2021 NCAA Baseball Tournament Projected Field Of 64 (3/24/21)
More than a month into the college baseball season, the Road to Omaha is taking shape. Most conferences have begun conference play and the sport has largely successfully navigated the challenges of playing during a pandemic.
There’s still a long way to go, but it’s not too early to start breaking down the postseason picture. This is Baseball America’s first in-season Projected Field of 64 of the year. At this time of season, the emphasis is definitely on “projected.” This is not meant to be how the tournament would be seeded if it started tomorrow, it is meant to illustrate what it might be expected to look like on Selection Monday.
RPI was not much of a factor in this projection. It is far too early to be able to use the metric without a large grain of salt. That said, early trends can be meaningful, especially on a conference level. To that end, things are looking up for the Missouri Valley Conference and Conference USA and very much down for the Big West, which ranks 23rd in conference RPI. The lack of inter-regional travel has hurt the Big West, but so has its collective losing record against the Pac-12, Mountain West and West Coast Conferences. The Big West still has two bids in this projection, but there will likely be little margin for error for its contenders.
The hosting race will continue to evolve over the course of the season, and it will likely be heavily impacted by conference standings in the ACC and SEC. Those two conferences are projected for 11 hosts here and the way the teams line up in the standings is likely to be closely followed in their seeding.
One of the biggest questions early in the hosting race is how many top-eight seeds the SEC will receive. It has the top five teams in the Top 25, but as they move deeper into conference play, will that hold? Even if the SEC is as top-heavy as it appears, five top-eight seeds coming from one conference would be a lot.
Both the ACC and SEC have 10 teams included in the field, which would tie a record they jointly own. That figures to remain the case throughout the spring and it is conceivable, if unlikely, that either conference could break the record.
Baseball America will continue to update the projected field weekly throughout the spring.
|PROJECTED FIELD OF 64|
|Fayetteville, Ark.||Knoxville, Tenn.|
|1. (1) Arkansas^*||1. (16) Tennessee^|
|2. Oklahoma State||2. Florida State|
|3. Nebraska||3. Arizona State|
|4. Oral Roberts*||4. South Carolina-Upstate*|
|1. (2) Mississippi State^||1. (15) Pittsburgh^|
|2. Louisiana Tech*||2. Michigan*|
|3. UC Santa Barbara||3. Georgia|
|4. Jackson State*||4. Connecticut*|
|Nashville||Chapel Hill, N.C.|
|1. (3) Vanderbilt^||1. (14) North Carolina^|
|2. Stanford||2. South Carolina|
|3. Duke||3. Coastal Carolina*|
|4. Navy*||4. Fordham*|
|1. (4) Louisville^*||1. (13) UCLA^|
|2. Indiana||2. Texas Christian|
|3. Southern Illinois||3. San Diego State*|
|4. Wright State*||4. Sacramento State*|
|Lubbock, Texas||South Bend, Ind.|
|1. (5) Texas Tech^*||1. (12) Notre Dame^|
|2. Louisiana State||2. Indiana State*|
|3. Houston||3. Oklahoma|
|4. Fairfield*||4. Ball State*|
|Oxford, Miss.||Eugene, Ore.|
|1. (6) Mississippi^||1. (11) Oregon^*|
|2. Oregon State||2. Boston College|
|3. Southern Mississippi||3. Gonzaga*|
|4. Jacksonville State*||4. Bryant*|
|Greenville, N.C.||Gainesville, Fla.|
|1. (7) East Carolina^*||1. (10) Florida^|
|2. Virginia Tech||2. Miami|
|3. UNC Wilmington*||3. Stetson*|
|4. North Carolina A&T*||4. Hartford*|
|1. (8) Georgia Tech^||1. (9) Texas^|
|2. Alabama||2. Arizona|
|3. Cal Poly*||3. Dallas Baptist|
|4. Samford*||4. McNeese State*|
^ Denotes host school
* Denotes automatic qualifier
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