May 16, 2017
None of the universities from our state got into the Division I NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. The University of Mississippi was the only close-but-no-cigar team, as they went to the National Invitational Tournament.
That should not be the case with the Division I NCAA Men’s Baseball Tournament. Our state could see as many as four teams get in.
Note: these rankings and standings were as of May 12, 2017.
A lot can change over the last two weeks of the season and in conference tournaments, but Mississippi State University and the University of Southern Mississippi seem to be solidly in the field. Jackson State University is in only if it wins the SWAC Tournament, and UM seems to be having some trouble.
One of the biggest things for MSU is it being one of the top eight seeds. In four recent projections (Baseball America, College Sports Madness, Perfect Game USA and D1Baseball), the Bulldogs are a national seed. Baseball America has the team as the No. 7 seed, and every projection has it as a host for a regional.
Over the next two weeks, the Bulldogs can work their way up the projections and earn one of the top eight seeds. MSU can help itself by winning the SEC West title, along with the SEC title, and get help if other teams falter over the next couple of weeks.
Not all of the projections consider Southern Miss as a possible host for a regional. USM is a host in Baseball America, Perfect Game USA and D1Baseball, but College Sports Madness does not see the Golden Eagles possibly hosting. If USM were to win the C-USA regular season title, it should help the team get locked in for hosting a regional.
The Rebels are in the game in every projection but Baseball America, which has the team as one of the first four teams out. Perfect Game has the Rebels as one of the last three teams into the field, and D1Baseball has them as a third seed in a regional.
The good news for UM is the team closes the season hosting Texas A&M University and at Auburn University. Both the Aggies and Tigers are nationally ranked, and taking two-of-three in a three-game series would put the Rebels on solid ground.
The SWAC is only going to get one team in the tournament, and that is the team that wins the conference tournament this week in New Orleans. Jackson State has won the East Division and could be considered the top team in the conference.
If JSU does get into the tournament, there is no consensus on where the Tigers might be headed. Three of the four projections actually place the field in four-team regionals, and Jackson State doesn’t land in the same spot in any of them.
D1Baseball has JSU as the No. 4 seed in the Starkville Regional that Mississippi State is hosting. Baseball America puts the Tigers in the Corvallis Regional that Oregon State University is hosting, again as a No. 4 seed. Finally, College Sports Madness places JSU as a No. 4 seed in the Louisville Regional that the University of Louisville is hosting.
The only thing the projections agree on is that the Tigers are going to be a No. 4 seed. With an RPI in the 200s, JSU isn’t going to get any higher than a fourth seed if the team gets into the field.
At least this will be one major postseason tournament our state will have some rooting interest in for men’s teams.