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Just like the other major college sports, there is a carrot at the end of the stick for NCAA Division I baseball teams. The national champion is crowned at the end-of-season eight-team College World Series, which takes place in June at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska. The baseball schedule is grueling, typically consisting of around 50 games. Toss in conference tournaments, NCAA Tournament regionals and super regionals, then the CWS and the number of games climbs higher. The 2023 national champion LSU Tigers won 54 of their 71 games, but they were denied a chance at a repeat when they fell to North Carolina in the final of the Chapel Hill Regional.

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A total of 64 teams qualify for the NCAA postseason baseball tournament, including conference champions and at-large teams. The field is whittled down to eight teams through Regionals and Super Regionals that take place in the weekends preceding the CWS. The 2024 NCAA Baseball Championship concludes with the Men’s College World Series, which starts on June 14 and runs through June 24 at the latest. All of the action from the first pitch of the tournament through the last game of the College World Series can be found on the ESPN family of networks.

2024 College World Series

Though baseball isn’t as popular at the betting window as college football and college basketball, things tend to pick up when the postseason tournament gets started. And wagering hits a fever pitch once the eight-team field for the College World Series is set. National championship odds surfaced with Texas AM the betting favorite and one of four SEC squads in the CWS. The other four all hail from the ACC.

The 2024 College World Series will take place from June 14-24 at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska. There will be a total of eight teams competing in two double-elimination brackets with the bracket winners meeting for the college baseball national championship in a best-of-three series. The eight teams competing in the 2024 CWS are: Texas AM, Tennessee, Kentucky, Noth Carolina, Florida State, Virginia, Florida and NC State.

Tennessee closed the regular season as the No. 1 ranked team in the country earning the No. 1 national seed in the postseason tournament. They got a scare from Evansville in the Super Regional winning a decisive Game 3 handily to reach the CWS for the second straight year and seventh time overall.

Kentucky is the only first-time CWS participant among the eight teams, and the Wildcats have as many national championships as five of the squads. Only Florida and Virginia have claimed a national title winning once each. The Gators won it in 2017 with the Cavs prevailing two years earlier. Perched at the top of the rankings for several weeks during the middle of the season, Texas AM enters as the betting favorite to win its first national championship.

2024 College World Series Schedule

Friday, June 14 - Bracket 1

Game 1: North Carolina vs. Virginia

Game 2: Tennessee vs. Florida State

Saturday, June 15 - Bracket 2

Game 3: Kentucky vs. NC State

Game 4: Texas AM vs. Florida

Sunday, June 16 - Bracket 1

Game 5: Loser G1 vs. Loser G2

Game 6: Winner G1 vs. Winner G2

Monday, June 17 - Bracket 2

Game 7: Loser G3 vs. Loser G4

Game 8: Winner G3 vs. Winner G4

Tuesday, June 18

Game 9: Winner G5 vs. Loser G6

Game 10: Winner G7 vs. Loser G8

Wednesday, June 19

Game 11: Winner G6 vs. Winner G9

Game 12: Winner G8 vs. Winner G10

Thursday, June 20

Game 13: Winner G11 vs. Loser G11 (if first loss)

Game 14: Winner G12 vs. Loser G12 (if first loss)

College World Series Finals

Game 1: Saturday, June 22

Game 2: Sunday, June 23

Game 3: Monday, June 24 (if necessary)

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NCAA Baseball Tournament Format

Just like the NCAA basketball tournament, there are automatic qualifiers for all conference champions. But unlike the NCAA Tournament, a college baseball team's season ends after two losses, not just one. On the eve of the selection of the brackets for the NCAA Baseball Tournament, the selection committee releases the top 16 seeds. Those 16 teams host a four-team regional. Teams are seeded 1 through 4 in each mini-bracket, with No. 1 playing No. 4 in one game and No. 2 playing No. 3 in the other. The two winners face off in the second round of games, while the two losers meet in an elimination game on the same day.

From there, the two teams with one-loss meet in a second elimination game, while the 2-0 team can rest. Whichever team emerges from the losers bracket will have to win two games against the unbeaten club to advance. From there, the 16 regional format winners face off in a Super Regional. The teams are bracketed together just like in basketball, so you could easily see a pair of 4-seeds facing off for the right to go to the College World Series. The Super Regionals are a best-of-three series with the winner advancing to the CWS. In the College World Series, teams are split into two brackets of four, and the whole process begins again. The survivors of the two brackets play against each other in a best-of-three series to determine the National Champion.

Oregon State became the ninth school to win at least three national championships by downing Arkansas in three games in the 2018 CWS. The Beavers rallied from the losers bracket to advance to the final, where they again overcame a loss to win the next two games. The Beavers also won back-to-back titles in 2006 and 2007.

Back in the 1960s and 1970s, USC was the dominant program. There were fewer teams at that point, thus it shouldn't be surprising that a national powerhouse was able to stay on top for a long period of time. The Trojans won nine titles during those two decades, including a run of five straight from 1970-1974. USC’s 12 NCAA Tournament championships are five more than LSU, which last year broke a tie with Texas for the second-most DI baseball titles.

LSU has been the team of the 1990s and beyond. The Tigers made the first of their 19 CWS appearances in 1986 with all seven of their championships coming since 1991. They matched Oregon State for the most titles this century winning their third last year. That win moved LSU ahead of Texas for the second-most titles, though the Longhorns have appeared in the CWS a record 38 times, which is 13 more than Miami.

Florida State once again has an opportunity to end its ignominious streak of now 24 appearances without a national championship, though they’ve finished as runner-up three times. The 2024 CWS marks their 17th trip to Omaha since the 2000 season.

NCAA Baseball Tournament Champions (2000)

2023 LSU Florida
2022 Mississippi Oklahoma
2021 Mississippi State Vanderbilt
2020 Tournament Cancelled
2019 Vanderbilt Michigan
2018 Oregon State Arkansas
2017 Florida LSU
2016 Coastal Carolina Arizona
2015 Virginia Vanderbilt
2014 Vanderbilt Virginia
2013 UCLA Mississippi State
2012 Arizona South Carolina
2011 South Carolina Florida
2010 South Carolina UCLA
2009 LSU Texas
2008 Fresno State Georgia
2007 Oregon State North Carolina
2006 Oregon State North Carolina
2005 Texas Florida
2004 Cal State Fullerton Texas
2003 Rice Stanford
2002 Texas South Carolina
2001 Miami Stanford
2000 LSU Stanford

Coastal Carolina is one of the most improbable champions in the history of the NCAA Baseball Tournament. The Chanticleers were the 2-seed in the Raleigh Regional in 2016, winning two of three games against NC State before sweeping LSU in the Super Regional. Playing in their first ever College World Series, the Chants started off by upsetting top-seed Florida before rolling into the final. Coastal Carolina finished the job by winning Games 2 and 3 over the Wildcats after getting shutout in Game 1, thus completing one of the great accomplishments in the history of college baseball.

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