Projected Field Of 64: May 21Projections
With 14 weeks concluded, the postseason picture is coming into focus. Four teams have already secured spots in the NCAA tournament by winning automatic bids this past weekend: Big West champion Cal State Fullerton, MEAC champ NC A&T, Patriot League champ Army and SWAC champ Texas Southern.
So our updated field of 64 projection has changes from last week in the SWAC (where Texas Southern replaces Jackson State) and Patriot (where Army replaces Navy). We also changed our projected automatic qualifiers in three other conferences: the Atlantic 10 (Saint Louis replaces Davidson), MAAC (Canisius replaces Marist) and Mountain West (Nevada replaces San Diego State).
We have just one change to our at-large teams from last week: Purdue joins our field after sweeping Michigan to finish second in the Big Ten, squeezing out Louisiana Tech, which tumbled 12 spots to No. 59 in the RPI even after sweeping a series against Old Dominion.
We have one change in our projected top eight national seeds: Texas Tech replaces Clemson after sweeping a road series at Oklahoma State. Texas Tech’s six-spot edge over Clemson in the RPI is the big difference there; TTU is No. 5, Clemson is No. 11.
And we have two changes among our projected regional hosts: UConn and Texas replace Coastal Carolina and Duke as hosts. Texas swept TCU to win the Big 12 regular-season title, essentially wrapping up a home regional in the process. UConn won a big series against East Carolina in the final weekend, while Duke dropped a series at Georgia Tech, and Coastal took an RPI hit after winning two of three at Appalachian State.
The SEC still 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 (5), Pac-12 (4), Conference USA (2), 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, Texas A&M, LSU, Kentucky, Washington
First Five Out: Arizona, Troy, Louisiana Tech, Michigan, Louisiana