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Bracketology-April 2nd

By Micah Beutell


It is officially April and we enter the best time of the year. We have meaningful baseball games every weekend and so much still to sort out. We have seen preseason favorites Florida, Wake Forest, and LSU all struggle. Some newcomers with Nebraska, UC Irvine, and Dallas Baptist all listed as hosts. The Big 12, Pac 12, and Big 10 all have been all over the places making it hard to place teams in the tournament from these conferences. Lets dive into it.





POWER FIVE:

  • SEC (12): Florida, Arkansas, LSU, Texas A&M, Tennessee, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State

  • ACC (9): Wake Forest, Clemson, Duke, North Carolina, Virginia, NC State, Miami, Virginia Tech, and Florida State

  • Big 12 (7): TCU, Texas, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Kansas State, UCF, and Oklahoma

  • Pac 12 (4): Oregon State, Oregon, Cal, Arizona

  • Big 10 (3): Maryland, Nebraska, and Rutgers


Let's start with the biggest challenge of all. What do you do with the SEC? There are 13 teams that all have legitimate cases to be a tournament team. While this is a projection, I went with the 12 teams who currently would be in Hoover. No team, since the SEC tournament expanded to 12 teams, has made the NCAA tournament, but missed Hoover. The record for most teams from a single conference in the tournament is 10, so 12 would obviously set that record. Ole Miss is one of the last teams in and could easily fall out if they drop their weekend series with Arkansas in an unimpressive fashion.


The Big 12 & Pac 12 are quite confusing with a lot of early season craziness. Oklahoma drops from regional host picture as they were swept by Southland favorite Lamar. Arizona enters and Utah drops and if I am being honest I think I should swap Utah for Cal. Cal has struggled and Utah has continued to win. I am just so skeptical of Utah and that is of no fault of their own. If they sweep Cal St. Northridge this weekend then they are for sure reenter the field.


The ACC sees its stock rise and we wait to see if the ACC can get a 10th team in. Wake Forest continues to spiral while North Carolina moves up into a more secure host position after the weekend sweep in Winston-Salem. Things could easily flip for Wake, but this team needs a huge weekend series win over Virginia Tech to be reconsidered as a host. We also see Boston College entering the conversation again. The Eagles are hot and their RPI allows them to be in the conversation as a potential last four in.


The Big 10 has looked pretty bad over the course of the year. Preseason favorite Iowa has faltered and has gone from a potential host to missing the field. Nebraska has a great RPI and have looked the part as the most impressive team in the Big 10. I listed them as a host as I can't see the ACC or SEC getting more than 11 of the total regional host sites.


Mid-Majors:


  • CAA (2): Campbell & Northeastern

  • Sun Belt (3): Coastal Carolina, Southern Miss, and Louisiana

  • C-USA (1): Dallas Baptist

  • Big West (2): UC-Santa Barbara & UC Irvine

  • American: (1): East Carolina

  • A10 (1): VCU

  • Mountain West (1): Fresno State

  • Mid-American (1): Bowling Green


The biggest piece of this bracket is the amount of Sun Belt teams on the bubble. This conference will beat itself, but is loaded with really good teams. I really like JMU & App State so I wouldn't be surprised if they make the field at some point soon. The CAA enters the multi-bid league as I think Northeastern wins the conference regular season and Campbell gets in with an RPI that is borderline or tournament championship. Campbell is on the cusp of being dropped and honestly could have been dropped this weekend. We shall see if they can hold their spot, as they continue to struggle with adapting to the CAA.



Small Conference:


  • Missouri Valley (1): Indiana State

  • Southern (1): UNC-Greensboro

  • West Coast (1): Portland

  • Southland (1): Lamar

  • Big South (1): USC-Upstate

  • WAC (1): Grand Canyon

  • ASUN (1): Kennesaw State

  • America East (1): Bryant

  • Horizon (1): Northern Kentucky

  • Ohio Valley (1): Southeast Missouri State (SEMO)

  • Patriot (1): Army

  • Ivy (1): Columbia

  • MAAC (1): Rider

  • Summit (1): North Dakota State

  • NEC (1): Wagner

  • SWAC (1): Bethune Cookman



Let me know what you think in the comments. Did I wrongly seed your favorite team? Who am I sleeping on? What team am I way too high on? All feedback is good, and I look forward to talking baseball all season long with you.


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