2021 NCAA Baseball Match Projected Area of 64 (5/12/21)

The selection committee will publish its short list of candidates for hosting the Regionals in the next few days. Pick Monday is less than three weeks away. In short, college baseball is crunch time.

The most pressing business is the selection of host sites, a process that has been adjusted this year. Instead of selecting the regional hosts the day before the 64th field is announced on Memorial Day, a shortlist of potential hosts will be selected this week – a few weeks before the selection Monday. The changes are the result of the need to set up a test site in each region, which cannot be done with just a few days’ lead time. This accelerated timeline means this weekend is crucial for candidates in the hosting bubble.

There’s a change to our scheduled hosts this week as Mississippi goes down and Pittsburgh moves in. A week ago, after passing through South Carolina, the rebels seemed firmly on the host line. Two things have changed since then: 1) Ole Miss lost a run at Texas A&M and 2) Gunnar Hoglund was dismissed for the season due to injury. The selection committee isn’t going to think about Hoglund’s injury, but we’re still in the process of projecting here and Ole Miss is facing a very difficult final phase – Vanderbilt at the SEC tournament in Georgia. The rebels are 14-10 in the SEC but have only won three series. Without Hoglund, will they be able to beat the Commodores or Bulldogs or run in Hoover?

Pittsburgh went just 2-2 against West Virginia and Boston College last week after their games were canceled for two weeks due to Covid-19. This dropped the RPI to 27 and second place in the ACC Coastal Division. But the Panthers have been in the hosting bubble for the past two weeks, not joining the hosts as it was difficult to predict how they would return from a Covid hiatus. But they seemed to handle it well enough and faced a manageable last couple of weeks – North Carolina State, Wake Forest, ACC Tournament. That, along with a streak from Florida State, is enough to put Pitt in front of the other ACC hosts alongside first-placed Notre Dame.

In addition to the 16 hosts listed here, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Ole Miss, South Mississippi, and possibly a fourth host on the West Coast joining Arizona, Oregon, and Stanford are other contenders. A Big Ten host at this stage seems unlikely as the conference is getting tighter.

The tournament bubble continues to spin. Key conference attendees will continue to compete for seats over the next few weeks. Another team to watch is Ball State, who climbed into the top 50 in the RPI. He has a series win in Kentucky, a series split in Arizona, could end the season with 40 wins, but is one game behind Central Michigan in the middle American Conference rankings after splitting a four game series at Mount Pleasant. The MAC hasn’t received a general offer since 1994, and Ball State has a low margin of error over the next three weeks, but produces a strong resume to be taken seriously as a competitor.

There are sure to be many more twists and turns on the way to Selection Monday. Baseball America will continue to update the planned field weekly in the spring.

Fayetteville, Ark.
Ruston, La.
1. (1) Arkansas ^ * 1. (16) Louisiana Tech ^
2. Virginia Tech 2. Mississippi
3. Northeast * 3. Tulane
4. Lehigh * 4. New Orleans *
Fort Worth, Texas Pittsburgh
1. (2) Texas Christian ^ * 1. (15) Pittsburgh ^
2. Nebraska 2. Southern Mississippi
3. Dallas Baptist * 3. State of Arizona
4. Oral Roberts * 4. Wright State *
Nashville Charlotte
1. (3) Vanderbilt ^ 1. (14) Charlotte ^ *
2. North Carolina State 2. Georgia Tech
3. Ball condition 3. Georgia
4. Southeast Missouri State * 4. South Carolina Upstate *
Starkville, miss. Stanford, California
1. (4) Mississippi State ^ 1. (13) Stanford ^
2. Louisville 2. UC Irvine *
3. South Alabama * 3. Baylor
4. Jackson State * 4. Nevada *
Austin Gainesville, Fla.
1. (5) Texas ^ 1. (12) Florida ^
2. Oregon State 2. State of Florida
3. Alabama 3. Oklahoma State
4. Bryant * 4. Florida A&M *
South Bend, Ind. Greenville, NC
1. (6) Notre Dame ^ * 1. (11) East Carolina ^ *
2. Michigan 2. Old Dominion
3. Indiana State 3. Freedom *
4. Central Michigan * 4. Virginia Commonwealth *
Tucson, Ariz. Lubbock, Texas
1. (7) Arizona ^ * 1. (10) Texas Tech ^
2. South Carolina 2. UCLA
3. Fairfield * 3. Miami
4. Grand Canyon * 4. Connecticut *
Knoxville, Tenn. Eugene, Ore.
1. (8) Tennessee ^ 1. (9) Oregon ^
2. Indiana * 2. Gonzaga *
3. Virginia 3. Iowa
4. Wofford * 4. Stony Brook *

^ Designates the host school
* Designates the automatic qualifier

Alek Jacob Courtesygonzaga

Three hits: Gonzaga, Patriot League tournament, Brandon Lankford

In Three Strikes, we take a look at Gonzaga after a Covid-19 hiatus, the Patriot League tournament, and Brandon Lankford’s career.

The last four In

Ball State

The first four out

North Carolina

The next four out

UC Santa Barbara
Wichita State
Louisiana State

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