AUBURN — Rain disrupted Auburn baseball's three-game sweep of Alabama and forced the Tigers to settle for a 2-0 series win last weekend, but the un-played game didn't change the main takeaway: Yet again, Auburn took care of business against the bottom half of the SEC.
That's how these unassuming, overachieving Tigers (36-16, 15-11 SEC) have remained in the conversation to host an NCAA regional. With one week left in the regular season, they're third place in the SEC West behind Arkansas and Texas A&M despite their minus-22 run differential in league play.
Auburn ends the regular season with three games Thursday through Saturday at Kentucky (28-23, 10-17), another lowly conference foe. As postseason looms, the Tigers have opportunities to solidify their place.
Here's where they stand in projections relative to other potential hosts.
D1Baseball: Auburn is No. 5
As of May 11, Auburn was projected as the No. 8 overall seed even after dropping two of three at home to Arkansas (37-14, 17-10). A perfect 4-0 week catapulted the Tigers higher. A top-eight seed means not only would they host a regional, but they would be guaranteed super regional home-field advantage if they made it that far.
Tennessee is almost locked as a top-eight national seed. Auburn is grappling with Arkansas, LSU, Texas A&M and Georgia for next-best in the SEC.
Even if a closer look at the numbers shows that Auburn isn't as talented as Arkansas or others – how about 16-6 in one- or two-run games? – results and strength of schedule matter. Auburn is No. 4 in the RPI with the No. 6 schedule difficulty. According to D1Baseball, Auburn's RPI and head-to-head road series win vs. Texas A&M (33-16, 17-10) trumps the SEC standings.
The Aggies are projected No. 9, and Arkansas is No. 13 because of its weak No. 26 RPI ranking.
Baseball America: No. 8
The Tigers just eked into super regional hosting territory in this projection from ninth previously.
To show how varied (and sporadic) the projections can be, Texas A&M jumped to No. 5 here after being 13th one week ago. Georgia (33-18, 14-13), previously No. 8, fell all the way out of a regional host position.
And Auburn is closely pursued by No. 10 Vanderbilt and No. 11 Arkansas. Vanderbilt (35-16, 14-13) is a threat at No. 3 in the RPI, and it ends the season hosting an LSU team that has lost three of its last four.
College Sports Madness: Unseeded
In this bracket, Tennessee, Arkansas, Texas A&M and Georgia are all slated to host regionals, but Auburn is projected outside the 16 national seeds in No. 10 Florida State regional.
So where does Auburn stand?
Opponents' results matter this weekend. Texas A&M end at Ole Miss (31-19, 13-14), which is suddenly surging with a seven-game win streak including a sweep at LSU. Arkansas plays at Alabama.
Auburn is 12-0 against opponents ranked 51-100 in the RPI. Kentucky is No. 60. If Auburn wins the series, it should enter the SEC Tournament positioned to host at least regional. For potential super regional home-field advantage, though, every SEC result matters.
This article originally appeared on Montgomery Advertiser: Will Auburn baseball host an NCAA supernregional? Where Tigers stand