Final 2013 NCAA Projected Field Of 64


Nashville Blacksburg, Va. Fullerton, Calif. Los Angeles
1. (1) Vanderbilt^ 1. Virginia Tech^ 1. (5) Cal State Fullerton^* 1. UCLA^
2. Austin Peay State* 2. Mississippi 2. Arizona State 2. Cal Poly
3. Illinois 3. Liberty* 3. San Diego* 3. San Francisco
4. Binghamton* 4. East Tennessee State* 4. Army* 4. San Diego State*
Chapel Hill, N.C. Columbia, S.C. Charlottesville, Va. Bloomington, Ind.
1. (2) North Carolina^* 1. South Carolina^ 1. (6) Virginia^ 1. Indiana^*
2. UNC Wilmington 2. Georgia Tech 2. Florida Atlantic* 2. Miami
3. Campbell 3. Coastal Carolina 3. Seton Hall 3. Notre Dame
4. Connecticut* 4. Canisius* 4. Towson* 4. Valparaiso*
Baton Rouge, La. Louisville, Ky. Raleigh, N.C. Eugene, Ore.
1. (3) Louisiana State^ 1. Louisville^ 1. (7) N.C. State^ 1. Oregon^
2. Louisiana-Lafayette 2. Clemson 2. Rice* 2. Oklahoma*
3. Sam Houston State 3. Florida 3. Elon* 3. Bryant*
4. Jackson State* 4. Bowling Green State* 4. Columbia* 4. Texas-San Antonio*
Corvallis, Ore. Manhattan, Kan. Tallahassee, Fla. Starkville, Miss.
1. (4) Oregon State^* 1. Kansas State^ 1. (8) Florida State 1. Mississippi State^
2. Troy 2. Arkansas 2. Mercer 2. South Alabama
3. New Mexico 3. Central Arkansas* 3. Alabama 3. Oklahoma State
4. South Dakota State* 4. Wichita State* 4. Savannah State* 4. Saint Louis*
^ Regional Host
* Automatic qualifier

Field of 64 Analysis

• Here are the changes from our Stock Report forecast after Saturday’s action:

IN: Connecticut, San Diego State, Florida.

OUT: Western Carolina, UC Santa Barbara, Auburn.

• The Huskies and Aztecs earned their way in by winning automatic bids Sunday. UConn knocked off Notre Dame on Sunday, but we’re keeping the Irish in the field, making the Big East a four-bid league. If the committee emphasizes Ratings Percentage Index as we expect, Notre Dame will be rewarded for its No. 32 RPI ranking (in the updated Nitty Gritty Report), its 8-7 mark against the top 50 and its 15-14 mark against the top 100 (all of which compare favorably against Western Carolina and UC Santa Barbara). San Diego State upset New Mexico, which finds itself right on the bubble at No. 51 in the RPI and 1-5 against the top 50. But the Lobos are a solid 14-11 against the top 100, and they won the Mountain West by seven games in the regular season, which will get them into regionals, we believe.

The Gauchos and Catamounts rank No. 55 and No. 56, respectively, in the RPI, and we believe that will cost both teams bids. WCU lacks quality wins (0-3 against the top 50), though it did dominate the Southern Conference in the regular season and finish very strong down the stretch. UCSB finished tied with Cal Poly for second place in the Big West and it won seven of its final eight series. The Gauchos have more quality wins than a number of other bubble teams, going 8-10 against the top 50, 14-16 against the top 100. But getting swept by Big 12 cellar-dweller Texas hurts, and the Gauchos split four games at home with San Francisco back in Week Two. We expect the committee to give the Dons the nod over the Gauchos based on their five-spot RPI advantage, even though USF’s 4-6 record against the top 50 and its 10-10 mark against the top 100 aren’t as strong as UCSB’s marks.

We’d like to see both of these teams get in, as an acknowledgement that Western teams have an inherent disadvantage in the RPI, but we don’t expect the committee to see it that way.

• We’re sticking with this morning’s prediction that the Big South will send three teams to regionals for the first time, but Campbell will be one of the most fascinating test cases. The Camels won the Big South regular-season title and reached the championship game of the conference tournament before losing to Liberty. Despite going just 0-1 against the top 50 and playing the No. 237 strength of schedule, Campbell managed to finish at No. 38 in the RPI thanks to its dominance of that schedule (49-10). We think that good RPI, combined with a 14-5 mark in road games, a respectable 9-10 mark against the top 100 and a regular-season Big South title, will get the Camels into a regional.

• All 16 No. 4 seeds are automatic qualifiers. The field has some No. 3 seeds who have No. 4 seed resumes, and some No. 2 seeds with No. 3-seed resumes. It’s been a top-heavy season with a top-heavy field.

• The highest RPI team left out of our field is Nebraska, which at 29-30 is not eligible. The highest eligible team left out is Texas A&M (No. 33), which had a 10-22 mark vs. the Top 100 and 6-13 road record.

• Finally, we’re making one change from our last Stock Report, including Florida in the field over Auburn. We expect the committee to reward the Gators for playing the nation’s No. 2 schedule, and they also finished one game ahead of Auburn in the SEC standings and own an eight-spot RPI advantage (No. 35 vs. No. 43). The Tigers finished stronger, winning three straight series down the stretch against Mississippi, Florida and Arkansas, but the Gators also own quality series wins (sweeping South Carolina, taking two of three from Ole Miss and Miami). The Gators have better records against the top 50 (14-18 vs. 11-16) and top 100 (19-23 vs. 12-17)—their overall body of work is stronger, even though their finish was weaker. The biggest difference is that Florida played four quality nonconference series against top 100 teams (Indiana, Miami, Florida Gulf Coast and Duke), while Auburn’s nonconference schedule featured series against Brown (No. 286), Eastern Illinois (No. 177) and Maine (No. 142).

• Here’s a conference-by-conference breakdown of our projected field:

One-bid leagues (16): America East (Binghamton), Atlantic 10 (Saint Louis), Conference USA (Rice), Horizon (Valparaiso), Ivy (Columbia), Mid-American (Bowling Green State), Metro Atlantic (Canisius), Mid-Eastern Athletic (Savannah State), Missouri Valley (Wichita State), Northeast (Bryant), Ohio Valley (Austin Peay State), Patriot (Army), SoCon (Elon), Summit (South Dakota State), Southwestern Athletic (Jackson State), Western Athletic (Texas-San Antonio).

ACC (8): North Carolina, Virginia, Florida State, N.C. State, Virginia Tech, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Miami.

SEC (8): Vanderbilt, LSU, Mississippi State, Arkansas, South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida.

Big East (4): Louisville, Seton Hall, Connecticut, Notre Dame.

Pac-12 (4): Oregon State, Oregon, UCLA, Arizona State.

Sun Belt (4): South Alabama, Troy, Louisiana-Lafayette, Florida Atlantic.

Big 12 (3): Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State.

Big South (3): Liberty, Campbell, Coastal Carolina.

A-Sun (2): Mercer, East Tennessee State.

Big West (2): Cal State Fullerton, Cal Poly.

Big Ten (2): Indiana, Illinois.

CAA (2): Towson, UNC Wilmington.

Mountain West (2): San Diego State, New Mexico

Southland (2): Sam Houston State, Central Arkansas.

WCC (2): San Diego, San Francisco.