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Field of 64 Chat (5/25/22)

Teddy Cahill chatted regarding the Field of 64 today from 1-2 p.m. ET. You can read the transcript here.

Teddy Cahill: Selection Monday is five days away. A lot to be decided between now and then with conference tournaments around the country. It's a good time to take stock and answer some questions, so let's do that.

Paddy (Austin):

    Would teams like Gonzaga, Wofford, and Texas St still be in the field if they don't win their conference tournaments?

Teddy Cahill: Absolutely to Gonzaga and Texas State. Wofford sure should be, but I wouldn't advise the Terriers go 0-2 in the SoCon Tournament. But with 40 wins, a regular-season conference title and an RPI sitting at 31 now, they should still be all right if that happened.

Cal (Boston):

    Is Ole Miss on the hot seat? / How far would Bama or Kentucky need to go into the SEC tournament to make the Field of 64?

Teddy Cahill: That loss last night means it will be an anxious week for Ole Miss, yes. I think the Rebels will get in ultimately, but I think they're going to be watching the bubble the rest of the weekend. Right now they're about the fourth or fifth last team in the field and we know the bubble will get tighter over the next few days. Kentucky needs to beat Auburn today to even think about what next. Both would need at least one more win after that. The Tide are in a better spot than the Wildcats thanks to their superior RPI, strength of schedule and sweep of Ole Miss. How the rain impacts the rest of the SEC Tournament is also worth watching. If this tournament turns into a single-elimination event like some fear, it might help Alabama/UK because then they're not taking on two more losses. But it also means they absolutely have to beat Arkansas and LSU in the next round (if UK can first beat Auburn).

Greg (ATL):

    What would Florida have to do between now and Sunday to get a host? Is it possible?

Teddy Cahill: It's possible, yes. If Florida beats Texas A&M today (or whenever that game gets played), it will have an RPI in the teens. Two more wins might be enough, but it would depend on what was happening elsewhere in the country (and if two wins sends UF to the title game or the semifinals). Winning the whole thing would definitely do it, but playing in the championship game would probably be enough for a Gainesville Regional to be a reality.

Jake (Milwaukee):

    With AQs on the line, what is your ideal conference tourney format? SEC feels like a lot of games right before regionals, ACC pool play with current tiebreaker is never talked about fondly.

Teddy Cahill: I think this comes down to what you want out of your conference tournament. The SEC has a great format for holding an exciting event and one that really helps bubble teams, I think. It gives them a lot of inventory and an opportunity to advance and boost their RPI. The downside is that it is a grueling event and there's only so much leeway built into the schedule for bad weather. The ACC has a great format for not taxing your teams going into the NCAA Tournament and there's a bit more give if rain messes things up. But it's not good for bubble teams. The way the tiebreaker works, those teams typically have to go 2-0 or else they're headed home quickly and haven't had the chance to boost their RPI. The Big 12, Big Ten and Pac-12 have easy to follow formats and they present solid opportunity to their bubble teams, but true double-elimination for an eight-team field is pretty grueling (and eight teams isn't enough for the ACC or SEC). For one-bid leagues, I think the Patriot League has it right. Four teams, two weekends of best-of-three series. Or even the Ivy League, just holding a championship series. But I understand the argument for having a more inclusive field to give more teams something to play for in the second half of the season.

PirAte (Greenville NC):

    is there a path for East Carolina to host?

Teddy Cahill: I think there is. ECU is up to 20 in RPI after yesterday's win and they have a lot of other strong metrics. The trouble is a 2-7 record against top-50 opponents, which is the worst mark of any team in the mix. But if ECU wins the AAC Tournament, I think they may just host for the fourth straight time. It's really been incredible the run the Pirates have put together down the stretch.

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