2021 NCAA Baseball Tournament Projected Field Of 64 (5/12/21)
The selection committee will release its short list of candidates to host regionals in the next couple days. Selection Monday is less than three weeks away. In short, crunch time has arrived in college baseball.
The most pressing business is selecting host sites, a process that has been adjusted this year. Instead of selecting the regional hosts the day before the Field of 64 is announced on Memorial Day, it will select a shortlist of potential hosts this week – a few weeks in advance of Selection Monday. The changes are a result of the need to create a testing site at each regional, which can’t be done with just a few days of lead time. That accelerated timeline means this weekend is vital for candidates on the hosting bubble.
This week, there’s a change in our projected hosts, as Mississippi falls out and Pittsburgh moves in. A week ago, following a sweep of South Carolina, the Rebels looked to be firmly on the host line. Two things have happened since then to change that: 1) Ole Miss lost a series at Texas A&M and 2) Gunnar Hoglund was ruled out for the season due to injury. The selection committee won’t be considering Hoglund’s injury, but we’re still in the business of projecting here and Ole Miss faces a very difficult closing stretch – Vanderbilt, at Georgia, SEC Tournament. The Rebels are 14-10 in the SEC but have won just three series. Without Hoglund, will they be able to beat the Commodores or Bulldogs or make a run in Hoover?
Pittsburgh, meanwhile, last week went just 2-2 against West Virginia and Boston College in its return to action after its games were canceled for two weeks due to Covid-19. That saw its RPI fall to 27 and it drop to second place in the ACC Coastal Division. But the Panthers had been on the hosting bubble the last two weeks and didn’t join the hosts largely because it was difficult to project how they would return from a Covid pause. But they seemed to handle it well enough and face a manageable final few weeks – North Carolina State, at Wake Forest, ACC Tournament. That, combined with a series sweep of Florida State, is enough to push Pitt ahead of the rest of the ACC hosting contenders, aside from first-place Notre Dame.
Aside from the 16 hosts listed here, other contenders are Florida State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Ole Miss, Southern Mississippi and perhaps a fourth West Coast host to join Arizona, Oregon and Stanford. A Big Ten host at this stage seems unlikely, done in by the conference’s ever tightening standings.
The tournament bubble continues to churn. Major conference contenders will continue to fight for places over the next few weeks. Another team to watch is Ball State, which has pushed into the top 50 in RPI, owns a series win at Kentucky, a series split at Arizona, could finish the season with 40 wins, but is a game behind Central Michigan in the Mid-American Conference standings after splitting a four-game series in Mount Pleasant. The MAC hasn’t received an at-large bid since 1994 and Ball State has little margin for error over the next three weeks, but it is producing a strong resume that must be taken seriously as a contender.
There are sure to be many more twists and turns on the way to Selection Monday. Baseball America will continue to update the projected field weekly throughout the spring.
|PROJECTED FIELD OF 64|
|Fayetteville, Ark.||Ruston, La.|
|1. (1) Arkansas^*||1. (16) Louisiana Tech^|
|2. Virginia Tech||2. Mississippi|
|3. Northeastern*||3. Tulane|
|4. Lehigh*||4. New Orleans*|
|Fort Worth, Texas||Pittsburgh|
|1. (2) Texas Christian^*||1. (15) Pittsburgh^|
|2. Nebraska||2. Southern Mississippi|
|3. Dallas Baptist*||3. Arizona State|
|4. Oral Roberts*||4. Wright State*|
|1. (3) Vanderbilt^||1. (14) Charlotte^*|
|2. North Carolina State||2. Georgia Tech|
|3. Ball State||3. Georgia|
|4. Southeast Missouri State*||4. South Carolina-Upstate*|
|Starkville, Miss.||Stanford, Calif.|
|1. (4) Mississippi State^||1. (13) Stanford^|
|2. Louisville||2. UC Irvine*|
|3. South Alabama*||3. Baylor|
|4. Jackson State*||4. Nevada*|
|1. (5) Texas^||1. (12) Florida^|
|2. Oregon State||2. Florida State|
|3. Alabama||3. Oklahoma State|
|4. Bryant*||4. Florida A&M*|
|South Bend, Ind.||Greenville, N.C.|
|1. (6) Notre Dame^*||1. (11) East Carolina^*|
|2. Michigan||2. Old Dominion|
|3. Indiana State||3. Liberty*|
|4. Central Michigan*||4. Virginia Commonwealth*|
|Tucson, Ariz.||Lubbock, Texas|
|1. (7) Arizona^*||1. (10) Texas Tech^|
|2. South Carolina||2. UCLA|
|3. Fairfield*||3. Miami|
|4. Grand Canyon*||4. Connecticut*|
|Knoxville, Tenn.||Eugene, Ore.|
|1. (8) Tennessee^||1. (9) Oregon^|
|2. Indiana*||2. Gonzaga*|
|3. Virginia||3. Iowa|
|4. Wofford*||4. Stony Brook*|
^ Denotes host school
* Denotes automatic qualifier
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