College Baseball Projected Field Of 64: May 15Projections
Another week is in the books and the postseason picture has more clarity.
The race for one of the top eight national seeds is ongoing at the bottom, while the top four teams have a strong hold on home field advantage throughout the NCAA tournament.
UCLA once again leads our national seeds, while Vanderbilt, despite having the No. 1 RPI, sits at the No. 2 spot with impressive metrics, including 14 wins against RPI Top 25 teams. Arkansas and Mississippi State are clearly the No. 3 and No. 4 teams at this point. The Hogs have the head-to-head sweep over the Bulldogs, while also having 14 wins vs. RPI Top 25 teams. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs are sizzling hot and have 23 victories against RPI Top 50 teams. Louisville, which is projected to finish atop the ACC standings, rounds out the top five national seeds.
Georgia Tech and Georgia sit at No’s 7 and 8 this week, just like last week. Both teams have strong metrics across the board, while also possessing strong marks in their respective conferences. It’s worth mentioning that the Yellow Jackets have the head-to-head advantage over the Bulldogs. Meanwhile, the race for the No. 8 seed is interesting between Texas Tech and East Carolina. ECU’s RPI is up to 4 and the Pirates played a strong non-conference schedule. They’re also 11-6 vs. RPI Top 50, but only 1-4 against RPI Top 25, granted three of those games were against No. 1 UCLA. As for the Red Raiders, we’re projecting Tech to win the Big 12 Conference regular season title. Doing that in the nation’s No. 2 RPI conference, while also having a Top 10 RPI, should do it for Tim Tadlock’s club, but keep an eye on ECU. There’s simply not an incorrect choice for that final spot between those two teams.
There’s just one change when it comes to the other eight host sites, with Ole Miss coming out and UC Santa Barbara entering. Ole Miss could change its fortunes with a road series win over Tennessee and a strong showing in the SEC tournament. However, the RPI at 29 is an issue at the moment. UCSB is a polarizing team because it lacks overly impressive metrics, having zero wins vs. RPI Top 50 teams is the first thing that stands out. UCSB still sits at 12 in the RPI with a fantastic 41-7 overall record. For now, we like the Gauchos hosting chances. And sources told D1Baseball this week the Gauchos would host the regional at the new Triple-A ballpark in Las Vegas, while a super regional would be hosted on campus should the Gauchos have a chance to do so. Yes, the UCSB campus is over five hours from Vegas, but sources have indicated the committee would welcome the idea of a regional in Vegas. Stay tuned.
Though UCSB is in as a host this week, the race for the final couple of Top 16 seeds is far from over. Texas A&M hosts Arkansas this weekend, and a series win over the Razorbacks would put the Aggies in strong shape to host a regional. Even a series loss to the Hogs is not crippling, as the Aggies could go on a run in Hoover similar to last season. In the event that happens, they’d likely host. Missouri has an RPI of 15 and hosts Florida this weekend. Take care of business in that series and play well in Hoover, then the Tigers, too, would be squarely in the Top 16 mix. Also keep an eye on West Virginia, Illinois, Indiana, Baylor, Dallas Baptist and perhaps even Creighton. Baylor has an RPI problem as of now at 27 but would be in much better position should it win the Big 12 regular season title. Some are curious about LSU, which has an unimpressive overall record and certainly has been up and down this season. However, should the Tigers take care of business at home against Auburn, they’d have 17 SEC wins entering the conference tournament with a host-worthy RPI.
Here are how the overall bids breakdown by conference: SEC (10), ACC (9), Pac 12 (5), Big 12 (4), Big Ten (4), American (3), Missouri Valley (3), Conference USA (2) and Big West (2).
Resident bracketologist Mark Etheridge and national writers Kendall Rogers and Aaron Fitt make up the postseason field each week.
LAST FIVE IN: Tennessee, Florida State, UC Irvine, Virginia, Clemson
FIRST FIVE OUT: Wake Forest, Oklahoma, Washington, Louisiana Tech, UCF
Projected automatic bids indicated by *