(This article is special to ACC Headquarters from Lambeth Field)
So in my attempt to fall asleep, I was doing a little research on what goes into the decision making process for the NCAA committee. Even after last years fiasco with Virginia heading across the country, it is my belief that there is a general plan for placing the 64 teams into regionals. So on the eve (now day) of the selections, here is what we believe will happen.
A few months ago we wrote about the basic framework of a regional. It starts with one of sixteen regional teams. These teams were announced tonight, in which Virginia is a host team, along with Miami and Georgia Tech from the ACC. From there, eight of those teams will receive a national ranking and then be paired with another, non-ranked host team. For example, Aaron Fitt at BaseballAmerica.com has Virginia as a #2 seed. They could not meet another national seed (say #8 Georgia Tech) until the College World Series. Once that has been established, those 16 teams will be a No. 1 seed in their regional* and the rest of the 64 teams will be filtered into the 2, 3, and 4 slots. *Sometimes a No. 2 seed can be a host regional if certain conditions exist, like a team that is highly ranked, but has inadequate facilities to accommodate a regional by NCAA standards.
Now this is where it gets interesting. What goes into making the regionals? Location plays a big part, especially if you are a conference champion from a less prestigious conference. They will not send The Citadel out to the Tempe Regional when their are regionals in Myrtle Beach and Colombia. The second major criteria is how you finished the year in your conference, with an emphasis on end-of-year play, including conference tournament play. From there, it’s a free for all. Like all other NCAA tournaments, no two teams from the same conference will be put in the same regional or matched up as host regionals. Now they won’t put Miami and Georgia Tech opposite from each other, as they are both hosts, but Miami could play, say, NC State in a Super Regional, if State wins another host teams regional.
Confused yet? Let’s try to play out some scenarios that WILL play out tomorrow. (I know, a little bold, but these aren’t stretches). Virginia will host a regional. Since Virginia Commonwealth (VCU to those from the Old Dominion), they will travel to Charlottesville for their regional, and will be the #4 seed as being a conference champion from a lesser league (Colonial Athletic). The number #2 seed will be a second or third place team from a major conference. Vanderbilt has always been a C’Ville favorite. College of Charleston is a runner up from a mid major conference (SoCon) so they might get shifted here. The #3 seed is a wild card. It could be a “last team in” scenario, similar to a #12 seed in the NCAA tournament, or a big 6 team that made a run in their conference tourney and got an automatic bid. St. John’s and Elon would fall into this realm.
So here is what could possibly happen to the ACC teams:
Boston College: It will either be BC or UNC as the last team in from the ACC (unlikely they would take 9, but stranger things have happened). If they are in, #3 seed. See ‘North Carolina’.
Clemson: Should be a #2 seed somewhere in South Carolina, likely Myrtle Beach (I would seriously doubt they put them in Colombia, although that would sell a bunch of tickets). Farthest they would go would be Auburn or Gainesville.
Florida State: #2 seed, possibly the highest ranked #2 seed in the tourney. Look for them to stay real local (Auburn or Colombia). Interesting scenario would be if they lined up opposite with Georgia Tech.
Georgia Tech: Host, most likely ranked, although if they are, it will be as a #7 or #8. Mercer, Grambling State, Jacksonville State would all work as first round opponents.
Miami: Host, but not a ranked seed. Might get someone like Jacksonville State first round, but will get a conference champ. What will be interesting is if FIU gets put here. Due to their national attention on Garrett Wittels hit streak, they might be a #3 seed here.
North Carolina: Most people believe they are in, so for this article, they are. Definite #3 seed. Playing wherever there is an open spot. See ‘Boston College’.
North Carolina State: a #2 seed in a non-ranked regional or a #3 seed in a ranked regional. Again not far from home, possibly in the regional opposite Clemson or Florida State, although they are one of those teams who could be one of those who goes to the Midwest or Pacific Coast.
Virginia: Host and high national seed (2-4), will play VCU first round of regionals.
Virginia Tech: #2 seed in a tweener regional (#7 or #8 ranked or on the flip side matchup regional). Look for them to stay fairly local, like Louisville, but Fayetteville, Norwich, or Auburn would work just as well.
The official selections will come out at 12:30pm on Monday so stay tuned for more then. Good luck ACC!