Baseball America national writer Ted Cahill unveiled the second edition of his weekly projections of the 2021 NCAA Baseball Tournament field on Wednesday morning and he predicts a high seeding for Pitt Baseball.
Cahill said that the Panthers had been in position to host a Regional Tournament, but after suffering a sweep at the hands of Virginia Tech this past weekend, were knocked out of a hosting spot. The Panthers — still ranked in Baseball America’s top-20 — are nonetheless firmly in the field as a two-seed in the Knoxville Regional, hosted by Tennessee.
The Panthers had reached No. 2 in the NCAA’s RPI last week, but once again, getting swept by the Hokies hurt them. Pitt has fallen to No. 17 in the current RPI rankings, right behind SEC powers Ole Miss and Vanderbilt.
But Cahill made sure to place an emphasis on the fact that these are projections. There’s still a lot of baseball left to play, particularly among the country’s best conferences. The competition among ACC teams will be particularly tough, according to Cahill. He predicts a long conference season during which few teams will be able to truly separate themselves.
“In this projection, the ACC and SEC both receive 10 bids, and both conferences have teams just on the wrong side of the bubble,” Cahill wrote. “The ACC is deeper into its schedule and it looks likely that there won’t be much separation in the standings between the top and the bottom, which will make sorting out which teams get bids and which get left at home difficult for the selection committee.”
North Carolina was also dropped from the ranks of hosters after dropping four games in a row, while Virginia Tech and South Carolina took over the vacancies made by the Panthers and Tar Heels.
Cahill has four ACC teams — Louisville, Georgia Tech and Notre Dame in addition to Virginia Tech — as top seeds in their respective regionals and six others in the field. Miami, Clemson, Duke, North Carolina and Florida State joined Pitt in Cahill’s projections as either two or three seeds.
The Panthers will have a golden opportunity to jump back up the seeding order this weekend, when they welcome No. 12 Notre Dame to the Steel City for three games beginning on Saturday. The series had been originally scheduled to begin two days earlier, but has been pushed back due to the frigid temperatures forecasted for Thursday and Friday.