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Projected Field Of 64 (May 24)

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PROJECTED FIELD OF 64
Coral Gables, FLConway, SC
1. (1) Miami^*1. Coastal Carolina^*
2. Rice2. Texas Christian
3. South Alabama3. Wake Forest
4. Fairfield*4. Wright State*
College Station, TXLafayette, LA
1. (2) Texas A&M^1. Louisiana-Lafayette^*
2. Oklahoma State2. Cal State Fullerton
3. Sam Houston State*3. Michigan
4. Princeton*4. Kent State*
Gainesville, FLLong Beach, CA
1. (3) Florida^1. Florida Atlantic*
2. Nebraska2. Long Beach State^*
3. Duke3. Washington
4. Bethune-Cookman*4. Fresno State*
Louisville, KYNew Orleans
1. (4) Louisville^1. Tulane^*
2. Gonzaga*2. Florida State
3. Ohio State3. Minnesota*
4. Binghamton*4. Seattle*
Starkville, MSRaleigh, NC
1. (5) Mississippi State^*1. North Carolina State^
2. UC Santa Barbara2. East Carolina
3. Boston College3. Kentucky
4. Alabama State*4. Rhode Island*
Columbia, SCClemson, SC
1. (6) South Carolina^1. Clemson^
2. UNC Wilmington*2. Vanderbilt
3. Georgia Tech3. Southeastern Louisiana
4. Kennesaw State*4. Mercer*
Lubbock, TXBaton Rouge, LA
1. (7) Texas Tech^*1. Louisiana State^
2. Dallas Baptist*2. Arizona
3. Creighton*3. Louisiana Tech
4. Oral Roberts*4. Southeast Missouri State*
Charlottesville, VAOxford, MS
1. (8) Virginia^1. Mississippi^
2. Arizona State2. Southern Mississippi
3. Bryant*3. Brigham Young
4. Navy*4. Utah*
*-Automatic bid; ^-Regional host

