Getting to Know the NCAA Baseball Tournament


The Oregon Ducks will be hosting their first regional this weekend at PK Park. Along with grabbing one of the top eight national seeds, they will also have the opportunity to host college baseball tournament games up until the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. For those that are unfamiliar with the tournament set-up, here’s a quick overview of what everything means.

General Notes

  • Similar to the NCAA Basketball Tournament, a committee creates a 64-team field that is filled with automatic qualifiers in a large Division I pool and a huge selection of at-large teams.
  • This is the only official tournament, unlike basketball that has the NIT, CBI, CIT, etc.
  • Throughout the entire tournament, it is double elimination through four rounds. If a team loses twice in any of the rounds, their season is over. If they pass one of the levels, that game they lost is erased.
  • Rounds of play: Regional, Super Regional, College World Series, National Championship Series

Round 1: Regionals

  • The top 16 teams that are in the tournament host a four-team double-elimination playoff. Every team has a seed from #1 to #4.
  • The top eight overall teams are considered national seeds. This number is separate from the seed they are given in their regional.
  • Play is set up in a span of three to four days. On the first day (Friday), the second and third seed play each other, then the host team plays the fourth seed.
  • The losing teams from the first day play an elimination game the next day (let’s call it Game 3), then the winners play (Game 4).
  • On the third day, the winner of Game 3 and the loser of Game 4 play each other (Game 5), and the loser is eliminated. The Game 5 winner then plays the Game 4 winner (Game 6).
  • If the Game 4 winner wins Game 6, the regional is over. If the Game 5 winner wins Game 6, this forces a Game 7 played the next day that is simply a rematch of Game 6.

You can view Oregon’s schedule right here for an example of what the whole normal schedule would be like.

Round 2: Super Regionals

  • All 16 winners of the regionals will match up in this round. Teams are not reseeded. Regional winner matchups are predetermined.
  • For example, this bracket shows the regionals paired together in a bracket. The winner of the Gainsville regional will play the winner of the Raleigh regional, and so on.
  • Both teams will play a best-of-three series that will be played at the school that is a higher overall seed. Thus, the eight national seeds are guaranteed to host.
  • All games are played on consecutive days.
  • NOTE: Some schools are hard-pressed to host a super regional, and can change venues. Last year, California hosted their super regional in Santa Clara against Dallas Baptist.

Round 3: College World Series

  • The eight winners of the last round play in two separate four-team double-elimination playoffs, similar to the regional round. All games take place at Omaha, Nebraska.
  • Seeds are based off of the eight national seeds. For example, even if Sacred Heart won that super regional, they would “represent” the one seed and play the eighth-ranked national seed, or whoever represents that seed (in this case, it would be South Carolina if they did win their super regional).
  • Therefore, #1 would play #8 and #4 would play #5 in “Bracket A,” then #2 would play #7 and #3 would play #6 in “Bracket B.”

Round 4: National Championship Series

  • The winner of “Bracket A” and “Bracket B” play in a best-of-three at Omaha, Nebraska.
  • Like the super regional round, all games are played in consecutive days, and at night.

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