with veterans with postseason experience. Interestingly, both teams are high-scoring clubs that average 6.8 runs per game, but Austin Peay has a very patient offensive approach (ranking seventh nationally with 264 walks), while Eastern Kentucky is very aggressive (254th in the nation and last in the conference with 156 walks).

Patriot: Army and Holy Cross split the first two games of the Ivy League championship series, and Monday's rubber game was suspended by rain until Tuesday, with the score tied 4-4 in the seventh inning. We won't bother trying to predict how that one will unfold—clearly it could go either way.

Summit: Oral Roberts. The Golden Eagles only won the regular-season title by a game over Oakland, but they have won 14 straight conference tournament championships. ORU has a powerful lineup (led by Jared Schlehuber and Jose Trevino, who have 12 homers apiece) and a power pitching staff, and it must be regarded as the strong front-runner, as usual, in the Summit tourney.

Sun Belt: Florida Atlantic. The Owls held on to win the regular-season title by a half-game over Arkansas State. With a No. 64 RPI, FAU is the one Sun Belt team with an RPI inside the top 100, but the RPI is still too low for an at-large bid, and an 0-6 record against the top 50 torpedoes its case. But FAU enters the conference tournament as the team to beat.

Below is a conference-by-conference look at which teams are on track to make the field in potential multi-bid leagues, and which teams are on the wrong side of the bubble through 14 weeks.

Here are the changes from last week's field of 64, in a nutshell:

IN: Wake Forest, New Mexico, Auburn, Gonzaga

OUT: Michigan State, St. John's, Utah Valley, Washington

Atlantic Coast Conference (8 total bids)

SAFELY IN: Florida State, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Virginia, Clemson, Miami

ON THE BUBBLE (IN): Wake Forest, Georgia Tech

ON THE BUBBLE (OUT): Maryland, Virginia Tech

One change from last week: Wake Forest rejoins our field of 64. The Demon Deacons swept Clemson in the final weekend to climb to 13-17 in the ACC and boost their RPI to No. 34. They won the head-to-head series against fellow bubble teams Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech. They're in good shape barring an 0-3 week in the ACC tournament.

Georgia Tech remains in our field despite losing its final series at home against Miami to finish 12-18 in the ACC. With such a poor conference record, the Yellow Jackets need a strong week in the ACC tournament to bolster their case. But if we're not counting on any mid-major tournament upsets, it's hard to get to 64 teams without eight from the ACC, and Georgia Tech is still in better position than Virginia Tech and Maryland because at least it played its way into the ACC tourney, where it will have the opportunity to accrue more quality wins.

Virginia Tech's hopes were effectively dashed in the final weekend when the Hokies were swept at North Carolina. Virginia Tech finished 11-19 in the league and missed the conference tournament.

Maryland's hopes are similarly remote after going 10-20 in the ACC tournament, but the Terrapins at least have a stronger RPI (No. 27) and a loud 9-10 record against the top 15 teams in the RPI. Only Florida, UCLA and Florida State have more wins against the top 25 than Maryland's 10. The Terrapins' strong preconference showing—including a road series win at UCLA and wins against Purdue and East Carolina in Greenville—give them at least an outside shot at snagging a bid. Certainly, the top end of Maryland's resume is stronger than most (or all) other bubble teams. But that 10-20 conference record is hard to overlook.

Big 12 (4 bids)

SAFELY IN: Baylor, Texas A&M, Oklahoma



No change from last week.

Oklahoma climbed to No. 39 in the RPI after winning a series against Samford; that should be enough to make the Sooners safe, and there are enough weaker bubble teams behind OU that we feel comfortable moving them into the SAFELY IN category.

Texas needed a series win against Baylor to put itself in the SECURE column, but at least it avoided the sweep, helping it climb four spots to No. 46 in the RPI. The Longhorns don't have an overly impressive resume, but a win or two in the double-elimination conference tournament should be enough to land them an at-large spot with a bubble as soft as this year's is.

Big East (1 bid)

SAFELY IN: Louisville



One change from last week: St. John's falls out of our field of 64 after losing its final series at home against Seton Hall. The Red Storm still tied for the Big East regular-season title with Louisville, but with an RPI of No. 57, just a 2-5 record against the top 50 and an 11-18 mark against the top 100, the Johnnies most likely need to win the automatic bid to get back to regionals.

Louisville's No. 42 RPI is typically right in bubble range, but this year it should be good enough to land it an at-large spot comfortably, combined with its regular-season title, 6-5 mark against the top 50 and 17-10 record against the top 100.

Big Ten (1 bid)



ON THE BUBBLE (OUT): Michigan State

One change from last week: Michigan State falls back out of our field of 64. The Spartans had a real opportunity to put themselves into at-large position, but they lost two of three at home against Penn State in the final weekend to fall to fifth place in the final standings. The No. 5 team in the Big Ten seems unlikely to land an at-large bid, even with an RPI inside the top 50 (No. 47). Michigan State's 2-6 record against the top 50 and 11-12 mark against the top 100 don't do it any favors.

