Projected Field of 64 (5/8/19)
Baseball America presents our latest Projected Field of 64, as we will weekly for the remainder of the season.
Some projection is still required when putting the field together and this field is forward-looking, not meant to be taken as if the season ended today. With less than three weeks until Selection Monday, however, teams are starting to run short on time to improve their RPI or conference record.
There are two new hosts in this week’s field: Mississippi and Oklahoma State. Both are coming off big weekends that pushed them onto the host line. Ole Miss won a series at Louisiana State to push its RPI into the top 20 and into a tie for second place in the SEC West. Effectively, the Rebels just switched places with the Tigers in the pecking order. They aren’t home safe yet, however. Ole Miss hosts Mississippi State this weekend and travels to Tennessee on the final week of the regular season, two difficult series that it will need to finish strong in to remain a host, especially in an ever-changing division race.
Oklahoma State changed its hosting fortunes with a sweep at Oregon State that pushed its RPI into the top 15. It was also the beneficiary of Texas Christian’s series win at West Virginia, which pushed the Cowboys into third place in the Big 12 standings. Oklahoma State also faces a tough finishing stretch with this weekend’s Bedlam series against Oklahoma and a visit from Baylor still ahead.
Worth monitoring in the final few weeks is that Oregon State and Stanford, which are the co-Pac-12 leaders, a game ahead of UCLA, have seen their RPIs crater in recent weeks and are now outside the top 16. They still play each other, and the winner of that series will receive an RPI bump and be in pole position for a top-two finish in the Pac-12. That may be enough to land a top-eight overall seed, but it seems almost impossible that they both end up there. In fact, neither has much margin for error beyond that series to remain on the host line.
The SEC has 10 bids in this field, which would match the record for one conference. Florida hosts Tennessee this weekend in a must-win series for both teams’ at-large chances. Florida is 9-15 in the SEC and Tennessee is 10-14, leaving both teams in scramble mode to get as close to .500 in conference play as possible. The loser this weekend will almost certainly go to the SEC Tournament needing to make a run to reach regionals.
The bubble has already shrunk considerably in the last few weeks, and filling the “Next Four Out” was difficult this week. With the selection committee’s emphasis on a winning conference record holding back several power conference teams and few mid-major teams combining the RPI and solid conference standings necessary, right now there are not many teams truly on the bubble. That’s good news for the teams that are on the bubble because it looks like it will be pretty forgiving, even if there are bid thieves in conference tournaments such as the Big East or West Coast.
Baseball America will continue to update the projected field weekly throughout the season.
|PROJECTED FIELD OF 64|
|Los Angeles, CA.||Oxford, MS.|
|1. (1) UCLA^*||1. (16) Ole Miss^|
|2. Creighton*||2. NC State|
|3. UC Irvine||3. Connecticut|
|4. Nebraska-Omaha*||4. Bryant*|
|Nashville, TN.||Coral Gables, FL.|
|1. (2) Vanderbilt^*||1. (15) Miami^|
|2. Florida State||2. Louisiana State|
|3. Liberty*||3. Florida Atlantic|
|4. Alabama State*||4. Wright State*|
|Fayetteville, Ark.||Corvallis, OR.|
|1. (3) Arkansas^||1. (14) Oregon State^|
|2. Indiana State*||2. UC Santa Barbara*|
|3. Texas State*||3. Tennessee|
|4. Canisius*||4. Harvard*|
|Starkville, MS.||Stillwater, OK.|
|1. (4) Mississippi State^||1. (13) Oklahoma State^|
|2. Southern Mississippi*||2. Texas A&M|
|3. Nebraska||3. Dallas Baptist|
|4. Jacksonville State*||4. Sam Houston State*|
|Louisville, KY.||Waco, TX.|
|1. (5) Louisville^*||1. (12) Baylor^*|
|2. Indiana||2. Missouri|
|3. Virginia Commonwealth*||3. Iowa|
|4. Ball State*||4. Stony Brook*|
|Athens, GA.||Chapel Hill, NC.|
|1. (6) Georgia^||1. (11) North Carolina^|
|2. Illinois||2. West Virginia|
|3. Duke||3. California|
|4. North Carolina A&T*||4. Campbell*|
|Greenville, NC.||Lubbock, TX.|
|1. (7) East Carolina^*||1. (10) Texas Tech^|
|2. Auburn||2. Arizona State|
|3. Clemson||3. Houston|
|4. Elon*||4. New Mexico State*|
|Stanford, CA.||Atlanta, GA.|
|1. (8) Stanford^||1. (9) Georgia Tech^|
|2. Brigham Young*||2. Michigan*|
|3. Fresno State*||3. Illinois State|
|4. Navy*||4. Samford*|
^ Denotes host school
* Denotes automatic qualifier
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