The 2011 NCAA Tournament kicks off Monday afternoon at 12:30 p.m. when the tournament field is announced on ESPN. The ACC already knows that five of its teams will host regionals, the most of any conference, but there are still plenty of questions to be answered come Monday afternoon.
Five major online publications have projections online, and we will be using those as guideposts to help answer the questions facing the ACC. Those publications are Perfect Game, Baseball America, ESPN, Chasing Omaha, and College Baseball Daily.
Will the ACC get a third national seed? The Virginia Cavaliers and North Carolina Tar Heels are virtual locks to get one of the top-eight seeds, but Florida State is on the border. The Seminoles have a top-five RPI, won the Atlantic Division, and finished as runner-up in the best conference in the nation. Of the five projections, three have the Seminoles receiving a No. 6 seed and the other two have them just missing out of the top eight.
Where will the bubble teams end up? The ACC should get seven teams into the tournament: the five that are hosting regionals (North Carolina, Florida State, Virginia, Georgia Tech, and Clemson), and two more (Miami and NC State). The projections agree that NC State likely will end up in Columbia in the South Carolina regional. Miami, on the other hand, could end up going to five very different regionals according to the projections: Arizona State, Florida, Oregon State, UCLA, or South Carolina.
Which of the conference teams will get rivalry matchups? There are a handful of possibilities for intriguing matchups either in the first round or in the super regionals. Georgia Tech, for example, could potentially host both Georgia and Georgia Southern, two familiar in-state rivals. South Carolina and Clemson could be paired up to meet in a super regional, as could Florida and Florida State. Miami could end up traveling to Gainesville to take on the Gators in the first round as well.