May 27, 2013

How Does the NCAA Baseball Tournament Work?

In case you are REALLY new to following college baseball, here's the scoop:

How many teams make the NCAA tournament?

Just as in the much more famous NCAA basketball tournament, 64 teams qualify for the NCAA Division I baseball tournament every season.

How are teams selected for the NCAA tournament?

Teams that win the 28 conference tournaments receive automatic berths in the tournament. The remaining 36 teams are chosen by a committee of college administrators and coaches based on several criteria, including their record, poll rankings, and schedule strength.

What is the format for the tournament?

Each team is sent to one of 16 regional sites throughout the country. The teams are seeded 1 through 4 by the selection committee, with No. 1 facing No. 4 and No. 2 facing No. 3 in the first round. The teams then proceed in a double-elimination bracket.
After that round, the remaining 16 teams are then split into eight super regionals, where two teams will face off in a best-of-three series. The super-regional winners advance to the College World Series.
The eight teams that qualify for the College World Series are separated into two four-team, double-elimination brackets, playing the same format as in the first round. The winners of those tournaments will meet in one best-of-three championship series to determine the champion.

How is the NCAA baseball tournament different from the basketball tournament?
  • It has the same number of teams and the same basic qualification format, but unlike the basketball tournament, the games in the regionals and super regionals are played at on-campus sites, giving the top teams a home-field advantage.
  • Also, the tournament at each level is a double-elimination tournament that determines one champion. So it’s possible that an NCAA championship baseball team can lose up to four games in the tournament, yet still win. The NCAA basketball tournament is a single-elimination tournament. One loss and you’re out.
  • Eight teams qualify for the College World Series, but just four make basketball’s Final Four.

How does a double-elimination tournament work?

A double-elimination tournament is broken into two sets of brackets, generally called the winner’s bracket and the loser’s bracket. Each team begins in the winner’s bracket, but with one loss, goes into a loser’s bracket, where they will have to play their way back.
In a four-team bracket, which is what Division I college baseball uses, the two first-round losing teams will play in an elimination game, with the loser eliminated. The two first-round teams that won will play each other. The loser of that game will then face the winner of the elimination game.
The loser of that game will then have two losses and is eliminated, and the winner reaches the championship against the team that’s already won its first two games.
In college baseball, the championship finals are set up as a possible two games, because it would be unfair to have the winner’s bracket champion eliminated with its first loss. So while the winner’s bracket champion needs to beat the loser’s bracket champion once to win the tournament, the loser’s bracket champion must win twice.

How are the sites for regionals and super regionals selected?
The sites are determined by the selection committee. Generally speaking, the committee will make the No. 1 seed in each regional the host school, although geographic and financial considerations come into play.
When the committee selects teams for the tournament, they also seed the top eight teams (called "national seeds"), and those eight teams – should they advance through the regional round – will be hosts for the super regional round. If one of the top eight seeds are eliminated in the regional round, then the remaining teams in that bracket will bid to host the game to the NCAA. No matter which team is the host, the teams will each be the “home” team in the first two games of the series, with the “home” team in the final game, if needed, is determined by a coin flip.
The College World Series is held in Omaha, Nebraska, each year.

How do teams make the College World Series?
The eight champions of the super-regionals qualify for the College World Series, which is historically held in Omaha, Nebraska in the middle of June each year.

1 comment:

  1. How do they determine the home teams for the initial games?