Last Four In: Ohio State, Wake Forest, Michigan, Washington First Four Out: Alabama, Oregon State, North Carolina, Connecticut Next Four Out: California, Marshall, North Florida, Northwestern State
Bids By Conference 10: ACC 8: SEC 4: Big Ten, Conference USA, Pac-12 3: Big 12, Big West 2: American, Southland, Sun Belt, West Coast 1: A-10, A-Sun, America East, Big East, Big South, Colonial, Horizon, Ivy, MAAC, MAC, MEAC, Mountain West, Missouri Valley, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot, Southern, Summit, SWAC, WAC
New Hosts: Clemson, Long Beach State*, Louisiana-Lafayette, Tulane New At-Large Bids: Boston College, Ohio State Dropped Out: Alabama, California, North Carolina Clinched Auto Bids: Princeton (Ivy), Alabama State (SWAC), Navy (Patriot) *Long Beach hosts as a 2-seed
• Baseball America has confirmed Long Beach State did not bid for a regional due to the renovations of Blair Field. With the Dirtbags out of the hosting race, that opens the door wider for either Arizona or Arizona State to host, should Long Beach win the Big West. The Sun Devils are better positioned, as they won the season series against the Wildcats and are a half-game ahead in the Pac-12 standings. But while Arizona has completed its conference schedule, Arizona State hosts Southern California on the final weekend of the regular season. Finishing the season with their seventh straight weekend series victory and near the top of the conference could be enough for the Sun Devils to grab a hosting spot. • No changes to our national seeds from last week. Our top six all feel secure going into their conference tournaments, representing the top five teams in the RPI—in order, Louisville, Florida, Miami, Texas A&M and South Carolina—and the SEC’s regular-season champion in Mississippi State, which should be impossible to pass up despite its current No. 11 RPI. Big 12 champ Texas Tech is right behind MSU at No. 12 and would be an easy pick if the season ended now, but it does need to avoid any RPI-damaging losses in the Big 12 tournament—a real danger considering the other three teams on its side of the bracket have RPIs of 70, 75 and 124. But we’ll assume the Red Raiders can do that and secure the only non-ACC/SEC national seed. • We’re also sticking with Virginia as our final national seed, even though its No. 13 RPI is behind SEC candidates Mississippi (No. 6) and Louisiana State (No. 9). Ultimately, we’re more comfortable giving a national seed to the third-place team in the ACC—the No. 1 RPI conference—than the fifth-, sixth- or seventh-place team in the SEC. But if the Cavaliers (or Texas Tech) were to have a rough week and one of those SEC teams goes on a run, the possibility of the SEC landing itself a fifth national seed can’t be ruled out.
• The hosting race could still go in a number of different directions based on this week’s results, as we bring in four new hosts in this our penultimate projection. We considered nine teams for the final five hosting spots, choosing to hold on to N.C. State and bring on Clemson, Florida Atlantic (as a travelling 1-seed), Louisiana-Lafayette and Tulane, dropping Florida State, Cal State Fullerton, Rice and Southern Miss. • The Wolfpack has the best RPI (No. 7), the most top 25 wins (11), top 50 wins (18) and top 100 wins (24) of any of the candidates, making it hard to turn away despite its middling 15-13 ACC record. NCSU will play Florida State, which has struggled down the stretch to slip to No. 16 in the RPI, on Wednesday morning at the ACC tournament, a key showdown in the hosting sweepstakes. FSU lost four of its last five conference series, negative momentum it’ll need to reverse this week if it wants to host. But if the Seminoles can beat NCSU and have a solid week, they could certainly reclaim a hosting slot, especially since their 16-10 conference record is better then either NCSU’s or Clemson’s. • Speaking of Clemson, it’s too hard to pass up the Tigers right now, as they’ve climbed to No. 10 in the RPI and finished 16-14 in the ACC, with key series wins down the stretch against both N.C. State and Florida State, adding to their early-season series win against South Carolina. The Tigers’ 8-13 record against the RPI top 25 isn’t glamorous, but we’ll look for them to keep their momentum going in Durham this week. • We also chose to keep both the ACC and SEC at six hosts apiece, which contributed to the exclusion of FSU and Vanderbilt, although both of those are very much alive in the race. Vanderbilt’s 18-12 record in the SEC and No. 8 RPI are certainly attractive, but it’s just 9-10 against the top 50 in the RPI—the weakest mark of any team in the discussion—and only won one series against a surefire regional team, when it took two of three at home against South Carolina.
• We opted for other conferences’ regular-season champions as the final No. 1 seeds, in Louisiana-Lafayette, Florida Atlantic and Tulane, with FAU—which is not bidding to host—going on the road. ULL doesn’t have any premium wins, going 0-4 against the RPI top 25, but it is 11-9 against the top 50 and a solid No. 18 in the RPI. Tulane is the shakiest in the RPI at No. 27, but it’s 8-2 against the top 25 and 18-10 against the top 100, both of which set it apart from the crowd. The Green Wave does need to play well this week—all three of these teams do, really—to raise its RPI some more if it wants to feel safe, but as Tulane’s gone 11-4 in its last 15 games, we feel confident enough it can do so. FAU has a solid case as the regular-season champ of the No. 5 RPI conference, along with two wins against Mississippi State on opening weekend, a midweek win at Miami in April and a series win against Southern Miss. The Owls’ No. 22 RPI needs some strengthening as well, but they’re a solid 14-9 against the top 100 and 13-9 on the road, including those aforementioned marquee wins at MSU and Miami. All that being said, FAU doesn’t have the facilities to host and will have to go on the road, which allows us to keep a regional in the West, much as the committee might cringe at forcing a No. 1 seed to travel that far. The likeliest candidates there will be whichever team wins the de facto Big West championship series this weekend between Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State, neither team has the RPI to be a host, with CSF and 44 and Long Beach at 42, but only one Pac-12 team does either, and that’s No. 25 Arizona. We believe the committee would sooner reward a conference champ with a hosting bid rather than an Arizona team that’s likely to finish third or fourth in a down year in the Pac. For this exercise, we put Long Beach as FAU’s landing spot, since its series with Fullerton is at home, it won the reverse (nonconference) series earlier this season and it has won 12 of its last 15, whereas Fullerton just lost a series to Hawaii.
• We’ve held out on putting Utah as the Pac-12’s auto bid winner, but not anymore. All the Utes have left to do is win a home series with Washington this weekend—another de facto championship series a la the Big West—to punch their ticket to regionals as the Pac-12 champ. Should that happen, the question would be whether the Huskies can hang onto an at-large bid. We’ve kept them in this week as our last team in, but remember that invariably, some bubble teams will lose out as a result of bid thieving out of other conference tournaments. Washington’s sitting there with the No. 50 RPI, which would take a hit should it lose to Utah. However, the Huskies have serviceable records against the top 50 (5-3) and top 100 (17-10), and if these week’s results allow them to finish in second place in the Pac—it would depend on what Arizona State does—there’s at least a chance they could still sneak into regionals.
• No team will be a more fascinating case than North Carolina, the No. 15 RPI team but one that went 13-17 in the ACC and missed the conference tournament. The Tar Heels finished tied for 10th but lost out on the tiebreaker to Wake Forest, which swept them. Beyond just the RPI, UNC’s numbers are still all right, with 10 RPI top 25 wins, a 14-16 mark against the top 50 and 22-19 against the top 100. However, they lost six of their last eight weekend series, a dismal finishing stretch that saw them go 16-19 over the season’s final two months after starting 18-2. Given their RPI, it wouldn’t be shocking if UNC still got into regionals, but given their poor second half—which included head-to-series losses against both of the ACC’s other bubble dwellers, Wake and Georgia Tech—we’re inclined to believe they would get left out.
• Hot finishing Ohio State snatches a bid after going 12-3 in its final 15 regular season games, including series wins against Michigan and Big Ten regular-season champ Minnesota. The Buckeyes’ No. 57 RPI could use help from another couple wins this week at the Big Ten tournament, but with as well as they’re playing, we think they can make it happen. Archrival Michigan also hangs around, mostly on the strength of its No. 37 RPI. The Wolverines’ other numbers’ aren’t outstanding, as they finished fifth in the Big Ten standings, going 13-11 and are an unspectacular 12-14 against the top 100. • The Buckeyes and Wolverines find themselves on the same side of the bracket in the conference tournament, along with Minnesota, which isn’t assured of an at-large bid itself given its No. 47 RPI. The Gophers and Wolverines could probably withstand going 1-2, while OSU might need to do more. The main thing will be to avoid any losses to the fourth team in that bracket, eighth-seeded Iowa and its No. 86 RPI. If any of those first three teams were to go two-and-out, especially if it’s Ohio State, it would be in danger.
• We mentioned bid thieves earlier. If you’re a fan of those bubble teams listed above, here are the conference tournaments you need to pay closest attention to and the teams you need to cheer for: American: Tulane, East Carolina Big East: Creighton Big South: Coastal Carolina Colonial: UNC Wilmington Missouri Valley: Dallas Baptist Northeast: Bryant Sun Belt: Louisiana-Lafayette, South Alabama Southland: Sam Houston State, Southeastern Louisiana West Coast:
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Baseball America Prospect Report -- May 21, 2019

Domingo Leyba nearly hits for the cycle, welcomed signs for Ronaldo Hernandez and Casey Mize looks more like himself.

Gonzaga, Brigham Young

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