The following teams clinched automatic bids Saturday:
Big South: Coastal Carolina
Big Ten: Purdue
CAA: UNC Wilmington
MAC: Kent State
Missouri Valley: Creighton
Mountain West: New Mexico
Summit League: Oral Roberts
The wins by Coastal Carolina, Purdue and UNC Wilmington were good for bubble teams, as those teams would have earned at-large spots if they hadn't won automatic bids. Instead, the Big South, Big Ten and CAA will be one-bid leagues. New Mexico's blowout of San Diego State earned the Lobos a trip back to regionals for the third straight year. TCU's exit earlier meant the MWC was already going to be a two-bid league, just as we've had it all week, so no change there. So none of the 10 teams that clinched automatic bids Saturday snapped up additional at-large bids.
Here are the matchups for Sunday's conference tournament title games:
ACC: Georgia Tech vs. Miami
Big 12: Oklahoma vs. Missouri
Big East: St. John's vs. South Florida
Conference USA: Memphis vs. Alabama-Birmingham
Horizon: Valparaiso vs. Illinois-Chicago
MAAC: Canisius vs. Manhattan
Ohio Valley: Eastern Illinois vs. Austin Peay State
SEC: Mississippi State vs. Vanderbilt
SoCon: Georgia Southern vs. Samford
Sun Belt: Louisiana-Monroe vs. Arkansas State
WAC: Sacramento State vs. Fresno State
We already accounted for the extra bids in the Big East, Conference USA, MVC, SoCon and WAC in Friday's Mini Stock Report. That leaves just two more conferences where at-large bids could disappear Sunday: the Big 12, where a Missouri win would be bad news for bubble teams (because Oklahoma will get an at-large bid, while Mizzou will not); and the Big West (where a Long Beach State win over Fullerton on Sunday would earn the Dirtbags the Big West's automatic bid, making that a two-bid league).
Tulane's loss to Central Florida on Saturday completed a 1-2 showing in the Conference USA tournament, which figures to spell the end of the Green Wave's at-large hopes, because it needed a winning weekend in the C-USA tournament to bolster its case, and it did not deliver. If just one of Missouri or Long Beach State wins Sunday, just remove Tulane from our field of 64. If both teams lose, another team that we chopped Friday re-enters our field of 64 at Tulane's expense—we'll take East Carolina, which salvaged a win in the C-USA tourney in an otherwise meaningless game against UAB on Saturday.
So the other teams we listed as "next on the chopping block" yesterday all should be in the field: Southeastern Louisiana, Texas, College of Charleston, Indiana State, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest and Sam Houston State. If both Mizzou and Long Beach win Sunday, either SELA, Texas or CofC will be cut.
NATIONAL SEED RACE
Stanford was hammered by California, 15-5, to lose the series. That should wrap up a national seed for South Carolina, as the Cardinal needed to win their final series to have a shot.
Final projected national seeds: Florida, UCLA, LSU, Florida State, Baylor, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina.
Both Arizona and Cal State Fullerton lost Saturday, falling to 1-1 in their respective rivalry series. Arizona is now in a three-way tie with UCLA and Oregon (which also lost Saturday at Oregon State) atop the Pac-12. The Titans fell into a tie with Long Beach State atop the Big West, with one game to play. Considering host sites will be announced at 12:30 p.m. PT on Sunday—before the Titans and Wildcats complete their rubber games—Sunday's games do not factor into the decision. The Wildcats play in a better conference, have a stronger RPI and more top 50 wins; they are a strong bet to win the fourth and final West Coast host spot.
Final projected hosts: Florida, UCLA, LSU, Florida State, Baylor, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Stanford, Rice, North Carolina State, Purdue, Virginia, Kentucky, Arizona, Texas A&M.
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