Projected Field Of 64: May 15Projections
The latest D1Baseball.com Field of 64 projection is out, and there are plenty of important changes to discuss.
There are no changes in the top eight this week, though keep an eye on the series between Florida State and NC State in Tallahassee this weekend. Both teams are still in the mix for a top eight, while Stetson is a surprising team to consider. The Hatters are 40-11 overall, have dominated the A-Sun and are seven in the RPI. They’re also 6-3 vs. RPI Top 50 and 16-7 vs. RPI Top 100, which are quality marks. Arkansas gained traction in our top eight after sweeping Texas A&M at home, while Ole Miss moved up a couple of spots after sweeping Auburn at home.
There are three new hosts and Top 16 seeds this week — East Carolina, Duke and Coastal Carolina, as Connecticut, Oklahoma State and Auburn moved out. ECU is sitting at 13 in the RPI with a strong overall record, road record, American mark and more, Duke is 17-9 in the ACC, 38-12 overall and is 14 in the RPI. Some other metrics are rather questionable, but the ACC mark overrides those at this point. There’s also Coastal, which is up to 18 in the RPI with a sterling 21-6 mark in the Sun Belt, along with a strong 20-13 mark vs. RPI Top 100. The next two hosts we considered were Texas and Oklahoma State. The Cowboys lead the Big 12 and likely would vault back in as a host with a series win over Texas Tech, potentially knocking the Red Raiders out of the mix. Meanwhile, Texas is a team to watch. The ‘Horns are two games out of first in the Big 12 and have a strong 21 RPI. However, the Longhorns also have a losing road record, a losing record vs. RPI Top 50 and are just one game over .500 against RPI Top 100. Those metrics need to improve.
In terms of at-large bids, only three teams moved out of this week’s field — Iowa, Arizona and Michigan. The Hawkeyes have some marquee series wins against Oklahoma State, Illinois and Ohio State, but the RPI dipped to 65 after a series loss to Northwestern. Arizona’s conference record is an issue after getting swept on the road by California, but it finishes the regular season with winnable series against struggling Arizona State and Oregon, on the road. There’s also Michigan, which lost a series to Illinois over the weekend and dropped to 51 in the RPI. The Wolverines lack front-line wins and must take care of business at Purdue this weekend to have a strong shot at an at-large bid.
The three new teams in this week’s field include Illinois, Washington and Louisiana Tech. The Fighting Illini gained significant ground in the RPI after the series win over Michigan, Washington’s RPI is in the 60s, and that’s an issue. However, the Huskies have a strong conference mark (15-9) are tied with UCLA for third place behind Stanford and Oregon State. There’s also Tech, which did what it needed to do to get on the good side of the bubble — it won a series at Southern Miss last weekend.
The SEC leads the way in overall bids with 11, while the rest of the conferences break down like this: ACC (6), American (5), Big 12 (5), Big Ten (4), Pac 12 (4), Conference USA (3), Atlantic Sun (2) and Missouri Valley (2).
As always, this is a projection: we’re not trying to illustrate what the field would look like if the season ended today. We’re still looking ahead, taking into account remaining schedules and our evaluations of the talent of the contenders, in addition to their bodies of work, of course.
Last Five In: Illinois, Louisiana Tech, LSU, Mississippi State, Washington
First Five Out: Arizona, Purdue, Michigan, TCU, Iowa