D1Baseball.com released its latest projections for the 2018 NCAA Baseball Tournament and Purdue is even closer to the field than ever. After last night’s 27-3 win over Fort Wayne (yes, that score is correct) Purdue has now won 12 in a row, the longest active win streak in the nation. That has the Boilers listed as their “First Team Out” in this week’s projections:
As always, this is a projection: we’re not trying to illustrate what the field would look like if the season ended today. We’re still looking ahead, taking into account remaining schedules and our evaluations of the talent of the contenders, in addition to their bodies of work, of course.
Last Five In: Houston, Baylor, Missouri State, LSU, Vanderbilt
First Five Out: Purdue, Illinois, Louisiana, South Alabama, TCU
That is agonizingly close, and last night’s win may have actually drawn Purdue slightly further from the field. Fort Wayne is so bad that Purdue’s RPI actually dropped to 62 from 59. Warren Nolan has Purdue is a mass with a bunch of other teams here. For example: Houston is in the field at No. 61. The early season weather cancellation with Baylor is now a factor as well, as Purdue was originally supposed to open the season with the Bears, but could not get out of Chicago so they ended up playing Western Michigan in Atlanta.
Baseball America also has a projected field of 64 and Purdue is listed as a “Next Four Out” team:
Last Four In
First Four Out
Next Four Out
Purdue faces Ball State this afternoon at 4pm. After that, the final seven games are against teams projected to be in the field of 64. Ohio State is currently a No. 2 seed in Corvallis according to D1 and No. 2 seed in Chapel Hill according to BA. Oral Roberts is a 4 seed is heavily favored to be the Summit League representative. D21 has them in the Stillwater Regional and BA has them in Fayetteville. Finally, Michigan, a fellow bubble team, is a 3 seed in the Athens, Georgia regional according to D1 and the 3 seed in the Palo Alto Regional (and last team in) according to BA.
Should Purdue get in they are almost certainly looking at a 3 seed, as 4 seeds are generally reserved for smaller conference automatic bids. 3 seeds generally go to really good mid-majors and the last few at large teams.
In terms of teams in the field Purdue has beaten or played Indiana, despite losing 8 of 10, is solidly in. St. Louis is favored to win the Atlantic-10 autobid and Purdue took 1 of 4 games against them. Stetson is a possible regional host and Purdue lost to them in February. Minnesota is a possible regional host as well out of the Big Ten (also, that would narrow down Purdue’s regional destinations as they try to keep conferences separate for regionals).
From the Big Ten Indiana, MInnesota, Ohio State, and Iowa are all relatively safely in the field. Michigan, Purdue, and Illinois are bubble teams. The Big Ten has gotten 5 teams in in 2 of the last 3 years but has never gotten 6 or more.