The NCAA baseball tournament field of 64 is set, with a visit to Omaha, Nebraska, for the School World Collection on the road.
Tennessee was the consensus No. 1 total seed, with a pair of Pac-12 groups, Stanford and Oregon State, rounding out the highest three.
The highest 16 groups host regionals this Friday by means of Monday, with 4 groups at every website competing in a double-elimination format. The 16 regional winners advance to tremendous regionals, that are best-of-three collection hosted by the highest eight remaining groups and will likely be held June 10-13.
The final eight groups left standing transfer on to the School World Collection in Omaha starting June 17. All CWS video games will air on the ESPN household of networks.
We requested ESPN school baseball consultants Chris Burke, Kyle Peterson, Kiley McDaniel, Mike Rooney and Ryan McGee for his or her takeaways from the 64-team bracket, together with the largest shock, the seeded staff with the hardest draw, an unseeded staff that might make some noise, and the matchups and gamers they’re most wanting ahead to.
What was the largest shock from the bracket reveal?
Chris Burke: The most important shock for me was the shade thrown on the ACC with the omission of NC State from the sphere and Notre Dame not being a top-16 seed. NC State was 15 video games over .500, had a successful file within the ACC and was No. 33 in RPI, that are virtually all the time at-large worthy metrics. The snub feels virtually worse for the Combating Irish. Final 12 months they gained the ACC common season by 4 video games and weren’t a top-eight seed; this 12 months they’d an ACC file of 18-12 (together with the match) and have been No. 12 in RPI — and will likely be touring for regionals. That is a tricky capsule to swallow for the ACC.
Kyle Peterson: Cannot argue with any of that. I used to be stunned to see NC State out of the sphere and imagine they should nonetheless be taking part in. And it felt like Notre Dame was a secure host however as an alternative will journey to Statesboro (Georgia Southern). That stunned me as nicely.
Kiley McDaniel: Ole Miss making the sphere over NC State, particularly given the groups’ convention match performances. The Wolfpack made it to the ACC title recreation earlier than falling to North Carolina, whereas the Rebs have been one-and-done.
Mike Rooney: I used to be shocked that Notre Dame didn’t obtain a number bid.
Ryan McGee: I can also’t imagine that NC State did not make the reduce. The Raleigh child in me thinks that the Pack was robbed and the coaches of the ACC have come out and backed me up on that. However the sportswriter in me can not help however relish what’s merely the newest chapter of essentially the most vicious rivalry in all of school sports activities, NCSU vs. NCAA!
What seeded staff has the hardest path to Omaha?
Burke: Florida has the hardest draw of the “large model” hosts. Granted the Gators needed to get scorching late simply to be a number, however they drew a loaded area. The Four-seed in Gainesville, Central Michigan, dominated its convention in making its third straight regional. The three-seed, Liberty, gained a collection in opposition to the Gators earlier within the season, and second-seeded Oklahoma is pink scorching on the heels of its Massive 12 match title. The Gators are taking part in nice, and I nonetheless like their possibilities of advancing, however they may have their arms full.
Peterson: Georgia Southern. However to be truthful, this might have been whoever the No. 16 seed was. The route by means of Knoxville will likely be a tough one.
McDaniel: Virginia Tech has to face the Gonzaga pitching employees in its regional and possibly both Florida or Oklahoma within the tremendous, however Central Michigan, with ace Andrew Taylor, is a sneaky Four-seed in that Gainesville regional.
Rooney: Florida obtained a really powerful draw that features arguably one of the best 2-seed (Oklahoma) and Four-seed (Central Michigan) within the match. That group is also paired with a really deep Blacksburg bracket.
McGee: Oregon State has to outlive a hornet’s nest in Corvallis. San Diego is legit and Vandy is all the time Vandy. However Stanford has an excellent powerful draw at dwelling at Sunken Diamond. I believed UC Santa Barbara may get a regional however as an alternative they’re a Three-seed, and my season-long man crush on Texas State is nicely documented.
What unseeded staff has one of the best probability to make the CWS?
Burke: Take an extended take a look at the Oklahoma Sooners. Skip Johnson’s staff completed the season on hearth, successful collection in opposition to TCU, West Virginia and Texas Tech earlier than rolling by means of the Massive 12 match undefeated. Led by star shortstop Peyton Graham, the Sooners are taking part in with a ton of confidence and may shock some people this June.
