Projected Field of 64 (4/3/19)
Baseball America presents our latest Projected Field of 64, as we will for the remainder of the season.
The season has reached its midpoint and while many metrics are becoming instructive, there is still a lot of projection required when composing the field. Several teams included either as at-large bids or hosts will need to improve their RPI over the next two months to get it into a range typical for those spots. Among at-large teams, Florida State and Texas Christian have the most work to do, while East Carolina, Georgia and North Carolina do among the hosts.
The hosting race and bubble are still very much developing. The SEC gets six hosts here, and that number could easily have been more. But only once has one conference had more than six hosts, and the SEC West’s strength guarantees that those teams will beat up on each other throughout the spring.
In previous iterations of the projected field that strength has seen the SEC put 11 teams in the field, which would set the record for one conference. But in this week’s update there are 10 SEC teams, with South Carolina falling out. The selection committee last year placed a large emphasis on a winning conference record and the Gamecocks’ 2-7 start to conference play is making it harder to see them finishing the regular season with 14 or 15 SEC wins or going on a run in Hoover. Still, South Carolina and Missouri (which is appealing its postseason ban and thus, at least currently, eligible) could still push into the field.
For the first time this year, the Big Ten is up to five bids, with Nebraska and Iowa joining the field in the last two weeks. Minnesota (10-14, 5-1), the defending champion, is not out of it yet either despite digging itself a hole with a brutal nonconference schedule but is off to a strong start to the Big Ten schedule and may be the best team in the conference. It ranks just outside the top 50 in RPI now and if it plays to its potential during the conference season, it could well dig out of the hold. It also still has a home nonconference series against Oklahoma to further strengthen its cause.
While the Big Ten is having another solid year, it is also benefiting from poor years from the American Athletic Conference and Conference USA. The American is down to two bids – Connecticut and East Carolina, which both probably will be in the hosting mix all season, but the rest of the conference is struggling. Houston, the conference’s perennial power, is 14-13 overall and has lost its first two conference series. Central Florida has a good RPI but has already lost four series this season – three coming at home. Tulane is 19-9 but still has a sub-100 RPI.
Southern Mississippi has been the lone Conference USA team in the field for the last few weeks. Louisiana Tech (17-10, 5-4) and Florida Atlantic (19-9, 8-1) are the only other teams in CUSA with a top-100 RPI. FAU is the most likely team to join Southern Miss in the field, but it will have a slim margin for error in the second half.
Baseball America will continue to update the projected field weekly throughout the season.
To see last week’s projection, click here.
|PROJECTED FIELD OF 64|
|Los Angeles||Louisville, Ky.|
|1. (1) UCLA^*||1. (16) Louisville^|
|2. UC Santa Barbara||2. Florida|
|3. Iowa||3. Illinois|
|4. Canisius*||4. Ball State*|
|Nashville, Tn.||Greenville, N.C.|
|1. (2) Vanderbilt^*||1. (15) East Carolina^*|
|2. Indiana||2. Clemson|
|3. Indiana State||3. Baylor|
|4. Austin Peay State*||4. Campbell*|
|Stanford, Calif.||Baton Rouge, La.|
|1. (3) Stanford^||1. (14) Louisiana State^|
|2. Michigan*||2. Oklahoma State|
|3. Bryant*||3. Miami|
|4. Coppin State*||4. Elon*|
|Raleigh, N.C.||Chapel Hill, N.C.|
|1. (4) North Carolina State^*||1. (13) North Carolina^|
|2. Coastal Carolina*||2. Auburn|
|3. Virginia Commonwealth*||3. Nebraska|
|4. Navy*||4. Liberty*|
|Athens, Ga.||College Station, Tx.|
|1. (5) Georgia||1. (12) Texas A&M^|
|2. Georgia Tech||2. Texas Christian|
|3. St. John's*||3. Oregon|
|4. Samford*||4. Stony Brook*|
|Starkville, Miss.||Phoenix, Az.|
|1. (6) Mississippi State^||1. (11) Arizona State^|
|2. Southern Mississippi*||2. UC Irvine*|
|3. Florida State||3. Tennessee|
|4. Alabama State*||4. San Diego State*|
|Corvallis, Ore.||Lubbock, Tx.|
|1. (7) Oregon State^||1. (10) Texas Tech^|
|2. UConn||2. Ole Miss|
|3. Brigham Young*||3. Sam Houston State*|
|4. Yale*||4. New Mexico State*|
|Fayetteville, Ark.||Austin, Tx.|
|1. (8) Arkansas^||1. (9) Texas^*|
|2. Oklahoma||2. Dallas Baptist*|
|3. Arkansas State||3. Washington|
|4. Oral Roberts*||4. Wright State*|
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