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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Field of 64: April 20

Mike Rooney        
 



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Now that we are halfway through most conference seasons, it’s time to start thinking along with the NCAA Selection Committee. Our focus will be on the 33 at-large bids and the 16 host sites.

Our format will be as follows: the 31 automatic bids, followed by the 33 at-large bids, followed by the 16 host sites, which includes the Top 8 National Seeds. There will also be a list of “Bubble Out” teams followed by some commentary.

Note: the number listed after each team was their RPI as of Sunday night of this week. 


31 Automatic Bids by Conference

America East: Binghamton (44)
American Athletic: Houston (15)
Atlantic 10: Rhode Island (65)
ACC: North Carolina (3)
Atlantic Sun: Florida Gulf Coast (45)

Big 12: Texas Tech (6)
Big East: St. John’s (25)
Big South: Liberty (80)
Big Ten: Michigan (26)
Big West: Long Beach State (13)

Colonial: Northeastern (109)
Conference USA: Southern Miss (31)
Horizon: Wright State (48)
Ivy: Yale (78)
MAAC: Rider (210)

MAC: Kent State (81)
MEAC: Bethune Cookman (56)
Missouri Valley: Missouri State (27)
Mountain West: New Mexico (38)
Northeast: Central Connecticut (181)

Ohio Valley: Tennessee Tech (68)
Pac 12: Oregon State (1)
Patriot: Navy (217)
SEC: Kentucky (7)
Southern: Mercer (29)

Southland: McNeese State (14)
SWAC: Jackson State (209)
Summit: Oral Roberts (99)
Sun Belt: Coastal Carolina (58)
West Coast: San Diego (43)

WAC: New Mexico State (126)


33 At-Large Bids


Arizona (2)
Clemson (4)
Louisville (5)
West Virginia (8)
Virginia (9)

Wake Forest (10)
TCU (11)
Florida (12)
Mississippi State (16)
LSU (17)

Arkansas (18)
Baylor (19)
Cal State Fullerton (20)
Oklahoma (21)
South Carolina (22)

UCF (23)
Vanderbilt (24)
Auburn (28)
USF (30)
Indiana (32)

Texas A&M (33)
Maryland (34)
Florida State (35)
Oregon (36)
NC State (37)

Ole Miss (38)
Texas (40)
Stanford (41)
Louisiana Tech (42)
Washington (46)

Minnesota (47)
Charlotte (54)
Old Dominion (52)


Bubble Out


FAU (63)
Connecticut (51)
Nebraska (50)
Missouri (53)
Southeastern Louisiana (55)
Gonzaga (61)
Dallas Baptist (64)


Bubble Out, Tier 2


Oklahoma State (66)
Michigan State (67)
Louisiana (69)
BYU (70)
UCLA (71)
South Alabama (73)
Iowa (76)
Jacksonville (77)
Saint Mary’s (79)
Sam Houston State (90)
Loyola Marymount (92)
San Diego State (101)


Host sites
(Top 8 are the National Seeds)

1. Oregon State
2. Arizona
3. North Carolina
4. Texas Tech
5. Kentucky
6. Clemson
7. Louisville
8. TCU

9. Wake Forest
10. West Virginia
11. Long Beach State
12. Florida
13. Houston
14. Cal State Fullerton
15. Arkansas
16. Florida


Random Thoughts


Doing a Field of 64 at this point feels like a fool’s errand because two critical criteria are yet to be determined: conference finish and overall finish to your season. Another critical, and secret, criteria is the ranking done by each of the Regional advisory committees. So at this point, we must use RPI and our own eyes and ears, thus becoming our own Regional advisory committee.

However, here is an important point to remember regarding RPI: more than anything, it is a starting point for the Selection Committee. In 2016, North Carolina was left out with a 19 RPI while Nebraska was in with an RPI of 53.

There are several at-large teams who are currently under .500 in conference play. That can be a deal breaker so let’s call those “tentative reservations.” Those teams are Vanderbilt, NC State, Ole Miss, Texas, Stanford and Louisiana Tech. That said, all of those schools did a nice job in their non-conference slates so they have some rope to play with.

We created a second bubble called “Bubble Out, Tier Two” for teams who are very interesting but have untenable RPIs at the current moment. Of course, whether you are bubble in or bubble out, these last 18-20 games are of critical importance, both for your RPI and your Regional advisory committee ranking. So there is much yet to be decided.

In this projection, there are four West Coast host sites (as opposed to zero in 2016). The Big 12, which is the No. 1 RPI conference, received two Top 8 National Seeds and an additional host site. The SEC earned 10 at large bids, with an 11th school, Missouri, just on the outside.

Finally, we are starting to uncover several potential bid stealers, meaning teams with strong resumes and RPIs from what look like one-bid leagues. Those possible bubble busters are: St. John’s, New Mexico, Mercer, McNeese State and San Diego. So anyone on the bubble will need these teams to secure the automatic bids from their respective leagues. 

So that is our shot at predicting the unpredictable. Here’s one thing we know for sure: the Road to Omaha is paved with fun!


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