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Projected Field Of 64 (May 30)



PROJECTED FIELD OF 64
Gainesville, FL Lafayette, LA
1. (1) Florida^ 1. Louisiana-Lafayette^*
2. Bryant* 2. Southern Mississippi*
3. Arizona State 3. Saint Mary's*
4. Fairfield* 4. Utah*
Coral Gables, FL Oxford, MS
1. (2) Miami^ 1. Mississippi^
2. Ohio State* 2. Tulane
3. Oregon State 3. North Carolina
4. Stetson* 4. Xavier*
Louisville, KY Fort Worth, TX
1. (3) Louisville^ 1. Texas Christian^*
2. Gonzaga 2. Rice
3. Wright State* 3. Southeastern Louisiana
4. Western Michigan* 4. Southeast Missouri State*
College Station, TX Tallahassee, FL
1. (4) Texas A&M^* 1. Florida State^
2. Oklahoma State 2. Florida Atlantic
3. Sam Houston State* 3. Minnesota
4. Rhode Island* 4. Bethune-Cookman*
Starkville, MS Raleigh, NC
1. (5) Mississippi State^ 1. North Carolina State^
2. UC Santa Barbara 2. East Carolina
3. Georgia Tech 3. South Alabama
4. Princeton* 4. Western Carolina*
Clemson, SC Columbia, SC
1. (6) Clemson^* 1. South Carolina^
2. UNC Wilmington 2. Coastal Carolina*
3. Washington 3. Duke
4. Navy* 4. Binghamton*
Baton Rouge, LA Charlottesville, VA
1. (7) Louisiana State^ 1. Virginia^
2. Louisiana Tech 2. Cal State Fullerton*
3. Boston College 3. Connecticut*
4. Alabama State* 4. William & Mary*
Lubbock, TX Nashville
1. (8) Texas Tech^ 1. Vanderbilt^
2. Dallas Baptist* 2. Arizona
3. New Mexico* 3. Wake Forest
4. Utah Valley* 4. Oral Roberts*
*-Automatic bid; ^-Regional host
Last Four In: Wake Forest, North Carolina, Washington, Minnesota First Four Out: Long Beach State, Nebraska, Creighton, Michigan Next Four Out: Brigham Young, Houston, Maryland, Northwestern State
Bids By Conference 11: ACC 7: SEC 5: Pac-12 4: Conference USA 3: American, Big 12 2: Big Ten, Big West, Colonial, Southland, Sun Belt, West Coast 1: A-10, A-Sun, America East, Big East, Big South, Horizon, Ivy, MAAC, MAC, MEAC, Mountain West, Missouri Valley, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot, Southern, Summit, SWAC, WAC
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• The top four national seeds are obvious ones in Florida, Louisville, Miami and Texas A&M. Mississippi State doesn’t have a top-eight RPI, residing at No. 11, but the Bulldogs should still be a no-doubter as the SEC’s regular-season champion and a team that won road series against Florida, LSU and Vanderbilt. • Clemson’s white hot finish also earns it a national seed in our bracket. The Tigers’ 16-14 regular-season mark in the ACC doesn’t scream top eight, but they added to it with a perfect 4-0 run to claim the ACC tournament championship, raising their RPI to No. 6 in the process and beating fellow national seed contenders Louisville, Virginia and Florida State in the process. In all, the Tigers racked up more top 50 (19) and top 100 (27) wins than any of the other teams we looked at for the final spots. Add those to head-to-head weekend series wins against FSU, South Carolina and N.C. State, a red hot finish to the season, and Clemson should be in the top eight. • We’ve also elevated LSU to be the fourth national seed out of the SEC, over Mississippi, South Carolina and Vanderbilt. The Gamecocks did win the SEC East division title in the regular season, but the facts are they went just 9-12 against the top 50, 16-15 against the top 100, and won only one weekend series all season against a regional team—their sweep of Mississippi on the road back in March. LSU fares better in both its top 50 (13-11) and top 100 (21-15) records, as well as its winning weekend series against Florida and Vandy. The Tigers’ hot finish, winning 14 of their last 16 games, also helped push them over the top. • Ole Miss has the best RPI of the teams we left out (No. 5) and won a head-to-head series against LSU, but the Tigers’ metrics otherwise look better, albeit slightly. LSU finished with a better conference record—including SEC tournament games—at 22-12, with Ole Miss at 21-14, as well as better records against the top 25 (10-9, with Ole Miss at 10-12), top 50 (13-11 to Ole Miss’ 13-13) and on the road (13-7 to Ole Miss’ 11-9). • We’re gambling a little bit in keeping Texas Tech as a national seed after its 1-2 showing in the Big 12 tournament dropped its RPI to 14. Despite that, the Red Raiders’ numbers are otherwise strong, not to mention the fact they won the regular-season title in a power conference in dominant fashion, going 19-5 to win it by three games. Tech owns a 13-5 record against the top 50 and 21-9 against the top 100, both of which are the best winning percentages in those categories of any team in this discussion. The same goes for their 17-6 road record, and they did finish the season strong before they went to the conference tournament, losing only one weekend series since