Big West (1 bid)

SAFELY IN: Cal State Fullerton


ON THE BUBBLE (OUT): Long Beach State

No change from last week. It all comes down to the final weekend: The Titans carry a one-game lead into their final series at Long Beach State, so the Dirtbags can win the conference title and earn the automatic bid by taking two of three. That looks like LBSU's only avenue to regionals after its 2-2 week dropped it eight more spots to No. 67 in the RPI. Long Beach could certainly win that final series, but it would be something of an upset. We'll continue to pick the favored Titans—and other bubble teams need to root for the Titans as well to keep the Big West a one-bid league.

Conference USA (4 bids)

SAFELY IN: Rice, Central Florida

ON THE BUBBLE (IN): East Carolina, Tulane


No change from last week.

The Pirates fall onto the bubble after finishing sixth in the regular-season standings (but just a half-game out of a tie for third). East Carolina's strong RPI (No. 24) should carry it into regionals even though the rest of its resume is uninspiring. The Pirates are just 3-7 against the top 25 and 5-9 against the top 50, and they lost the head-to-head series against the top three teams in the league, including bubble-dwelling Tulane.

Despite winning the head-to-head series against ECU and finishing in third place in the standings, Tulane is in worse shape than the Pirates because it ranks 35 spots lower in the RPI (the culprit: 14 games against teams outside the top 200, including seven games against teams in the bottom 10). If Tulane fails to win the C-USA tournament, it needs to hope mid-major favorites like TCU, Louisville, Coastal Carolina and UNC Wilmington win their respective conference tournaments, and the Green Wave needs to bolster its case with wins against ECU and UCF this week. If it does that, its RPI should climb a bit. And without planning for mid-major upsets, we can't get to 64 without four teams from Conference USA.

Great West (0 bids)



ON THE BUBBLE (OUT): Utah Valley

One change from last week: Utah Valley falls back out of our field of 64. UVU's winning streak ended at 32 games last week, though the Wolverines rebounded to sweep their final conference series and finish 28-0 in the Great West. Still, keeping that streak intact was key to getting the committee to overlook an RPI that just isn't in at-large range (No. 68). We went out on a limb for the Wolverines last week, but with the streak over, we can't keep picking Utah Valley for regionals when 36 of its 43 wins came against teams outside the top 150 in the RPI.

Independents (1 bid)

SAFELY IN: Dallas Baptist



No change from last week. DBU is sitting pretty at 39-17 and No. 22 in the RPI.

Missouri Valley (3 bids)


ON THE BUBBLE (IN): Indiana State, Missouri State, Wichita State

ON THE BUBBLE (OUT): Illinois State

No change from last week. The weekend broke favorably for the MVC's chances to send three teams to regionals, as Indiana State reached 40 wins and clinched the regular-season title to secure its at-large position, but Missouri State bounced back to win the series and climb to No. 35 in the RPI, keeping its own at-large ambitions in very good shape. The Shockers also took care of business, winning a road series at Creighton to remain in solid RPI shape (No. 44).

Mountain West (2 bids)

SAFELY IN: Texas Christian

ON THE BUBBLE (IN): New Mexico


One change from last week: New Mexico joins our field of 64, causing us to move the MWC to the multi-bid section of Stock Report.

The Horned Frogs shared the MWC regular-season title with New Mexico, and it's easy to envision either team winning the conference title (the Lobos beat TCU twice in the conference tournament last year en route to their second straight regional appearance). But TCU is healthy and playing with confidence, and its pitching staff (which ranks sixth in the nation with a 2.79 ERA) gives it an edge this week, even against New Mexico's fearsome offense (which ranks fifth nationally in batting and scoring).

If TCU (No. 30 in the RPI) doesn't get the automatic bid, it will still earn an at-large spot. If New Mexico (No. 62) doesn't win the conference tournament, it now has a chance at an at-large spot despite an RPI that falls a bit outside the usual at-large range. New Mexico needs to boost its RPI into the 50s, but its 8-10 record against the top 50 compares favorably with other bubble teams like Tulane (4-10), Elon (6-15), Sam Houston State (4-5), Gonzaga (3-10), UNC Wilmington (5-10) and even Texas (7-8). And its regular-season title in the MWC is an important feather in its cap.

Pacific-12 (5 bids)

SAFELY IN: UCLA, Oregon, Arizona, Stanford, Oregon State


ON THE BUBBLE (OUT): Washington

One change from last week: Washington falls back out of our field of 64 after getting swept by Arizona State. Even if Washington takes two of three in its final series against Washington State, its 13-17 conference mark will be identical to Auburn's record in the more rigorous SEC. The two teams have similarly shaky RPIs in the 50s, but the Tigers have a stronger resume across the board: more top 25 wins (eight for Auburn, four for UW), four quality series wins against regional teams (LSU, Mississippi State, Arkansas and Mississippi) vs. just one for Washington (Oregon). It's hard to make a case for the Huskies over the Tigers; more likely, mid-major upsets will keep either team from getting in.

Southeastern Conference (10 bids)

SAFELY IN: Kentucky, Louisiana State, Florida, South Carolina, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Mississippi

ON THE BUBBLE (IN): Georgia, Auburn


One change from last week: Auburn enters our field of 64, giving the SEC a 10th bid.

