Patrick Magee

NCAA baseball projections: Florida riding high, mid-major teams scramble for regional host sites

Southern Miss third baseman watches a pitch on Feb. 16 in a game against Mississippi State. The Eagles' (35-12) RPI ranking continues to lag a bit at No. 34. If USM wants to place itself in a strong position to host, it will need to be nearly flawless down the stretch and win the Conference USA tournament in Biloxi.
Southern Miss third baseman watches a pitch on Feb. 16 in a game against Mississippi State. The Eagles' (35-12) RPI ranking continues to lag a bit at No. 34. If USM wants to place itself in a strong position to host, it will need to be nearly flawless down the stretch and win the Conference USA tournament in Biloxi. SunHerald file

There are three weekends remaining in the college baseball regular season with defending national champion Florida in a strong position to be the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA's 64-team tournament.

Stanford (37-6) checks in as the No. 2 overall seed with North Carolina (32-13) trailing close behind at No. 3.

The regional host sites are a little more complicated with a handful of midmajor squads in the running for one or two regional locations.

Southern Miss, Long Beach State and Houston were the three programs outside of the power conferences to host last year, but it's hard to see more than two midmajor schools serving as regional sites at the moment.

The American Athletic Conference has proven deep this season and seems likely to land at least one regional site. UConn (27-14-1, 11-7) an RPI ranking of No. 16, a good resumé and the Northeastern location that's so often lacking among the 16 host sites. The issue for the Huskies is that they are tied with East Carolina, another candidate to host, for second in the AAC. ECU's RPI checks in at No. 13, but the Pirates (33-12, 11-7) were swept on the last weekend of April by Houston (29-19, 14-7), which sits atop the AAC standings. Houston stands at No. 60 in the RPI rankings.

Tennessee Tech (40-6) and Stetson (37-11) also are in the middle of impressive seasons, but they seem likely to be overlooked as regional hosts due to the lack of a large enough facility. That's especially the case for Tennessee Tech, which plays in a 1,100-capacity park. Stetson, which is located in DeLand, Florida, has a nice stadium, but it has seating for only 2,500.

Southern Miss (35-12) also is in the discussion to host, but the Eagles' RPI ranking continues to lag a bit at No. 34. If USM wants to place itself in a strong position to host, it will need to be nearly flawless down the stretch and win the Conference USA tournament in Biloxi.

Gainesville, Fla.

1. Florida* (1)

2. South Florida

3. FAU

4. Quinnipiac*

Stanford, Calif.

1. Stanford* (2)

2. Cal State Fullerton*

3. San Diego State

4. Pepperdine*

Chapel Hill, N.C.

1. North Carolina* (3)

2. East Carolina

3. Vanderbilt

4. Wright State*

Corvallis, Ore

1. Oregon State (4)

2. Oklahoma

3. Mississippi State

4. Grand Canyon*

Clemson, S.C.

1. Clemson (5)

2. Coastal Carolina*

3. LSU

4. Campbell*

Fayetteville, Ark.

1. Arkansas (6)

2. Ohio State

3. Houston

4. Nevada*

Tallahassee, Fla.

1. Florida State (7)

2. Stetson*

3. UCF

4. Bryant*

Oxford, Miss.

1. Ole Miss (8)

2. Southern Miss*

3. Michigan

4. Jackson State*

Athens, Ga.

1. Georgia (9)

2. Tennessee Tech*

3. Jacksonville

4. Yale*

Lubbock, Texas

1. Texas Tech (10)

2. UCLA

3. Dallas Baptist*

4. Kent State*

Auburn, Ala.

1. Auburn (11)

2. Indiana

3. Troy

4. Navy*

Austin, Texas

1. Texas (12)

2. Texas A&M

3. St. John's

4. Purdue

Raleigh, N.C.

1. North Carolina State (13)

2. Kentucky

3. UNC-Greensboro*

4. Coppin State*

Stillwater, Okla.

1. Oklahoma State* (14)

2. Arizona

3. Sam Houston State

4. Oral Roberts*

Minneapolis

1. Minnesota* (15)

2. Duke

3. South Carolina

4. Saint Louis*

Norwich, Conn.

1. Connecticut* (16)

2. Louisville

3. Northeastern*

4. Hartford*

*Automatic bids.

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