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Projected Field Of 64: March 30

Gainesville, FL Ann Arbor, MI
1. (1) Florida^* 1. Michigan^*
2. Michigan State 2. Arkansas
3. Coastal Carolina* 3. Stanford
4. Monmouth* 4. Kent State*
College Station, TX Stillwater, OK
1. (2) Texas A&M^ 1. Oklahoma State^
2. Clemson 2. UCLA
3. Texas Tech 3. Missouri State*
4. Cornell* 4. Creighton*
Coral Gables, FL Houston
1. (3) Miami^* 1. Houston^*
2. Florida Atlantic* 2. Kentucky
3. Maryland 3. Southeastern Louisiana*
4. Florida A&M* 4. Oral Roberts*
Louisville Corvallis, OR
1. (4) Louisville^ 1. Oregon State^
2. College of Charleston* 2. Long Beach State*
3. Cal State Fullerton 3. Brigham Young*
4. Hartford* 4. Wright State*
Fort Worth, TX Nashville
1. (5) Texas Christian^* 1. Vanderbilt^
2. Louisiana State 2. North Carolina State
3. Arizona 3. West Virginia
4. Southeast Missouri State* 4. Virginia Commonwealth*
Starkville, MS Tallahassee, FL
1. (6) Mississippi State^ 1. Florida State^
2. Tulane 2. South Alabama*
3. Southern Mississippi 3. Rice
4. Alabama State* 4. Florida Gulf Coast*
Chapel Hill, NC Columbia, SC
1. (7) North Carolina^ 1. South Carolina^
2. Alabama 2. Virginia
3. East Carolina 3. UNC Wilmington
4. Navy* 4. Bryant*
Berkeley, CA Atlanta
1. (8) California^* 1. Georgia Tech^
2. UC Santa Barbara 2. Mississippi
3. Fresno State* 3. Louisiana-Lafayette
4. Sacramento State* 4. Mercer*
*-Automatic bid; ^-Regional host
Last Four In: West Virginia, Stanford, Maryland, Cal State Fullerton First Four Out: Nebraska, Tennessee, Old Dominion, Southern California Bids By Conference 10: SEC 8: ACC 5: Pac-12 4: Big 12 3: American, Big Ten, Big West, Conference USA 2: Colonial, Sun Belt 1: A-10, A-Sun, America East, Big East, Big South, Horizon, Ivy, MAAC, MAC, MEAC, Mountain West, Missouri Valley, NEC, OVC, Patriot, Southern, Southland, Summit, SWAC, WAC, WCC New At-Large Bids: UNC Wilmington, West Virginia, Stanford Dropping Out*: Oregon, Southern California *We shifted Missouri State to the MVC’s auto bid, making it a one-bid league and dropping Dallas Baptist. Field Of 64 Thoughts

North Carolina First Baseman Aaron Sabato Joins The College Podcast

UNC first baseman Aaron Sabato joins us to talk about the Tar Heels and his preparation for the 2020 season.

• The national seed picture is extremely volatile, thanks mainly to the early-season chaos in the Pac-12. Previous frontrunner Oregon State was swept last weekend by California, which itself lost a series to Southern California the week prior. Still, the Beavers and Golden Bears remain the Pac’s best shots at a top eight slot, based on their talent levels. Cal obviously holds a significant edge now with the head-to-head sweep of OSU. The fact the Bears have two not-so-good series losses to Duke and USC is a worry, but it remains a reasonable assumption that the Pac-12 champion will get a national seed provided its RPI is good enough, and Cal has the inside track there right now. Cal (No. 31 on does have some work to do in the RPI department, but the good news is its toughest remaining series—UCLA and Arizona—are at home. Elsewhere, we replaced Mississippi with Mississippi State as the third national seed from the SEC after the Rebels were swept at home by red hot South Carolina. MSU’s RPI (45) is troublesome, but winning in the SEC generally takes care of that. The Bulldogs won a head-to-head series win at Vanderbilt—the reason they get the nod over Vandy—and get Ole Miss in Starkville this weekend. We also considered putting Oklahoma State among the national seeds, but we’re wary of the Big 12’s ability to produce two of them—four of the league’s nine teams are outside the top 100—and the Cowboys’ head-to-head series loss at North Carolina is another hurdle, considering the Tar Heels are still better in the RPI at No. 4, compared to OSU’s No. 12. • South Carolina and Georgia Tech enter the hosting ranks. The Gamecocks’ credentials—No. 2 RPI, 23-3 overall, back-to-back sweeps of Arkansas and Ole Miss—have them climbing. We were torn between the Yellow Jackets and Ole Miss for the final spot. The two are back-to-back in the RPI—Ole Miss at 9, Tech at 10. Each has a marquee series win—the Rebels’ over Louisville and Tech’s at UNC. And each has had one very bad weekend—Ole Miss getting swept by South Carolina, Tech getting swept at Florida State. But we’re swayed by the fact Tech’s big series win was on the road, as was its bad one, while Ole Miss’ were both at home. Tech’s remaining schedule is also more navigable, with its toughest remaining opponent (Miami) coming to Atlanta. The Rebels have to travel to both Mississippi State and Texas A&M. Our aversion to having six hosts from one conference played a role as well. • The bottom of the at-large pool offered no easy answers. For the most part, we were faced with picking between teams that have shown well against good competition but have been inconsistent, and teams with nicer records but that have struggled when they’ve faced anyone notable. We generally erred on the side of the former. Maryland and Cal State Fullerton hold onto bids, and West Virginia and Stanford enter the field, for this reason. The Terps went 2-1 at the Keith LeClair Classic with wins over Tennessee and Southeastern Louisiana, plus they won a series at Fullerton. Stanford also won a series against Fullerton and hasn’t lost a series to anyone they shouldn’t. Fullerton won a road series at Texas Tech. West Virginia joins mainly on the strength of its series win against a good Old Dominion team. All these teams need to play well in the second half to bump up their RPIs—Maryland and WVU are in the 60s, Stanford and Fullerton in the 80s—but we’ll keep them around for now. We also brought back UNC Wilmington, despite misgivings about its RPI (73). But the Seahawks have talent and have played well all season, outside of one bad weekend at North Florida. On the flip side are Nebraska, ODU and Tennessee. We were inclined to bring ODU in on the strength of its 18-7 record and No. 33 RPI, except for the fact the Monarchs have lost both series they’ve played against at-large caliber teams—WVU and Rice. Nebraska is in the same boat. The Huskers are red hot, winners of eight straight, but none of those wins have come against high-level competition. NU likewise has lost its two best series so far—College of Charleston and Long Beach State—and also went 1-2 at the Tony Gwynn Classic. Tennessee does have a solid series win against UC Irvine and a No. 49 RPI but has lost its first two SEC series and went 1-2 at the LeClair Classic.

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