Projected Field of 64 (April 19)

B.J. Myers and West Virginia are a regional host in our new projection (Courtesy of WVU Communications)

SEE ALSO: Top 25 Coverage

SEE ALSO: Field of 64 Coverage


West Virginia hasn't earned a regional bid since 1996. But on the heels of a series win against Big 12 Conference leader Texas Christian, the Mountaineers currently project as a regional host.

West Virginia has won five straight series—four against Big 12 opponents. The Mountaineers are one game behind first-place TCU in the conference standings at 8-4, and at 22-13 overall, they rank eighth in the country in RPI on WarrenNolan.com. If they continue at this pace, the Mountaineers should be in line to host a regional at Monongalia Country Ballpark, which opened in 2015.

While the Mountaineers were the biggest risers in this week's Field of 64, the Big 12 also lost a team from the field, with Oklahoma State at 4-8 in the conference and No. 60 in the RPI dropping out. In the Cowboys' place, Florida Atlantic, which is second in Conference USA (24-11-1, 11-4 in conference), joins the field as the third regional team from its conference. FAU still has work to do in the RPI department, sitting at No. 69, but it has been on the rise that last few weeks as it has won seven straight series.

Finishing second in CUSA alone won't be enough—Marshall found that out last year—but with half of their remaining 18 games against top-100 RPI teams, the Owls will have plenty of opportunity to improve their RPI down the stretch. CUSA rivals Charlotte and Louisiana Tech have better RPIs than both FAU and ODU, but Charlotte has lost series to both and Louisiana Tech is in ninth place in the league. So, for now, the nods go to FAU and ODU.

Among hosts, the only other significant change came out of the Southeastern Conference, as Arkansas leapfrogged slumping South Carolina to earn a hosting bid. The Razorbacks are in first place in the SEC, while the Gamecocks fell out of this week's Top 25 after dropping their fourth weekend series and falling in the RPI to No. 26. The SEC remains tightly packed, with the Razorbacks and Mississippi State surging up the conference standings and RPI rankings. Louisiana State remains the conference's lone projected national seed, although there's time for a second team to emerge. Kentucky, ranked No. 7 in the RPI, is knocking on the door, as is Florida (No. 9), which is coming off an impressive series win at Vanderbilt.

The Big Ten is sitting at four regional teams—Maryland, Minnesota, Michigan and Nebraska—the top four teams in the conference standings. However, Indiana is on the cusp, ranking No. 33 in the RPI. The Hoosiers are 2 1/2 games back in the standings and will have the opportunity to bolster their tournament case over the next two weekends with upcoming series at Michigan and against Maryland.

The American Athletic Conference's automatic bid remains a revolving door. Seven of the conference’s eight teams are within four games of each other in the standings, and there's little clarity as to who will emerge at the top. Houston, with its No. 18 RPI, projects as the conference winner despite being one game back of first-place Tulane. The Cougars, Connecticut and South Florida are the three regional teams from the American at the moment, but that could change quickly. The Huskies are playing an important series against Central Florida (No. 22 RPI) this weekend, which could shake up the standings and the field. And the suddenly hot Green Wave could potentially enter the at-large picture. As of now, Tulane's 18-19 overall record and No. 96 RPI isn't enough, but if Tulane were to pad its conference lead and continue its recent winning ways, the Green Wave could join the field, as well.


PROJECTED FIELD OF 64
Corvallis, OR Long Beach, CA
1. (1) Oregon State^* 1. Long Beach State
2. Missouri State* 2. Auburn
3. Southeastern Louisiana 3. Stanford
4. Jackson State* 4. Binghamton*
Chapel Hill, NC Fayetteville, AR
1. (2) North Carolina^* 1. Arkansas
2. Maryland 2. Oklahoma
3. Connecticut 3. Washington
4. Navy* 4. Oral Roberts*
Fort Worth Winston-Salem, NC
1. (3) Texas Christian^* 1. Wake Forest
2. Southern Mississippi* 2. South Carolina
3. Nebraska 3. Mercer*
4. Bryant* 4. Winthrop*
Tucson, AZ Fullerton, CA
1. (4) Arizona^ 1. Cal State Fullerton*
2. Texas A&M 2. Oregon
3. San Diego* 3. Texas
4. New Mexico State* 4. Jacksonville*
Lubbock, TX Charlottesville, VA
1. (5) Texas Tech^ 1. Virginia
2. Houston* 2. St. John’s*
3. New Mexico* 3. Old Dominion
4. Fairfield* 4. Dartmouth*
Louisville Lexington, KY
1. (6) Louisville^ 1. Kentucky
2. Central Florida 2. Michigan*
3. Minnesota 3. Florida State
4. Wright State* 4. Kent State*
Clemson, SC Gainesville, FL
1. (7) Clemson^ 1. Florida
2. Vanderbilt 2. South Florida
3. Coastal Carolina* 3. Florida Atlantic
4. Tennessee Tech* 4. Bethune-Cookman*
Baton Rouge, LA Morgantown, WV
1. (8) Louisiana State^* 1. West Virginia
2. McNeese State* 2. Mississippi State
3. Baylor 3. North Carolina State
4. Northeastern* 4. Rhode Island*

Last four in: Florida Atlantic, Southeastern Louisiana, Connecticut, Nebraska
First four out: Indiana, Mississippi, Charlotte, Louisiana Tech
Next four out: Gonzaga, Missouri, UCLA, South Alabama


New Hosts: Arkansas, West Virginia
New Auto Bids: Fairfield (MAAC), Jackson State (SWAC), Northeastern (Colonial), Winthrop (Big South)
New At-Large Bids: Florida Atlantic
Dropped Out: Oklahoma State


Bids by Conference:
9: SEC
7: ACC
6: Big 12
5. Pac-12
4: AAC, Big Ten
3: Conference USA
2: Big West, Southland
1: A-10, A-Sun, American East, Big East, Big South, Colonial, Horizon, Ivy, MAC, MAAC, MEAC, Missouri Valley, Mountain West, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot, Southern, Summit, Sun Belt, SWAC, WAC, WCC

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