2021 NCAA Baseball Tournament Final Projected Field Of 64
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Championship week is upon us. Conference tournaments are being played across the country and by the end of Sunday, all that will be left to do is wait for the selection committee’s decisions.
In the meantime, we’ll be updating our Projected Field of 64 daily throughout the week.
In our final update, we now know the 16 host sites, as the NCAA announced them Sunday evening. However, if you've been following these projections all week, there were no surprises on the host sites.
The race for the final spots in the top eight is tight. Mississippi State, Notre Dame, Stanford and Texas Tech are all very close. Mississippi State and Notre Dame get the nod for the final two spots here—Notre Dame for its ACC regular-season championship and 16 wins away from home, the most of any of the four teams, and Mississippi State for its third-place finish in the SEC.
This projection includes the unusual arrangement of South Carolina hosting a regional as a No. 2 seed, with Old Dominion as the No. 1 seed. ODU did not bid to host and therefore is not on the shortlist of 20 teams that the selection committee can pick from to host regionals. But the Monarchs rank No. 13 in RPI (the best of any Conference USA team), are 20-6 away from home, 14-6 against top-50 RPI teams and 21-11 against top-100 RPI teams. Those metrics all stack up favorably when compared to any other potential No. 1 seed.
A traveling No. 1 seed would be unconventional in the modern version of the NCAA Tournament. The selection committee has not sent a top seed on the road since 2010 when Florida State was the No. 1 seed in the Norwich Regional, hosted by Connecticut. It previously was a more common part of the NCAA Tournament, but as more schools have invested more money in their facilities, more schools have met the hosting requirements.
The race for the final few spots in the NCAA Tournament is also tight. There are more than half a dozen teams that have strong claims for the last three at-large bids. In the end, Alabama, Fairfield and Louisiana State are given the nod here. Fairfield is an extreme outlier having only played a conference schedule (which it dominated) and it's anyone's guess how the committee will evaluate it, but with the No. 2 RPI, flawed as that metric may be, the guess here is the Stags are in. Alabama and LSU both rank in the top 35 of RPI and the top five of strength of schedule. Those two numbers may carry the day.
But Ball State, Georgia, Long Beach State, Louisville and Michigan, among others, all have strong cases and the selection committee will have its work cut out for it.
|PROJECTED FIELD OF 64|
|Fayetteville, Ark.||Ruston, La.|
|1. (1) Arkansas^*#||1. (16) Louisiana Tech^|
|2. Maryland||2. Oklahoma State|
|3. Northeastern*#||3. Louisiana State|
|4. Jacksonville*#||4. South Alabama*|
|1. (2) Vanderbilt^||1. (15) Oregon^|
|2. Virginia Commonwealth*#||2. Gonzaga*#|
|3. Wright State*#||3. UC Santa Barbara|
|4. New Jersey Tech*#||4. Rider*#|
|Knoxville, Tenn.||Gainesville, Fla.|
|1. (3) Tennessee^||1. (14) Florida^|
|2. Charlotte||2. Florida State|
|3. Campbell||3. Arizona State|
|4. Southeast Missouri State*#||4. South Florida*#|
|Fort Worth, Texas||Greenville, N.C.|
|1. (4) Texas Christian^*#🔺||1. (13) East Carolina^|
|2. Miami||2. Duke*#|
|3. Dallas Baptist*#||3. Liberty|
|4. Central Connecticut State*#||4. Norfolk State*#|
|1. (5) Texas^🔻||1. (12) Mississippi^🔻|
|2. Nebraska*#||2. Southern Mississippi|
|3. Alabama||3. Virginia|
|4. McNeese State*#||4. Samford*#|
|Tucson, Ariz.||Columbia, S.C.|
|1. (6) Arizona^*#||1. (11) Old Dominion*#🔺|
|2. North Carolina State||2. South Carolina^|
|3. Fairfield||3. North Carolina|
|4. Grand Canyon*#||4. Presbyterian*#|
|South Bend, Ind.||Lubbock, Texas|
|1. (7) Notre Dame^||1. (10) Texas Tech^|
|2. Connecticut*#||2. UCLA|
|3. Indiana State||3. Pittsburgh|
|4. Central Michigan*#||4. Army*#|
|Starkville, Miss.||Stanford, Calif.|
|1. (8) Mississippi State^||1. (9) Stanford^|
|2. Georgia Tech||2. UC Irvine*#|
|3. Oregon State||3. Nevada*#|
|4. Southern*#||4. North Dakota State*#|
^ Denotes host school
* Denotes automatic qualifier
# Denotes automatic bid
Bold denotes new team to field
Baylor Baseball: Five Questions to Answer Entering 2022
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Long Beach State