mid-March. • If the committee’s host selections are any indication, they’re leaning as heavily on the RPI as ever—15 of the 16 were from the top 16 of the RPI on WarrenNolan.com as of Sunday evening. So when it comes to the end of the bubble, no conference should benefit more than the ACC, which we project to get an unprecedented 11 teams into regionals. Georgia Tech and especially North Carolina will spark the most conversation, given the Tar Heels’ failure to make the ACC tournament. Nonetheless, UNC’s other metrics rate well, beginning with its No. 18 RPI. The Heels are also 21-19 against the top 100 and a respectable 14-16 against the top 50. • The Yellow Jackets finished poorly, going just 6-9 in their last 15 games, but they also boast the No. 20 RPI and quality road series wins at Clemson and UNC, as well as a home sweep of Coastal Carolina. Tech’s 11 top 25 wins are the second most of any bubble team (Wake Forest has 12), and its 11-9 road record is another mark in its favor. • No conference had a more tumultuous final week than the Big Ten, where Ohio State capped off its hot finish to the regular season by winning the conference tournament, while the top two seeds, Minnesota and Nebraska, both went 0-2. The end result is we have the conference down to just two bids, with regular-season champ Minnesota as one of our last teams in and Nebraska just missing out, along with Michigan. • Michigan has the best RPI of any of the Big Ten’s bubble teams at No. 38 but doesn’t have much else to sell itself with. The Wolverines went an underwhelming 10-16 against the top 100, 4-7 against the top 50 and finished in fifth place in the conference standings, going just 6-9 in their last 15 games. They also lost head-to-head series to both Minnesota and Ohio State, though they did sweep Nebraska—which is in turn a problematic issue for the Huskers. Nebraska finished the regular season strong to get to second place in the standings, but RPI damaging losses to Michigan State and Indiana in the conference tournament knocked them down to the fringy neighborhood of 48 on WarrenNolan. The Huskers are just 3-5 against the top 50 and 11-12 against the top 100, and they lack any marquee series wins. • Minnesota’s RPI is extremely shaky at No. 50, but it’s regular-season title should mean something, and it does own quality records on the road (18-11) and against the top 100 (13-9). • Out in the Pac-12, Utah completed its Cinderella story by taking two of three from Washington in a de facto conference championship series. We still have the Huskies narrowly hanging onto a bid themselves as well, as results elsewhere allowed them to finish in sole possession of second place in the conference with a 17-13 record, complemented by a 20-13 mark against the top 100 and a winning road record at 12-11—along with quality series wins against Arizona and Arizona State. Washington’s No. 55 RPI is the worst of any team we have in the field, so it’ll need the committee to cut it a break on the RPI, but we believe it has enough going for it to still get in. • Arizona State put itself at some risk by losing a home series to Southern California to end the season, but the Sun Devils’ 25 top 100 wins are the most of any team in the bubble discussion, so we’ll keep them in at RPI 43. Oregon State also just sneaks into the field after finish the season with a sweep of UCLA to get into a tie for third place. That was enough to boost the Beavers’ RPI back into at-large territory at 45, and it finishes 18-13 against the top 100. Series wins against Washington and ASU—and Utah, for that matter—add to OSU’s resume as well. • Creighton lost twice to Xavier in the Big East tournament, just as it lost its head-to-head series to the Musketeers in the regular season. The Bluejays’ RPI is still in decent shape at 46, but their resume is otherwise thin, and not being able to claim either a regular-season or tournament title in a league like the Big East doesn’t help. Creighton ends just 1-2 against the top 50—all accrued in three midweek games against Nebraska—and an alarming 6-10 against the top 100. That won’t get it done. • Long Beach State was a more difficult exclusion, but losing its home series to Cal State Fullerton cost it the Big West title and knocked its RPI down to 52. This is a case where the committee’s reliance on the RPI causes us to take a team out, because the Dirtbags still managed a second-place finish in their league and went 8-7 against the top 50. They also won series against Arizona State and Nebraska—and a series with Fullerton that didn’t count in the league standings. If there’s one team we’re most iffy about leaving out of the field, it’s the Dirtbags, but again, the RPI speaks loudly.

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