Preseason Predicted Field Of 64

Chapel Hill, N.C. Eugene, Ore.
1. (1) North Carolina^* 1. Oregon^
2. Florida 2. San Diego*
3. Elon 3. Fresno State
4. Delaware State* 4. Wis.-Milwaukee*

Starkville, Miss. Los Angeles
1. (8) Mississippi State^ 1. UCLA^
2. Southern Mississippi 2. Texas
3. Florida Atlantic* 3. UC Irvine
4. Dartmouth* 4. Loyola Marymount

Fayetteville, Ark. Fort Worth
1. (4) Arkansas^ 1. Texas Christian^*
2. Oklahoma 2. Texas A&M
3. Missouri State* 3. Dallas Baptist*
4. Saint Louis* 4. Army*

Louisville Lexington, Ky.
1. (5) Louisville^* 1. Kentucky^
2. Mississippi 2. Arizona State
3. Virginia Tech 3. Virginia
4. Indiana* 4. Stony Brook*

Corvallis, Ore. Houston
1. (3) Oregon State^* 1. Rice^*
2. Cal State Fullerton* 2. Baylor
3. Gonzaga 3. Sam Houston State*
4. North Dakota State* 4. Florida Gulf Coast*

Raleigh, N.C. Columbia, S.C.
1. (6) N.C. State^ 1. South Carolina^
2. Coastal Carolina* 2. Miami
3. East Carolina 3. Col. of Charleston*
4. UNC Wilmington* 4. Bryant*

Nashville Atlanta
1. (2) Vanderbilt^* 1. Georgia Tech^
2. Clemson 2. Arizona
3. Notre Dame 3. Auburn
4. Austin Peay State* 4. Canisius*

Stanford, Calif. Baton Rouge, La.
1. (7) Stanford^ 1. Louisiana State^
2. New Mexico* 2. Florida State
3. Wichita State 3. Tulane
4. Kent State* 4. Alabama State*

* Automatic qualifier
^ Regional host
Super regional pairings listed side-by-side

• The robust Southeastern Conference expands to 14 teams this year, and it looks deeper than ever, landing eight teams in our preseason Top 25. We project the expanded SEC to send a record 10 teams to regionals, and to host six regionals. The ACC comes next with eight NCAA tournament teams and three hosts, followed by the Pac-12 with six regional teams and four hosts. The Big 12 and Conference USA each land four teams in our field and host one regional apiece.

• We forecast a bounce-back year for the Big West, with two teams heading to regionals and Long Beach State on the cusp. But we’re still bullish on the surging West Coast Conference, which earns three bids. The WCC’s Loyola Marymount is among the last at-large teams into our field, along with the SEC’s 10th team, Auburn.

• The first seven teams that just miss our field are LBSU, Washington, Oral Roberts, Nebraska, Samford, Central Florida and Oklahoma State.

• Our field features some interesting potential matchups in regionals and super regionals. Geographically, it would make sense to send Clemson to Columbia, but we doubt the committee would pair the Tigers and Gamecocks for a second straight year, so we’re sending Clemson to Nashville, where CU coach Jack Leggett would face off with former apprentice Tim Corbin of Vanderbilt. Likewise, our field would set up a potential matchup between Mississippi coach Mike Bianco and former assistant Dan McDonnell, now at Louisville. And a super regional showdown between the Cardinals and Kentucky would be fun.

• We project no regionals in the state of Florida. That hasn’t happened since 1975. But Florida and Florida State are both in our Top 25, and Miami just missed, so it is easy to envision the Sunshine State hosting one or more regionals again this year. Since none of those teams looks like a juggernaut on paper, however, we’re sticking to our projection of zero hosts in Florida.