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2021 CWS Field of 64 Review and Predictions

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Wow, it feels good to be back (somewhat) to normal. The 2021 College World Series field of 64 was announced over the weekend, which will feature 16 mini tournaments to determine who advances to the “Super Regionals” next weekend. This is a great, fun weekend of college baseball coming up, and there’s all sorts of local rooting interest and national draft interest in the field.

We had no 2020 event, and in 2019 I didn’t do a ton of coverage, so here we are. Lets review the field of 64, note some of the more interesting matchups, and make some predictions. I’ll list these in the order of their eventual Super Regional matchup (i.e. #1 national seed’s region then #16 national seed region, then #8/#9, etc).

#1 Arkansas, with Nebraska, Northeastern and NJIT. The #1 seed, which did not win its own conference, gets a very difficult #2 seed in Big12 champ Nebraska, who is ranked #42 in RPI. I’m not saying they’re going to lose, but certainly this is one of the more difficult #2 seeds. Prediction: Arkansas

#16: Louisiana Tech, who gets NC State, Alabama and Rider. Alabama as a #3 seed is kind of ridiculous; they played top 25 teams 22 times this year. They’re higher RPI than NC State. La Tech lost its conference championship but rocketed up the RPI rankings into a host, but I don’t think they can beat two solid down-division teams from ACC/SEC. Prediction: Alabama.

#8: Texas Tech, who gets UCLA, UNC and Army. Kind of a tough #2 seed for a national seed in UCLA, who got a number of top-25 wins this year. I smell a slight upset possibility here. Prediction: Texas Tech.

#9: Stanford, who gets UC Irvine, Nevada and North Dakota State. Stanford had a very solid season, and UC Irvine is the kind of random California team that excels only in baseball and can give the blue bloods fits, but not this year. I like Stanford here.

#5 Arizona, who gets Oklahoma State, UC Santa Barbara and Grand Canyon. Oklahoma State is quite high in RPI, but sports a pretty poor record against top25. This will be an interesting show-me series between two solid teams in the top secondary divisions in the sport. I also like the secondary story of GCU, which is the sole for-profit Division 1 team in the country and who has had spats with other Pac12 members publicly about whether they were even eligible to compete. I like Arizona to move on.

#12 Ole Miss gets Southern Miss, Florida State and Southeast Missouri State. A very talented top 3 here, all with pedigree and top-25 history. I have no reason to doubt the SEC team Ole Miss moves on, especially at home.

#4 Vanderbilt gets Georgia Tech, Indiana State and Presbyterian. I’m still not quite sure how Vandy ever loses, with its two top starters (Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter) both projected to go in the top 5 of the draft and a slew of other talented players in the lineup. They get a gift of a regional, with Ga Tech down in the 40s in terms of RPI.

#13 ECU headlines a local-favorite filled regional that includes Charlotte, Maryland and MEAC champ Norfolk State. ECU isn’t quite as good as they have been in the past but was a top25 regular this year and should move on.

#3 Tennessee gets an interesting draw in ACC champ Duke, local favorite Liberty and Wright State. It isn’t often that the ACC champ isn’t a regional host, but Duke didn’t really merit it during a down year for the ACC. Liberty has done some damage this year locally, but won’t be able to take down the national power Tennessee.

#14 Oregon hosts Gonzaga, LSU and Central Connecticut. LSU was a pre-season favorite to fight for the title before losing their friday starter (Jaden Hill) to TJ surgery. They survived an awful start to the season to qualify and I think they’re a dark horse. I think Oregon is weak this year, and Gonzaga is a geographic-based seed to save on travel dollars. LSU to advance.

#6 TCU gets a tough regional for its troubles, with Oregon State, Dallas Baptist and McNeese State. Dallas Baptist isn’t as good as they have been recently, but did win their conference… as did Lake Charles’ McNeese State, who led the way in a sneaky good baseball conference and could make some noise. Hard to bet against the powerhouse TCU, but this regional may be tough.

#11 ODU, for being a top 10 team this year, somehow doesn’t get the honor to host and has to travel to South Carolina to compete in a regional where they’re the #1 seed. They’re joined by UVA and Jacksonville as perhaps the best #4 seed in the tourney as the Atlantic Sun champ. Tough break for ODU, who I think falls to South Carolina. UVA makes the tournament in a down year, but just doesn’t have the bats to compete.

#7 Mississippi State gets VCU, Campbell and Stamford in a relatively easy regional.

#10 ACC Champ Notre Dame, hardly a baseball power, gets UConn, Michigan and Central Michigan in a regional that seems designed to ensure a cold weather team makes it to next weekend. UConn normally is solid but is down this year, so Notre Dame (who got shellacked in the ACC tournament by UVA) moves on.

#15 Florida gets a very “Florida” regional, with South Alabama, long-time rival Miami and South Florida in their regional. I can see a Florida-Miami winner’s bracket final, but otherwise see no reason to doubt Florida moving on.

#2 Texas, who is overseeded by a handful, nonetheless gets a very easy regional with Arizona State, Fairfield and Southern. Interestingly, Fairfield is the #2 team in the nation in RPI, having gone 37-3 this year, albeit with no games against anyone in the top 50.


So, i’m going mostly chalk, with a couple of upsets. We’ll see how it plays out. Games start friday at Noon!

Written by Todd Boss

June 1st, 2021 at 3:48 pm

Posted in College/CWS

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