The NCAA Division I baseball committee released the 16 sites for the regional round of the NCAA tournament. The 64-team field will be announced Monday at noon ET.
The 64 teams will break down into 16 four-team, double-elimination regional tournaments. Surprisingly, that list did not include Kentucky and instead included Miami, which reached the ACC tournament championship but did not win the league, losing in the title game just after regionals were announced. Here are the 16 regional sites, presented in alphabetical order. All are at campus sites with one exception, Purdue, which will be played at the home park of the Gary Railcats, an independent minor league team:
North Carolina State
Purdue (at Gary, Ind.)
BA national writer and college baseball expert Aaron Fitt had projected 15 of those 16 correctly but had Kentucky as a host instead of Miami. The big question going into Monday will be where the Wildcats will go—to Purdue as a No. 1 seed or as a No. 2 seed? To an Atlantic Coast Conference site, such as Virginia or North Carolina, as a No. 2 seed? The Wildcats had a better season in many ways than the Hurricanes, finishing higher in the Southeastern Conference than Miami did in the Atlantic Coast Conference. But the Hurricanes own four victories in four tries against North Carolina, including a win this past week. Kentucky's RPI was lower than Miami's according to Boydsworld.com, as the Wildcats played a weak nonconference schedule.
Miami's inclusion as a host game the ACC five host sites, compared to four for the Pacific-12 Conference and just three for the SEC, definitely a surprise. This week at the SEC tournament, Mississippi State coach John Cohen had lobbied for his fast-finishing team to be a host and stated it his case for the SEC to have a fifth host; in other words, the league was confident it was getting four hosts.
Florida State is a host for the 29th time and Miami for the 24th time, while LSU is a host for the 20th time. Purdue is a first-time host after winning the Big Ten championship (regular-season and tournament) for the first time since 1909. The event will be played at U.S. Steel Field in Gary. Oregon, meanwhile, is a host for the first time as well, an amazing run for the program that was just reborn four seasons ago.
During the SEC Tournament final, Division I committee chairman Kyle Kallander of the Big South Conference declined to answer a specific question from ESPN's Kyle Peterson comparing Miami to Kentucky, but he did say not all regional hosts are No. 1 seeds, perhaps dropping a hint that Miami could be a No. 2 seed—or that Kentucky could be a No. 1 at one of these 16 host sites.
We'll have much more analysis of the full 64-team field tomorrow both at BaseballAmerica.com and on our weekly College Podcast, available at BaseballAmerica.com and on iTunes.
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