2021 NCAA Baseball Tournament Projected Field Of 64 (3/31/21)
As the calendar prepares to flip to April, the Road to Omaha is starting to take 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. Baseball America is updating the Projected Field of 64 weekly throughout the spring. 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.
It’s still too early to lean on RPI while making a projected field, but early trends indicate this could be a good year for the Missouri Valley and Conference USA. Not only does that mean they have a chance to put more teams in the field than usual, but the league’s champions – projected here as Indiana State and Louisiana Tech – have reasonable paths to hosting. No CUSA school has hosted since Southern Mississippi in 2017 and no MVC school has hosted since 2015 when Dallas Baptist and Missouri State did so.
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 again this week, though the teams on the host line have changed slightly. South Carolina and Virginia Tech move into hosting position, while North Carolina and Pittsburgh drop out. Ultimately, the hosts from those two conferences will largely come down to the standings.
In this projection, the ACC and SEC both receive 10 bids, and both conferences have teams just on the wrong side of the bubble. That would tie the record number of bids for one conference, which the ACC and SEC jointly hold. It is conceivable either or both conferences break the record in 2021. But with just two weekends of SEC play down, there is still much to learn in that conference. The ACC is deeper into its schedule and it looks likely that there won’t be much separation in the standings between the top and the bottom, which will make sorting out which teams get bids and which get left at home difficult for the selection committee.
Baseball America will continue to update the projected field weekly.
This projection has been corrected to include Nebraska, which was initially left out in error.
|PROJECTED FIELD OF 64|
|Fayetteville, Ark.||Blacksburg, Va.|
|1. (1) Arkansas^*||1. (16) Virginia Tech^|
|2. Oklahoma State||2. Oregon|
|3. Houston||3. Georgia|
|4. Fairfield*||4. Navy*|
|1. (2) Vanderbilt^||1. (15) Florida^|
|2. Indiana||2. Florida State|
|3. Southern Illinois||3. Florida Atlantic|
|4. Bryant*||4. Connecticut*|
|Oxford, Miss.||Tuscon, Ariz.|
|1. (3) Mississippi^||1. (14) Arizona^|
|2. Southern Mississippi||2. Texas Christian|
|3. Southeastern Louisiana*||3. San Diego*|
|4. Jackson State*||4. Sacramento State*|
|1. (4) Louisville^*||1. (13) South Carolina^|
|2. Indiana State*||2. North Carolina|
|3. Nebraska||3. Oklahoma|
|4. Hartford*||4. Winthrop*|
|Lubbock, Texas||South Bend, Ind.|
|1. (5) Texas Tech^*||1. (12) Notre Dame^|
|2. Arizona State||2. Michigan*|
|3. Duke||3. Louisiana State|
|4. North Dakota State*||4. Ball State*|
|Starkville, Miss.||Knoxville, Tenn.|
|1. (6) Mississippi State^||1. (11) Tennessee^|
|2. Louisiana Tech*||2. Pittsburgh|
|3. Louisiana-Lafayette*||3. Stanford|
|4. Jacksonville State*||4. Wright State*|
|Greenville, N.C.||Los Angeles|
|1. (7) East Carolina^*||1. (10) UCLA^*|
|2. Oregon State||2. UC Irvine*|
|3. Clemson||3. San Diego State*|
|4. North Carolina A&T*||4. Fordham*|
|1. (8) Georgia Tech^||1. (9) Texas^|
|2. Alabama||2. Miami|
|3. Stetson*||3. Dallas Baptist|
|4. Samford*||4. Northeastern*|
^ Denotes host school
* Denotes automatic qualifier
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