Predicting The Field: May 30

Below is Aaron Fitt’s final Field of 64 projection, which is a look ahead of what will be announced on Monday afternoon.

Tempe, Ariz. Norman, Okla. Myrtle Beach, S.C. Columbia, S.C.
1. (1) Arizona State^* 1. Oklahoma^ 1. (5) Coastal Carolina^* 1. South Carolina^
2. Mississippi 2. Washington State 2. Clemson 2. The Citadel*
3. Illinois State* 3. New Mexico 3. Elon 3. North Carolina State
4. Wisconsin-Milwaukee* 4. Oral Roberts* 4. Bucknell* 4. Kent State*

Charlottesville, Va. Norwich, Conn. Los Angeles Fullerton, Calif.
1. (2) Virginia^ 1. Connecticut^ 1. (6) UCLA^ 1. Cal State Fullerton^*
2. College of Charleston 2. Vanderbilt 2. San Diego* 2. Oregon State
3. St. John’s* 3. North Carolina 3. UC Irvine 3. Hawaii*
4. Virginia Commonwealth* 4. Central Conn. State* 4. Stony Brook* 4. Rider*

Gainesville, Fla. Coral Gables, Fla. Louisville Fayetteville, Ark.
1. (3) Florida^ 1. Miami^ 1. (7) Louisville^ 1. Arkansas^
2. Florida Atlantic 2. Louisiana State* 2. Virginia Tech 2. Oregon
3. Stanford 3. Florida International* 3. Kentucky 3. Kansas State
4. Bethune-Cookman* 4. Minnesota* 4. Saint Louis* 4. Dartmouth*

Austin Fort Worth Atlanta Auburn, Ala.
1. (4) Texas^ 1. Texas Christian^* 1. (8) Georgia Tech^ 1. Auburn^
2. Rice 2. Texas A&M 2. Alabama 2. Florida State*
3. Louisiana-Lafayette 3. California 3. Baylor 3. Southern Mississippi*
4. Lamar* 4. Grambling State* 4. Jacksonville State* 4. Mercer*

* Automatic qualifier
^Regional host

FIELD ANALYSIS

The last teams into the field of 64 are California and New Mexico.
Other bubble teams that get the nod: North Carolina, Kentucky, Elon,
Oregon State, North Carolina State.

The first teams out are Arizona, Pittsburgh, Wichita State, Florida Gulf Coast, Texas State, Boston College and Liberty.

The SEC gets nine bids, ACC gets eight, Pac-10 gets seven, Big 12 gets five. The SoCon, Big East and Sun Belt get three apiece.

Oregon is the last No. 2 seed. Baylor is the first No. 3 seed.

Illinois State is the last No. 3 seed. Jacksonville State is the first No. 4 seed.

The
Golden Bears are in the most precarious position for an at-large bid.
It’s easy to envision the committee snubbing a Pac-10 team that failed
to reach 30 wins, especially considering Cal’s struggles over the last
few weeks before they won two of three at Oregon this weekend. Arizona
is stronger in the Ratings Percentage Index (25th) than Cal (37th) and
has a slightly better overall record (33-22 vs. 29-23), but we’re
sticking with the Golden Bears for a few reasons. First, Cal swept the
head-to-head series against the Wildcats. Second, Arizona lost its
final six weekend series, including brutal sets against Cal State
Bakersfield and Southern California. At least Cal rebounded from its
late-season swoon with a huge road series win at Oregon. Third, Arizona
is just 6-9 on the road, compared to Cal’s 12-13 road mark. The
committee doesn’t seem likely to give the benefit of the doubt to an
Arizona team that played 40 of its 55 games at home.

Arizona’s
brutal finish also negates its advantages over New Mexico, including a
head-to-head sweep in two midweek games (in Tucson, of course), a
20-plus-spot cushion in the RPI, and nine more wins against the top 50.
The Lobos tested themselves on the road in nonconference play and are
the only team all season to win a series against Texas. An RPI of 48th
and just a 3-8 mark against the top 50 mean New Mexico is going to be
on pins and needles right up until it sees its name on the board. But
at least the Lobos did not fall flat on their faces over the last six
weeks of the season like Arizona did, and at least they reached the
finals of the Mountain West Conference tournament before losing to
juggernaut Texas Christian.

Pitt, Wichita State, FGCU, Texas
State and Boston College have similar RPIs to New Mexico, but none has
a good record against the top 50, and none has a signature series win
that matches New Mexico’s season-opening series win in Austin. Pitt
should be in the discussion thanks to its home series win vs.
Louisville and split vs. Connecticut, but the Panthers stumbled down
the stretch, losing their final series to South Florida and going 1-2
in the conference tournament. The Big East would have had a very good
chance to net four bids if Pitt had finished stronger.

For more on the at-large deliberations, see Sunday’s Bubble Musings blog post.

Connecticut
ranked 20th in the weighted pRPI at Boyd’s World entering Sunday, and
they are 24th in WarrenNolan.com’s raw pRPI rankings, updated after
Sunday’s loss to St. John’s. Consider this nugget, courtesy of Mark
Etheridge from sebaseball.com: In the last five years, eight teams have
hosted regionals with RPIs lower than 20th. Six of them were No. 1
seeds. UConn has 47 wins, and a 21-6 record on the road (more road
victories than any team in the nation). That will appeal to the
committee, and help the Huskies overcome their modest 3-3 record vs.
the top 50.

Florida State, Vanderbilt and Rice are the top No. 2
seeds. The Seminoles and Owls get sent to Auburn and Austin,
respectively, based on geographic considerations. That leaves Vandy as
a natural fit in Norwich.

College | #2010 #On Campus

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