Final Projection: Field of 64

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Gainesville, Fla. Gary, Ind.
Tallahassee, Fla.
Stanford, Calif.
1. (1) Florida^ 1. Purdue^* 1. (5) Florida State^ 1. Stanford^
2. Georgia Tech
2. Kentucky 2. Mississippi State*
2. Cal State Fullerton*
3. Stony Brook*
3. Indiana State
3. Samford* 3. Belmont*
4. Sacred Heart*
4. Valparaiso* 4. Alabama-Birmingham* 4. Fresno State*

Los Angeles
Coral Gables, Fla.
Waco, Texas Houston
1. (2) UCLA^* 1. Miami^ 1. (6) Baylor^ 1. Rice^
2. Pepperdine* 2. Central Florida
2. Texas Christian 2. Oklahoma
3. New Mexico*
3. Louisville 3. Texas-Arlington* 3. Sam Houston State
4. Cornell* 4. Bethune-Cookman* 4. Creighton* 4. Prairie View A&M*

Chapel Hill, N.C.
Tucson, Ariz.
Columbia, S.C.
Raleigh, N.C.
1. (3) North Carolina^ 1. Arizona^ 1. (7) South Carolina^ 1. North Carolina State^
2. Mississippi
2. San Diego
2. Coastal Carolina*
2. Oregon State
3. College of Charleston
3. New Mexico State
3. UNC Wilmington*
3. St. John's*
4. Army*
4. Missouri* 4. Austin Peay State* 4. Kent State*

Baton Rouge, La.
College Station, Texas
Eugene, Ore.
Charlottesville, Va.
1. (4) Louisiana State^ 1. Texas A&M^ 1. (8) Oregon^ 1.Virginia ^
2. Clemson 2. Dallas Baptist
2. Vanderbilt
2. Arkansas
3. East Carolina
3. Missouri State
3. Wake Forest
3. Appalachian State*
4. Louisiana-Monroe* 4. Oral Roberts* 4. Dayton* 4. Manhattan*
* Automatic qualifier
^Regional host


• The field of 64 will be announced Monday at noon; here is our final crack at predicting the field. The following teams won automatic bids on Sunday: Georgia Tech (ACC), Missouri (Big 12), St. John's (Big East), Cal State Fullerton (Big West), Alabama-Birmingham (C-USA), Valparaiso (Horizon), Manhattan (MAAC), Austin Peay State (Ohio Valley), UCLA (Pac-12), Mississippi State (SEC), Samford (SoCon), Louisiana-Monroe (Sun Belt), Pepperdine (WCC) and Fresno State (WAC).

• Missouri's victory over Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game earned the Tigers an automatic bid at the expense of another at-large team, as the Tigers would not have gotten an at-large berth. The team we bumped from our field is Texas, which would be the fifth team from the Big 12. The final at-large spot came down to Texas, East Carolina and College of Charleston. CofC gets one nod by virtue of its co-regular season title in the SoCon, primarily. Texas went 14-10 in the Big 12 to finish in third place, but it went just 3-8 against the top 25 in the RPI and 7-8 against the top 50. East Carolina also went 3-8 against the top 25 and went 5-10 against the top 50, but the Pirates finished about 20 spots ahead of Texas in the RPI. ECU earned the No. 6 seed in the C-USA tournament, but its 13-10-1 conference record is very similar to Texas' conference record, and at least the Pirates didn't go winless in their conference tournament as the Longhorns did. ECU's 5-1 record in the regular season against C-USA tourney finalists UAB and Memphis looks more impressive now than it did a few weeks ago. Ultimately, neither team has a very impressive resume, but the RPI gap makes the difference—especially since the committee signaled that it might be leaning more heavily on the RPI this year when it chose Miami over Kentucky for the final host spot.

• We think the committee will attempt to avoid some of the same old matchups, which is why we're pairing Miami with UCLA instead of Florida. With four hosts in the West and few at-large teams in the West to fill them, a number of teams from other parts of the country must head to the West Coast, and Oregon State must head east. And all four West hosts are in the Pac-12, so they can't be paired together in super regionals, setting up four cross-country super regional pairings.

• The ACC and SEC lead all conferences with eight bids in our projection, followed by the Pac-12 (five), Big 12 and C-USA (four apiece), the SoCon and MVC (three apiece). The Valley is the fifth-rated conference in the RPI, and regular-season champ Indiana State plus runner-up Missouri State each deserve at-large spots. The SoCon is the No. 7 RPI conference. Other multi-bid leagues: the WCC, WAC, Big East, Southland and Mountain West get two bids apiece.

• Florida ranks second in the RPI but gets the No. 1 overall seed based on its absurd 21-10 record against the top 25 in the RPI. UCLA, which tops the RPI rankings, is 13-10 against the top 25. Oregon barely holds onto a national seed despite getting swept by Oregon State this weekend thanks to its overall body of work, which includes loud series wins against UCLA, Stanford, Arizona and Arizona State.

• All of the hosts earn No. 1 seeds in our projection. We think Kentucky has a better resume than Miami (the Wildcats finished just a game out of first place in the SEC, while the Hurricanes were eight games out in the ACC), but if the committee agreed with our assessment it would have awarded UK a host. So Kentucky figures to be a No. 2 seed somewhere. We've got the Wildcats at Gary, where Purdue is the lone team to host at an off-campus site.