Road To Omaha: The Field of 64, April 13Projections
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With eight weeks in the books and six more to play before most conferences tournaments begin, we’ve now surpassed the midway point of the college baseball, which means it’s time to roll out the next projection of our field of 64. This field was composed by D1Baseball national writers Aaron Fitt, Kendall Rogers and Mark Etheridge in a Tuesday night teleconference that we recorded and posted as a two-part podcast, so you can hear our deliberations about national seeds and hosts, as well as the race for at-large spots.
There are some changes from a national seed standpoint. For instance, Vanderbilt and TCU were national seeds last week. However, the Commodores are trending downward after a road series loss to LSU, while the Horned Frogs, after a 2-2 week and road series win over Kansas, are trending downward from an RPI standpoint. As a result, red-hot Mississippi State entered the mix as a top-eight national seed, along with Texas Tech, which continues to dominant the Big 12.
From a hosting standpoint, BYU and Oklahoma State bowed out of the mix with their RPIs taking a hit over the past week, while Vanderbilt remains a host and South Alabama entered the mix as a host site. Not only do the Jaguars have an athletic director on the NCAA Division I Committee, but the resume is actually very impressive with a top flight RPI, good non-conference and overall strength of schedules, and an unblemished record thus far in the Sun Belt regular season race.
The SEC continues to lead the bid race in our projections with nine, including Alabama narrowly making the field, while the ACC remains strong with eight of their own despite defending champion Virginia beginning to slip down the pecking order. The Big 12 moved to a three-bid league with West Virginia bowing out of the mix, while the Pac-12 remains a mess with just four teams in the field, and UCLA out of the mix for the time being. One development to keep an eye on is the Big Ten. The Big Ten’s RPIs are improving and Minnesota and Maryland joined the field with Michigan State and Michigan this week.