Compilation: 5/22 baseball postseason projections
A 13-game winning streak, Coastal Division title, and 42 wins haven’t completely clarified Carolina’s NCAA Tournament future. The Tar Heels know they’ll be in the field of 64, of course. And they’re a virtual lock to earn a regional hosting spot and open play at Boshamer Stadium next weekend.
But the race for one of the eight coveted national seeds remains undetermined as the ACC convenes in Greensboro this week for the conference championship. The Tar Heels stand sixth in this week’s official NCAA RPI, and have the opportunity for a surge with games to play against top-20 squads Miami and NC State, plus #34 Wake Forest. At least one win would seemingly clinch a national seed, but given this week’s round of projections, Carolina isn’t on sure footing just yet. All of the following descriptions include today's updated RPI figures in parentheses.
This week’s projections include:
Perfect Game: Carolina is the #7 national seed (inexplicably down from #4 last week, after a 4-0 week that included allowing two earned runs to Virginia Tech, a team that remains in the top 40 of the RPI), with a regional that includes East Carolina (24), College of Charleston (40) and Cornell (127). The winner of the Chapel Hill regional is paired with the winner of the Arizona (18) regional in the super-regional.
SEBaseball.com: Carolina is the #7 national seed (again, down from #6 last week), with a regional that includes Oregon State (38), College of Charleston and Austin Peay (135). The Chapel Hill regional is matched against the Stanford regional—which could be a rematch of last year’s Tar Heels-Cardinals super-regional—in the supers.
ESPN: Carolina is the #7 national seed. The Chapel Hill regional includes Coastal Carolina (43), UNC Wilmington (41) and Sacred Heart (213). The winner of the Chapel Hill regional would face the winner of the Kentucky (19) regional in the supers.
College Baseball Nation: Carolina is the #7 national seed, with a regional that includes UNC-Wilmington, College of Charleston and Cornell. This projection also features a possible Carolina-Stanford rematch in the supers.
As always, Baseball America does not do a specific bracket projection. But their weekly Stock Report lists their likely national seeds, and they’ve elevated Carolina from On the Bubble (In) for a national seed to “secure” for a national seed.
So, what to watch out for this week? The Tar Heels need to win at least one game in Greensboro. Winning two would likely eliminate any lingering doubts ahead of the pairings being announced on Monday. Advancing to Sunday’s championship game or winning the entire event (the Tar Heels last won the ACC tourney in 2007) could even vault Carolina into the top four nationally. Don’t take the opening game against Wake Forest for granted, as the Deacs need an RPI-boosting win to solidify their NCAA Tournament credentials.
Based on Baseball America’s always informative chat, other teams to watch this week include Rice, South Carolina and Texas A&M—three teams battling it out for one of the remaining national seeds. Great weeks from two (or three) of those clubs combined with Carolina struggling in Greensboro could potentially cause a nervous Monday.