NCAA regionals: Which teams are safe, on edge?

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The NCAA Division I men’s regional field is set, and the six 54-hole tournaments will be held May 15-17 at various sites around the country.

The low five teams and the low individual on a non-qualifying team will advance to the 30-team NCAA Championship, which begins May 23 at Prairie Dunes in Hutchinson, Kan.

Here is a breakdown of each regional:

AUBURN REGIONAL: Auburn (Ala.) University Club

Top seed: Alabama

Should advance: Alabama, Auburn

Cut-line contenders: Virginia Tech, Texas, New Mexico, BYU, Kennesaw State, Colorado, Louisville 

Need magical week: UNC-Greensboro, UC-Davis, Sam Houston State, St. John’s, Alabama State

Skinny: Twelve of the 14 teams are probably dreading this regional. Alabama, the top-ranked team in the country, is a virtual lock to move on, and you’d think No. 23 Auburn falls in a similar category, playing on its home course. That leaves 12 teams playing for three spots. Brutal.


MISSOURI REGIONAL: The Club at Old Hawthorne

Top seed: Oklahoma State

Should advance: Oklahoma State, Virginia

Cut-line contenders: LSU, Arkansas, Arizona State, Iowa, San Diego State, Missouri, Iowa State

Need magical week: Middle Tennessee State, Ohio State, Denver, Loyola, Bryant

Skinny: There isn’t much separation among the teams in the cut-line contender category. LSU is the most likely of the group to move on, and watch out for Arizona State, the 2013 surprise team that crashed the party at the NCAA finals.


N.C. STATE REGIONAL: Lonnie Poole Golf Club

Top seed: Georgia Tech

Should advance: Georgia Tech, Washington, Florida State

Cut-line contenders: Texas A&M, Mercer, Kentucky, Texas Tech, Wake Forest, South Alabama, Memphis, Minnesota 

Need magical week: Rice, Bethune-Cookman

Skinny: The four top-20 teams in this regional are tied for the most among the six sites, and there are five teams in the top 30. That’s a tough draw for Georgia Tech and second-seeded Washington, which has to fly across the country, and it wouldn’t be a surprise at all to see a team like Wake Forest, ranked 44th, steal one of the five available spots. Watch out, too, for Coastal Carolina’s J.T. Poston, competing as an individual. He’s the 13th-ranked player in the country, and he’ll have a good chance to be the low individual continuing on to Kansas.   


ILLINOIS REGIONAL: Rich Harvest Farms

Top seed: California 

Should advance: California, Illinois

Cut-line contenders: USC, UAB, UNLV, Clemson, Kent State, Purdue, Mississippi State

Need magical week: Cal State-Fullerton, New Mexico State, Jacksonville State, Cleveland State, Saint Peter’s

Skinny: Cal has to travel halfway across the country, despite being the top seed in this regional. With such a weak field, it should matter little. Of course there is a huge advantage here for Illinois, last year’s NCAA finalists, and look for teams such as Kent State and Purdue to play well so close to home.


OREGON REGIONAL: Eugene (Ore.) Country Club

Top seed: Stanford

Should advance: Stanford, Houston

Cut-line contenders: Oklahoma, South Carolina, Baylor, Liberty, Oregon, Tennessee, North Florida, East Tennessee State, North Florida

Need magical week: Chattanooga, Wichita State, Northern Colorado

Skinny: This is a difficult regional to predict, except, of course, for Stanford, arguably the hottest team in the country heading into the postseason. Only three of the 13 teams are playing anywhere close to home, but that group includes seventh-seeded Oregon, which is playing its home track. That’s a huge advantage for Casey Martin’s bunch, and, who knows, it could squeeze out one of the contender teams such as South Carolina, Baylor or Liberty.


SAN ANTONIO REGIONAL: Briggs Ranch Golf Club

Top seed: Georgia

Should advance: Georgia, UCF, UCLA 

Cut-line contenders: SMU, Vanderbilt, South Florida, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, TCU, Northwestern

Need magical week: College of Charleston, VCU, Columbia

Skinny: Four top-20 teams are teeing it up in Texas, including a pair of top-10 squads in Georgia and UCF. Those two teams should be safe, and UCLA, barring an early disaster, likely will move on, too. Vanderbilt was one of the year’s nice stories, but during regionals the team could be without one of its best players, Matthias Schwab, as he is dealing with a back injury.