FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — It’s finally time to unveil our own NCAA Tournament regional destinations. It’s close enough to the end of the baseball season that the research can yield dividends.
Note: This won’t be taking any cues from other prognostication sites out there. No longer checking those. So, if you see wild differences, that’s because there’s been no comparing of notes.
Otherwise, the format remains the same. The top 8 are listed, then the second 8. After that comes a description of the “why” for choosing the Fayetteville Regional, and finally, the listed teams themselves.
This is the most fun part of the regular season for college baseball geeks.
Top 8 national seeds
- North Carolina
- Oregon State
- Ole Miss
- North Carolina State
Next 8 regional hosts
- Texas Tech
- Florida State
- Oklahoma State
Breaking it down
By our the best estimation, about 10 teams live on the NCAA Tournament bubble, realistically. Five of them will make it. Five will not.
What’s wild is how much those who make it could shake up what the Fayetteville Regional looks like. The whole thing is akin to a game of dominoes. The state of Florida, for example, has a ton of teams currently “in” the NCAA Tournament. Per above, the state has three hosts. Problem is, most of the teams in the state that aren’t hosting are No. 2 seeds. They can’t all be 2s that play in the Sunshine State.
Point being, as it relates to Arkansas, any of them could head to another southern destination, thereby moving teams farther and farther west, perhaps.
The 2 seed in the Fayetteville Regional appears to be making itself clear. Oklahoma is the only geographically close opponent currently looking like it belongs on that line. The Sooners can’t play at Oklahoma State, with the two being Big 12 counterparts. Can’t play at the Lubbock Regional or the Austin one, either. Fayetteville makes far too much sense.
Choosing the 3 seed becomes a bit more tricky. Of states that border Arkansas, there are six schools in the SEC Country NCAA Tournament projections on that line. LSU and Texas A&M can’t play at Arkansas because of the SEC connection. That leaves four: Louisiana Tech (though other prognosticators have TCU in the tournament instead of the Bulldogs, but either way, it’s a bordering state), Houston, Baylor, Missouri State.
It’s possible Missouri State goes north to Minnesota for that projected regional. That depends on whether the committee sees Kent State or St. Louis as a 3 seed or a 4. We have the Golden Flashes as a 3, so that shifts Missouri State south instead of north. For the third time in four years, Missouri State would play in the NCAA Tournament in Fayetteville.
The No. 4 seed, per usual, is a complete toss-up. For these purposes, it’s Yale. Why not?
- Missouri State