Peterson: Arkansas. It feels just like the Razorbacks’ offense has all of the items to click on, they only have not persistently accomplished it but. If that occurs, Arkansas may discover its approach again to Omaha.
McDaniel: Oklahoma. The Sooners have veteran, pro-level depth on the mound with Jake Bennett, David Sandlin and Cade Horton, together with two legit professional prospects within the lineup in Peyton Graham and Jimmy Crooks, and all 5 are draft eligible. There’s strong depth on this staff they usually’re taking part in nicely; I would not wish to face them. If they will get out of a tough Gainesville regional, look out.
Rooney: The Gonzaga rotation matches up with practically everybody within the nation. The Zags may pitch their approach to Omaha.
McGee: There are such a lot of groups simply outdoors of the highest seeds who’re legit good if not nice. I like Arkansas and UCLA, however control Gonzaga, making its fourth NCAA look since 2016. They go to Virginia Tech, which has had a tremendous 12 months, however that is the primary tourney for the Hokies in practically a decade. “Been there, accomplished that” issues in June.
What regionals matchups are you most enthusiastic about?
Burke: I am guessing the Knoxville Regional will likely be as a lot enjoyable as any lately. Three of the nation’s prime 10 groups in dwelling runs (Tennessee, Campbell, Georgia Tech) will likely be taking part in in a park that’s as dwelling run pleasant as any in school baseball. Should you’re on the lookout for fireworks, make a journey to Rocky Prime.
SEC Now analysts Chris Burke and David Dellucci agree that top-seeded Tennessee should escape its bats to win the NCAA Knoxville Regional.
Peterson: I feel Florida has as powerful a regional draw as anybody. Oklahoma would have been a worthy host, Liberty has already gained a collection in Gainesville this 12 months and Central Michigan is the one No. Four seed with 40 wins.
McDaniel: Oklahoma vs. Florida. Each groups are deep with professional prospects who can take over a recreation, each within the lineup and on the mound.
Rooney: UC Santa Barbara and Texas State, who will sq. off within the Stanford regional, put collectively dominant seasons and gained their leagues decisively.
McGee: There are so many superb pairings, and most of that has to do with the regionals being actually regional. The Hogs in Stillwater! LSU at Southern Miss! However Jim Schlossnagle coached at TCU for 18 years and led the Horned Frogs to Omaha 5 occasions … and now his first postseason at Texas A&M and he is internet hosting … TCU?! Come on, y’all!
What participant are you most excited to see this weekend?
Burke: I picked Stanford’s Brock Jones as my preseason participant of the 12 months, and whereas his common season did not fairly stay as much as my expectations, he has caught hearth of late, ending the 12 months with 18 dwelling runs after a really sluggish begin. Do not be stunned if Jones decides to place the Cardinal on his again on their approach to one other journey to Omaha. Final 12 months the Stanford offense was explosive within the first two rounds, and one thing tells me they’re about to have a repeat efficiency and that Brock Jones would be the catalyst.
Peterson: Ivan Melendez of Texas. He leads the nation in dwelling runs and has turn into one of the full hitters within the school recreation. Will probably be a lot heat in Austin, which has led to it being a really offensive ballpark.
McDaniel: Assuming the pitching schedules line up, I am wanting ahead to Cooper Hjerpe (Oregon State) dealing with the Vanderbilt lineup; Virginia’s Jake Gelof and Nate Savino in opposition to Coastal Carolina’s Eric Brown and Michael Knorr, and Georgia’s Jonathan Cannon in opposition to VCU’s Tyler Locklear.
Rooney: Vance Honeycutt of North Carolina. He is a 20-20 participant as a real freshman.
McGee: Final weekend I used to be on the Indy 500 and watched them run 240 mph within the first flip. On Monday I simply noticed the brand new Prime Gun film and watched Maverick fly Mach 10. This weekend I’ll watch Ben Joyce, aka the Volunteer Fireman, throw 105 mph pitches for Tennessee.
Which eight groups will make it to Omaha?
McDaniel: Tennessee (additionally my decide to win all of it as a result of the Vols are one of the best school staff I’ve ever seen), Stanford, Oregon State, Miami, Oklahoma State, Texas, Oregon, Oklahoma
Rooney: Tennessee, Stanford, Oregon State, Miami, Oklahoma State, East Carolina, Louisville, Gonzaga
McGee: Tennessee, Stanford, Texas A&M, Texas, North Carolina, Arizona, UCLA, Gonzaga