We laid out Auburn's case above in the Pac-12 section, but let's reiterate. The Tigers are 8-11 against the top 25 in the RPI and own four very impressive series wins against lock regional teams (LSU, Mississippi State, at Arkansas, at Ole Miss). Those series wins, plus a respectable 13-17 record in college baseball's best conference, are what gives Auburn the nod over a team like Maryland, which has a significant RPI edge but a 10-20 record in a weaker conference, and just two series wins against regional teams (at UCLA, vs. N.C. State). Realistically, Auburn probably needs two or three wins in Hoover to boost its RPI, because the committee typically doesn't get excited about power conference teams with RPIs outside the top 50. Mid-major upsets are likely to knock Auburn out of at-large position, but for now we're including the Tigers.

Georgia has found itself on very precarious ground after losing its final regular-season series at Alabama. The Bulldogs tumbled to No. 50 in the RPI, but like Auburn they have eight wins against the top 25, and their 14-15 SEC record is better. Like Auburn, the Bulldogs could use a couple of wins in Hoover to boost that RPI into more comfortable position. If it comes down to Auburn vs. Georgia for one bid, keep in mind that the Bulldogs swept the Tigers just three weeks ago. But Georgia's only other series win against a likely regional team came against Ole Miss. Both teams need to help themselves with strong showings this week—but so do Georgia Tech, Tulane, Texas and Texas State, to name a few teams in similarly shaky position. If upsets cause at-large bids to start disappearing, it may come down to which of those borderline teams finish the best in their conference tournaments, because all of them have checkered resumes.

We're moving Vandy into the SAFELY IN category after its sweep of Ole Miss. The Commodores finished on fire, climbing to 29-25 overall (assuring them of a winning record regardless of what happens in Hoover), 16-14 in the SEC and No. 32 in the RPI. The committee loves teams that finish strong, and Vandy ended with four straight series—three of them against Kentucky, at LSU and vs. Ole Miss. That's a lock at-large resume. And that turnaround is one of college baseball's best stories in 2012.

Southern Conference (2 bids)

SAFELY IN: Appalachian State, College of Charleston


ON THE BUBBLE (OUT): Elon, Samford

No change from last week. Samford had a chance to make a splash with a series win at Oklahoma, but it mustered just one of three, keeping it on the wrong side of the bubble. Elon reversed its negative momentum with a sweep of The Citadel, but the Phoenix is still outside the top 50 (No. 51) and lacks the kind of marquee wins that are propping up Georgia's and Auburn's cases. Elon is 0-9 against the top 25, 6-15 against the top 50 and 13-17 against the top 100.

Appalachian State and CofC shared the regular-season title, and it's hard to envision either team getting passed over for regionals considering how many shaky at-large teams are behind them in the pecking order, but still included in our field of 64. The Cougars move into the SECURE category.

Southland Conference (2 bids)


ON THE BUBBLE (IN): Sam Houston State, Southeastern Louisiana

ON THE BUBBLE (OUT): Texas State, Texas-Arlington

No change from last week.

At No. 60 in the RPI, Texas State is one of those teams that needs to boost its RPI with a strong conference tournament showing, but it does have positive momentum (finishing with five straight series wins) and six wins against the top 50. Most notably, two midweek wins against Oregon and another against Rice look good on Texas State's resume, but getting swept by SHSU and SELA hurts its cause. And an 8-13 record against the top 100 is a killer. A deep run in the conference tournament is essential for the Bobcats to have any shot at an at-large.

Southeastern's No. 56 RPI and 0-3 record against fellow bubble team Tulane keep it on the bubble as well, but at least the Lions are 6-3 against the top 50 and 12-6 against the top 100—better than Texas State. The Lions, like the Bobcats, need a strong showing this week to keep their at-large case afloat.

West Coast Conference (3 bids)

SAFELY IN: San Diego, Pepperdine



One change from last week: Gonzaga rejoins our field of 64 after a one-week absence.

After losing 11 of its previous 14 games, Gonzaga got back on track this weekend with a sweep of Portland to vault from sixth to third in the WCC. But Gonzaga is still just 3-10 against the top 25, and it was swept at fellow bubble dweller New Mexico in March, so clearly the Zags remain on precarious footing. Gonzaga has struggled against the best teams on its schedule, but it has fared better against the next tier, going 13-3 against teams 51-100 for a 16-13 overall record against the top 100. And Gonzaga's RPI (No. 45) is in much better shape than New Mexico's, Tulane's or Texas State's, for instance.

Western Athletic Conference (1 bid)

SAFELY IN: New Mexico State


ON THE BUBBLE (OUT): Nevada, Hawaii

No change from last week. The Aggies finished the regular season in a three-way tie with Nevada and Sacramento State atop the WAC. Sharing the regular-season title, coupled with a robust RPI (No. 26), moves New Mexico State into the lock category.

The Wolf Pack (No. 65) and Rainbows (No. 70) lack at-large-caliber RPIs. Nevada isn't far behind New Mexico, but it lacks UNM's assortment of top 50 wins. Nevada is just 1-5 against the top 50.