The calendar has flipped to May, meaning Selection Monday is fast approaching. With just a few weeks left in the regular season, teams are jockeying for position in the Field of 64.
While the postseason picture is coming into sharper focus, this exercise is still meant to be a projection and not what the field would look like if the season ended today. But with every passing day, there is less projection needed, as teams have less time to change their resumes in a dramatic way.
The hosting race is heating up and last weekend was a bad one for potential hosts outside the top four conferences (ACC, Big 12, Pac 12 and SEC). Georgia Southern had previously been projected as a host but falls off that line here after losing a series last week to fall further behind first-place Texas State in the Sun Belt. The Eagles still have a strong RPI but without a title (either regular season or conference tournament), it is unlikely they host. Dallas Baptist also no longer projects as a host as it has lost three straight Missouri Valley Conference series. Its RPI is still No. 6 and maybe with a conference tournament title the Patriots could host, but they’re trending the wrong way.
Gonzaga and Southern Mississippi remain hosts in this projection, carrying the flag for the mid-majors. The Zags now have a troubling RPI of 26, however, and need a strong finish. Southern Miss lost its first Conference USA series of the year last weekend but remains in first place and in the top 10 of RPI. The Golden Eagles cut into their margin of error with that series loss to Alabama-Birmingham but are still on track for a home regional.
The races to watch down the stretch for hosting are in the SEC West and the ACC. Arkansas, Auburn, Louisiana State and Texas A&M are all jockeying for position at the top of the SEC West and all have hosting-caliber resumes right now. It’s unlikely, however, that the division would produce a quarter of the host sites. Someone is going to be left out. In this projection, that’s LSU, but a case could be made for any of the four.
In the ACC, Florida State, Louisville and Virginia Tech have made big moves in RPI over the last week. The Hokies now look to be on track to be a top-eight seed and Louisville is now projected to host. Florida State has an intriguing case, but at 11-10 in the ACC, it needs a strong conference finish. Georgia Tech is also building toward a hosting resume but is in a similar spot as the Seminoles with a 12-12 ACC record.
The tournament bubble is still working itself out. A series to watch this weekend on the bubble is Florida visiting Mississippi State. The Gators (26-18, 8-13) rank 20th in RPI and third in strength of schedule, but still need about five more SEC wins this season. The Bulldogs (25-20, 9-12) bruised their chances last weekend with a series loss to Missouri, but a series win against Florida would help them bounce back.
Baseball America will continue to update the projected field weekly throughout the spring.
|1. (1) Tennessee*^||1. (16) Gonzaga*^|
|2. Mercer||2. Oregon|
|3. Wake Forest||3. Texas Tech|
|4. Alabama State*||4. Pennsylvania*|
|Corvallis, Ore.||Fort Worth
|1. (2) Oregon State*^||1. (15) TCU*^|
|2. UC Santa Barbara*||2. Dallas Baptist|
|3. San Diego||3. Louisiana Tech|
|4. Coppin State*||4. Ball State*|
|Coral Gables, Fla.||Charlottesville, Va.|
|1. (3) Miami*^||1. (14) Virginia^|
|2. Liberty*||2. Maryland*|
|3. Florida||3. West Virginia|
|4. Long Island*||4. Campbell*|
|1. (4) Virginia Tech^||1. (13) Stanford^|
|2. Wofford*||2. LSU|
|3. East Carolina*||3. Connecticut*|
|4. Davidson*||4. Nevada*|
|Athens, Ga.||College Station, Texas|
|1. (5) Georgia^||1. (12) Texas A&M^|
|2. Georgia Southern||2. Texas State*|
|3. Kennesaw State||3. Texas|
|4. College of Charleston*||4. North Dakota State*|
|Louisville||South Bend, Ind.|
|1. (6) Louisville^||1. (11) Notre Dame^|
|2. Grand Canyon*||2. UCLA|
|3. Vanderbilt||3. Iowa|
|4. Wright State*||4. Evansville*|
|Stillwater, Okla.||Fayetteville, Ark.
|1. (7) Oklahoma State^||1. (10) Arkansas^|
|2. Arizona||2. Florida State|
|3. Southeast Missouri State||3. Oklahoma|
|4. Army*||4. Fairfield*|
|Hattiesburg, Miss.||Auburn, Ala.|
|1. (8) Southern Miss*^||1. (9) Auburn^|
|2. North Carolina State||2. Georgia Tech|
|3. Louisiana||3. Rutgers|
|4. McNeese State*||4. Maine*|
* denotes automatic bid
^ denotes regional host
College Podcast: Previewing Week 12 Around College Baseball
Teddy Cahill and Joe Healy preview the 12th weekend of action around college baseball.
Last Four In
62. Wake Forest
61. San Diego
First Four Out
67. Texas-San Antonio
Next Four Out
69. North Carolina
70. Coastal Carolina
71. Middle Tennessee State
72. South Carolina