2022 Field Of 64 Projections: May 22Columns
Here are the latest projections, assembled by our Kendall Rogers, Aaron Fitt and Mark Etheridge.
The regular season is now over for every conference except the Big West, so it’s time to update our field of 64 projection as we head into conference tournament week for most leagues.
Two automatic bids have already been decided: Coppin State beat Delaware State to win the MEAC tournament and secure the first spot in the field, while UC Santa Barbara clinched the Big West title this weekend. Another ticket will be punched this afternoon when Columbia and Penn conclude the rubber game of their best-of-three Ivy League championship series.
In addition to the Coppin State/Delaware State switch, our projections have one automatic qualifier change from last week: we project Belmont as the Ohio Valley Conference automatic qualifier after winning the league’s regular-season championship by two games over SEMO, which was our projected OVC team last year. In all likelihood, this will be a one-bid league, so the conference tournament champion will represent the OVC.
We also have one at-large change from last week: Wake Forest returns to our field after sweeping a road series at NC State, and San Diego falls out of our field of 64 after losing its final home series to Gonzaga and falling to third place in the WCC.
Wake Forest’s inclusion gives the ACC 11 projected regional teams, most of any conference. But Clemson is the last team in our field and needs to bolster its case with more work in the ACC tournament. NC State also falls into our “last four in” after getting swept by the Demon Deacons.
Here are our projected bids by conference, for leagues projected to earn multiple bids:
Big 12: 6
Conference USA: 4
Sun Belt: 3
Big Ten: 2
Note that we are continuing to project Dallas Baptist to win the Missouri Valley Conference tournament even though it finished in third place in the regular season. If any other team wins the MVC tourney, DBU would get in as an at-large team thanks to its robust RPI, making the Valley a two-bid league.
Here are our last four teams in the field followed by our first four teams out, from strongest position to weakest:
LAST FOUR IN:
61. NC State
63. Old Dominion
FIRST FOUR OUT:
66. Kennesaw State
67. San Diego
STOLEN BID WATCH
Other teams we currently project to win automatic bids that look like safe at-large teams if they fail to win their conference tournaments: Gonzaga, East Carolina, Wofford, Grand Canyon. Should those teams get upset, the WCC, AAC, SoCon and WAC could become two-bid leagues. And if a team other than Maryland or Rutgers wins the Big Ten tourney, those teams would get at-large bids, making the Big Ten a three-bid league.
Connecticut, Campbell, College of Charleston, Davidson, and Belmont would all have chances at at-large bids also, but with RPIs in the 50s or 60s, we don’t love their chances.
NATIONAL SEED/HOST PICTURE
We have one change to our top-eight national seeds from last week: Texas A&M joins the top eight after taking a series at Ole Miss to win the SEC West, and Auburn falls out of the top eight but remains a host.
We also have a whopping five changes to our regional hosts after a tumultuous final week of the regular season: Southern Miss, Virginia, Oregon, TCU and Georgia Southern are in as hosts, replacing Texas Tech, Florida State, Vanderbilt, Arkansas and Gonzaga.
|1 Tennessee* (1)||1 Georgia Southern (16)|
|4 Coppin State*||4 Campbell*|
|2 Wake Forest||2 Georgia|
|3 Wofford*||3 Georgia Tech|
|1 Virginia Tech* (2)||1 Oklahoma State (15)|
|4 Maine*||4 Davidson*|
|2 East Carolina*||2 Arkansas|
|3 West Virginia||3 Louisiana Tech|
|1 Stanford* (3)||1 TCU* (14)|
|4 Long Island*||4 McNeese*|
|2 UC Santa Barbara*||2 Texas State*|
|3 Ole Miss||3 Dallas Baptist*|
|1 Oregon State (4)||1 Oregon (13)|
|4 North Dakota State*||4 UNLV*|
|2 North Carolina||2 Gonzaga*|
|3 Grand Canyon*||3 NC State|
|CORAL GABLES||SOUTH BEND|
|1 Miami (5)||1 Notre Dame (12)|
|4 Florida A&M*||4 Ball State*|
|2 Florida||2 UCLA|
|3 Connecticut*||3 Rutgers|
|1 Maryland* (6)||1 Virginia (11)|
|4 Fairfield*||4 Columbia*|
|2 Texas Tech||2 Oklahoma|
|3 Liberty*||3 Old Dominion|
|1 Louisville (7)||1 Auburn (10)|
|4 Wright State*||4 Coll. of Charleston*|
|2 Vanderbilt||2 Coastal Carolina|
|3 Arizona||3 Florida State|
|1 Texas A&M (8)||1 Southern Miss* (9)|
|4 Army*||4 Belmont*|
|2 Texas||2 LSU|
|3 UTSA||3 Clemson|