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Projecting The Field Of 64
By Will Kimmey
The hosts look pretty standard here in our projected 64-team field, with 14 No. 1 seeds earning host duties.
The No. 2 seed hosts both are interesting. College of Charleston has gone 44-11 overall, 27-3 in dominating the Southern Conference for a second straight year. Internet RPI models rank the Cougars in the top 10, and the program submitted a large financial bid to serve as a host at 6,000-seat Joe Riley Ballpark in Charleston, which doubles as the home of the Class A RiverDogs.
Arizona seemed like a logical enough host choice as it should finish first or second in the Pacific-10 Conference and has been ranked in the Top 10 most of the season. However, fans haven't flocked to Jerry Kindall Field at Frank Sancet Stadium to watch the Wildcats, so coach Andy Lopez decided Monday to withdraw the regional bid so that the school would not lose money.
That opens another host site on the competitive West Coast, where Arizona State, Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State, Oregon State, Southern California and Stanford all are competing to bring a regional to campus. It also brings Rice into play. The Owls have proven a fine host at Reckling Park the last few seasons.
St. John's also could emerge as a host. It faces similar attendance troubles as Arizona, but the administration is willing to lose money to bring the NCAA to Queens for the first time. The selection committee might also find intrigue with putting the event in New York City. The Division I baseball committee, which selects the 16 hosts as well as the 64-team field, has sent mixed messages in the past about its desire to put a regional in the Northeast. The only regional played in the Northeast under the current tournament format was in 2000 in Montclair, N.J., about 30 miles from Rutgers’ campus. The event drew poorly as it was held off-campus, and its net receipts of $22,307 rank among the lowest of the 64-team era.
Arizona plans to bid to serve as a super-regional host, reasoning the club is veteran enough to get that far while playing a road regional. Arizona made it to the College World Series in 2004 without benefit of a single postseason home game.
National seeds indicated in parentheses