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Here are the latest projections after Friday’s action, put together by our Kendall Rogers, Aaron Fitt and Mark Etheridge.
Today’s field of 64 introduces the following changes to our projected auto skills since yesterday:
East America: Top-seeded Maine was eliminated by New Jersey Tech. The face of the Highlanders Binghamton in the Finals, but the Bearcats are undefeated in the tournament, so we’re making this our new projected automatic qualifier.
Atlantic 10: Davidson, seeded, was eliminated Friday by Richmond, sparking a battle between the Spiders and the second seed. VCUs for the title of the conference. We are changing our projected automatic qualification for the Rams.
MAAC: Niagara edged out our previous projected pick, Fairfield, to send the Stags packing. We modify our projection to Canisiusthe only undefeated team still standing.
Missouri Valley: Evansville eliminated Dallas Baptist (which had been our scheduled automatic qualifier) 21-2 on Friday. The Patriots are still alive but face a daunting path to the MVC title, so we’re changing our projected automatic qualification to Evansville.
West Mountain: Top-seeded UNLV was eliminated from the MWC tournament, leaving San Jose State, Nevada and Aviation still alive. We’re changing our projection to the Falcons, the only undefeated team in the tournament.
COE: San Diego beat top seed Gonzaga 5-3, sending the Bulldogs to the losing streak. The Zags will face the Toreros in Saturday’s title round, but are expected to beat the USD twice, so we’re changing our automatic qualifying projection to San Diego.
• Given the AQ changes noted above in the MVC and WCC, Dallas Baptist and Gonzaga are moving from Auto Bids to General Bids, which means two General teams must fall out of our intended scope. We took out Ole Miss (who was knocked out of the SEC tournament in the qualifying round) and Old Dominion (who beat Charlotte on Friday to stay alive in the C-USA tournament). The Monarchs must now beat Louisiana Tech twice on Saturday to qualify for Sunday’s championship. UTSA, which has a remarkably similar resume to ODU, beat Southern Miss on Friday to advance to 2-0 in the tournament, putting the Roadrunners in a better position for an overall offer than ODU. But Old Dominion’s case is still very compelling, with a 40-16 overall record, a 21-12 C-USA overall rating and a No. 46 RPI. They’re still in the game, but they have to beat Louisiana Tech. at least once on Saturday to keep hope alive, given the contraction of the bubble.
Alabama is our last team in the field after being beaten by Texas A&M 12-8 on Friday, dropping Bama to 14-18 overall in the SEC and No. 43 in the RPI. Saturday’s playoff game against Florida is vital to Alabama’s chances.
Keep an eye on Pittsburgh, currently the No. 67 team on our ladder. The Panthers face NC State in Saturday’s ACC Tournament semifinals, and a general offer still seems unlikely even if they win, but they are just two wins away from earning an automatic bid, which would make ACC an 11-offer league, as the other 10 projected regional teams all seem locked in.
Here are the last four teams on the pitch, as well as the top four teams from the latest screening.
LAST FOUR IN:
61. Louisiana Tech
62. West Virginia
FIRST FOUR RELEASES:
65. Old Dominion
66. Ole Miss
NATIONAL SEEDS/HOST IMAGE
• There has been a change in our top eight national seeds: our Lady replaces Miami after the Irish beat Virginia while the Hurricanes lost to Wake Forest. Notre Dame is 9th in RPI with an 18-11 overall in the ACC, and Miami is down to 15th in RPI and 20-12 overall in the ACC.
• We’ve also made a change to our projected hosts: North Carolina replaces Auburn. The Tar Heels finished 15-15 in the ACC in the regular season, and teams that finish .500 in their leagues don’t host. But UNC moved up to No. 6 in the RPI with Friday’s big win over Virginia Tech and improved to 17-15 overall in the ACC, ensuring they’ll finish with a winning record against haters. of the conference even if they lose to Notre Dame on Saturday. The combination of a top-10 RPI, overall winning conference record and scorching finish (13-2 in their last 15) likely adds up to a host spot even if UNC loses. Saturday, but a win against the Irish would probably sew a home place.
Auburn is just 16-14 in the SEC and has finished poorly, losing three of its last four games, all to Kentucky (a team that went 12-18 in the regular season), undermining its strong RPI (#11). Auburn owns a head-to-head victory at LSU, which is behind in the RPI at No. 22. But LSU finished stronger and has a better conference record (18-14 overall even after Friday’s loss against Tennessee), and we think that outweighs the head-to-head and RPI advantages that Auburn possesses. LSU’s Saturday playoff game against Kentucky looks very important to its hosting prospects; if the Wildcats win, it will likely drop Auburn past LSU in the pecking order.
• Oklahoma State boosted its hosting chances with a win over TCU on Friday, moving the Cowboys to 14th in RPI. We’re still giving TCU the nod over the Pokes based on the Frogs’ regular-season Big 12 title, which carries tremendous weight and should make up for TCU’s problematic RPI (#36). But if Oklahoma State can beat Texas on Saturday, all bets are off. Maybe the Frogs and Cowboys could host in that scenario, at the expense of LSU or North Carolina or South Georgia. Or maybe OSU could host and knock out TCU. It’s hard to predict how the committee will handle the TCU — hosts with RPIs in the 30s are extremely rare and have so far been limited to the Pac-12, but the Big 12 regular-season champion has always hosted in the era of 64 teams.
|1 Tennessee* (1)||1 South Georgia (16)|
|4 Coppin state*||4 Campbells*|
|2 Wake Forest||2 Georgia|
|3 West Virginia||3 State of Florida|
|1 Virginia Tech* (2)||1 CPU (15)|
|4 Long Island*||4 Wright’s State*|
|2UCLA||2 State of Texas*|
|3 VCUs*||3 Dallas Baptist|
|1 Stanford* (3)||1 LU (14)|
|4 Binghamtons*||4 McNeese*|
|2 Vanderbilts||2 Texas Tech|
|3 San Diego*||3 Louisiana Tech|
|1 State of Oregon (4)||1 North Carolina (13)|
|4 Air Force*||4 College of Charleston*|
|2 Gonzaga||2 Auburn|
|3 Grand Canyons*||3 Coastal Carolina|
|1 Texas A&M (5)||1 East Carolina* (12)|
|4 Army*||4 Colombia*|
|2 Oklahoma||2 NC Status|
|3 UTSA||3 Woffords*|
|1 Maryland* (6)||1 Texas (11)|
|4 Canisius*||4 Oral Roberts*|
|2 Virginia||2 Arkansas|
|3 Freedom*||3 arizona|
|1 Notre Dame (7)||1 Louisville (10)|
|4 Evansville*||4 ball state*|
|2 Oregon||2 Oklahoma State|
|3 Rutgers||3 UC Santa Barbara*|
|1 Miss South* (8)||1 Miami (9)|
|4 Belmont*||4 Florida A&M*|
|2 Georgia Tech||2 Florida|
|3 Alabama||3 Connecticut*|