N.C. State, Duke, Wake Forest, East Carolina are all in.
North Carolina is out.
For the second straight year, the NCAA baseball tournament bubble popped for the Tar Heels, who were left out of the 64-team field on Monday.
But the state, and the ACC, will have plenty of representation without the Tar Heels, who have missed the NCAA tournament in consecutive years for the first time since 1996 and ’97.
Ten ACC teams made the bracket, including Duke for the first time since 1961, and N.C. State is one of 16 regional hosts.
The Wolfpack (35-20) will face Navy (42-14) on Friday at 7 p.m. at Doak Field in Raleigh. Coastal Carolina and Saint Mary’s will also be in Raleigh for the double-elimination regional.
N.C. State coach Elliott Avent was happy the NCAA selection committee “practiced what they preach.” The Wolfpack had the No. 2 ranked strength of schedule, according to D1Baseball.com’s RPI ratings.
“I’ll tell you what, I’ll applaud the NCAA,” Avent said. “They preach RPI, they preach play tough people, they preach go on the road and they did what they said.”
N.C. State, ranked No. 10 in the RPI, also went 12-11 against the top 25 teams in the RPI and 19-17 against the top 50.
I’ll tell you what, I’ll applaud the NCAA. They preach RPI, they preach play tough people, they preach go on the road and they did what they said.
N.C. State coach Elliott Avent
“The schedule has definitely prepared us,” N.C. State catcher Andrew Knizner said. “We’ve played the good teams, and we know how to beat the good teams. That’s something that will give us some confidence heading into the postseason.”
N.C. State’s record as a host in regional play, advancing each of the four times it has been the host, will also be a bonus for the Wolfpack, seeking to advance to the Super Regional round for the third time in five years.
UNC (34-21) had a case for inclusion based on the same parameters as Avent described. The Tar Heels, No. 19 in the RPI, had the seventh-toughest schedule but was 5-15 vs. the top 25.
Joel Erdmann, the athletic director at South Alabama and selection committee chair, said UNC was the first team left out of the field.
“Eventually we run out of room,” Erdmann said after the field was announced on ESPNU.
A couple of late conference tournament upsets, Utah in the Pac-12 and William & Mary in the Colonial Athletic Association, made the bubble a little smaller for UNC.
The Heels’ finish in ACC play, losing 11 of 16 and missing the ACC tournament, didn’t help their cause, either.
Duke, on the other hand, won seven of its last 10 ACC regular-season games and played its way into the ACC tournament. The Blue Devils (33-22) are the No. 3 seed in the Columbia, S.C., regional and open play with No. 2 seed UNC Wilmington on Friday (1 p.m.). South Carolina (42-15) is the host and No. 1 seed in the regional.
Wake Forest (34-25) returns to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2007 as the No. 3 seed in the College Station, Texas, regional. The Demon Deacons open with No. 2 seed Minnesota (34-20) on Friday at 2 p.m. Texas A&M, the SEC champs and No. 4 national seed, is the host and No. 1 regional seed.
East Carolina (34-24-1) is the No. 3 seed in the Charlottesville, Va., regional and will face No. 2 Bryant (47-10) on Friday at 6 p.m. Virginia, the 2015 national champions, is the host and No. 1 regional seed.
N.C. teams in the tournament
No. 1 N.C. State (35-20) vs. No. 4 Navy (42-14), 7 p.m.
No. 2 Coastal Carolina (44-15) vs. No. 3 Saint Mary’s (33-23), 2 p.m.
No. 1 Virginia (37-20) vs. No. 4 William & Mary (29-29), 1 p.m.
No. 2 Bryant (47-10) vs. No. 3 East Carolina (34-21-1), 6 p.m.
College Station regional
No. 1 Texas A&M (45-14) vs. No. 4 Binghamton (30-23), 7 p.m.
No. 2 Minnesota (34-20) vs. No. 3 Wake Forest (34-25), 2 p.m.
No. 1 South Carolina (42-15) vs. No. 4 Rhode Island (30-25), 7 p.m.
No. 2 UNC Wilmington (39-17) vs. No. 3 Duke (33-22), 1 p.m.
No. 1 Clemson (42-18) vs. No. 4 Western Carolina (30-29), 7 p.m.
No. 3 Nebraska (37-20) vs. No. 2 Oklahoma (36-20), noon