LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) -- For only the second time in the last eight seasons, Louisville's baseball team won't enjoy the homefield advantage in the NCAA baseball tournament next month. UofL was not chosen as one of the 20 predetermined regional host sites for the tourney when they were announced by the NCAA Friday.
The No. 11/15 Cardinals (26-15, 16-10 ACC), who are considered a lock to make the 64-team field when the bracket and pairings are revealed at noon on May 31 on ESPN2, have hosted eight regionals -- 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019 (no tournament was held in 2020). They have also hosted six super regionals.
Unlike years past, the regional sites were chosen prior to the end of conference championships due to health and safety protocols for the coronavirus. Normally, regonals are awarded to each of the top 16 seeds and then the highest surviving seeds host super regionals.
Of the 20 selected sites, the Division 1 Baseball Committee will choose 16 to host regionals, then eight of those 16 will host super regionals.
Louisville and Florida State are the only teams ranked in D1Baseball's current Top 20 that were not named as a predetermined host. Those spots instead went to Gonzaga and South Carolina, who are rankled No. 22 and No. 25, respectively. However, while UofL is ranked higher than those two, its RPI is only 49th and its strength of schedule is 75th. Two ACC teams, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh, were included as potential sites.
“Certainly, this has been a unique season, but the committee is very appreciative of all of the schools that submitted bids to host," committee chair and Stetson AD Jeff Altier said. "We received a number of quality bids from schools around the country that were interested in being a part of this championship, including a few potential first-time hosts."
Based on recent guidance from the NCAA COVID-19 Medical Advisory Group, the NCAA will allow up to 50 percent fan capacity at the pre-dertmined sites. Exact capacity percentages will vary by site, depending on state and local health mandates.
The designation of predetermined sites will have no bearing on the teams selected to participate or for seeding. The tournament field will consist of 30 conference automatic qualifieers and 34 at-large qualifiers.
All games will be broadcast on ESPN's family of networks. Regionals will be played June 4-7 and super regionals June 11-14, culminating on June 19-29/30 with the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska.
With Louisville failing to be named a regional site, the Cardinals' last appearance of the season in Jim Patterson Stadium will be May 20-22 against Miami (27-15, 15-14). The ACC Tournament will be played May 25-30 at Truist Field in Charlotte, N.C.
This weekend the Cards are in Chapel Hill, N.C., for a three-game series with North Carolina (21-22, 14-16).
The 20 potential hosts sites are: Arizona, Arkansas, Charlotte, East Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana Tech, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, Oregon, Pittsburgh, South Carolina, Southern Miss, Stanford, TCU, Tennessee, Texas, Texas Tech, Vanderbilt.
Russ Brown, a former sportswriter for The Courier-Journal and USA Today, covers University of Louisville sports and college football and basketball for Kentucky Today. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.