NCAA College Baseball Bracket Predictions If the Season Ended Today

NCAA College Baseball Bracket Predictions If the Season Ended Today

Here's a look at how the 2024 NCAA College Baseball Bracket would look if the season ended today.

Apr 3, 2024 by Briar Napier

It’s never too early to look ahead.

We are officially less than two months away from the beginning of the NCAA baseball tournament Regional rounds on May 31, and though there is plenty of time for teams to boost their resumes and get the jobs they need to get done in their leagues, well, done, crunch time is rapidly approaching.

Most teams around the country have played around 25 games, give or take a few, leaving behind a solid sample size to judge season trajectories, habits, and tendencies. It also gives a potential look inside at future outlooks and which teams are for real and fading away fast.

Here’s a peek into the landscape of college baseball and where postseason outlooks lie heading into April — and some of the most important weeks of the season — with automatic bid favorites (and at-large considerations) if the college baseball season ended today:

How The NCAA Baseball Tournament Field is Selected

Featuring a 64-team field, teams participating in the NCAA baseball tournament are decided by a similar process to the NCAA’s basketball tournaments, minus the initial play-in games seen yearly on the hardwood due to its four extra teams. 

All 30 Division I conference tournament champions earn an automatic ticket (with the exception of the Big West Conference, which awards its automatic berth to its regular-season champ) to the first stage of the NCAA tournament, the Regional round, with the other 34 spots consisting of at-large selections awarded by the tournament’s selection committee. 

Major Conference Predictions:


Automatic: Arkansas

In the hunt: Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Texas A&M, Alabama, Kentucky, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, LSU

Other at-large contenders: Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Auburn

The gold standard of college baseball leagues, it’s not a typo that 13 of a possible 14 Southeastern Conference teams have potential routes to the Regional round, whether that’s by pulling off the brutal feat of winning the SEC Tournament or by beefing up their resumes for an at-large bid by beating up on their many elite league foes throughout the season.

As of Sunday, Arkansas (23-3) — ranked No. 1 in the most recent D1Baseball Top 25 poll — is flying most high in the conference, pulling off a statement sweep of defending national champion LSU in Fayetteville this past weekend. But considering that the Hogs are one of nine (yes, nine) teams in the SEC that already have 20 wins under their belt, it’s not exactly as if their spot at the top right now is without stiff competition. 


Automatic: Clemson

In the hunt: North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Virginia, Duke, Florida State

Other at-large contenders: NC State, Wake Forest, Boston College, Miami, Notre Dame

Clemson hasn’t made the College World Series since 2010, but the Tigers have emerged as not only threats to make it back to Omaha for the first time in 14 years, but also threats to win a national championship for the first time in program history. Standing at 24-3 as the No. 1-ranked team in RPI with the fourth-strongest schedule in the country (per D1Baseball), Clemson leads a loaded Atlantic Coast Conference at the moment featuring six 20-win teams and plenty of danger throughout its ranks.

Virginia (.352 batting average, second nationally), North Carolina (20-0 home record) and Duke (3.48 ERA, sixth nationally) are just a few of the major threats that loom across the league this year, and that’s not even including Wake Forest, last season’s ACC regular-season champion and No. 1 overall national seed in the NCAA tournament.

Big 12

Automatic: Oklahoma

In the hunt: UCF, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, TCU

Other at-large contenders: Texas, Texas Tech, Kansas

In its final season in the Big 12 before bolting for the SEC, the Sooners could be in the early stages of one last dash to their first regular-season conference championship since the days of the Big Eight in 1995.

OU’s (15-12) slower start can be heavily attributed to the fact it’s played the toughest schedule in the entire country (per D1Baseball), with over half (eight) of its victories coming against teams currently ranked in the RPI Top 25. The Sooners have largely rolled to start league play, however, sweeping a stingy UCF squad to start things off in early March before doing the same the next weekend to reigning College World Series qualifier TCU in Fort Worth. 


Automatic: Oregon State

In the hunt: Oregon, Utah

Other at-large contenders: Cal, Arizona

The Pac-12’s grand finale before the mass exodus of 10 of its members later on this year could see Oregon State — one of the two schools that will be left standing in the league during the next academic year — close the show on Pac-12 baseball’s current era with a national championship.

The No. 2-ranked team in the most recent D1Baseball Top 25 is the class of the Pac-12 with one of the most exciting players in all of college baseball, Travis Bazzana, as the Beavers (21-4) will be heavily favored to take their first league title since 2017. Oregon and Utah look early on like the Pac-12’s strongest other at-large picks, meanwhile, with the Ducks winning a strong 4 out of 6 combined against Cal and Arizona early on in league play. 

Big Ten

Automatic: Nebraska

In the hunt: Maryland, Rutgers

Other at-large contender: Ohio State

The Huskers (20-5) are the cream of the crop in the Big Ten right now, being ranked No. 12 in RPI and having already hit the 20 wins mark. A sweep over Northwestern marked a perfect start to conference play in the meantime, too, as coach Will Bolt will be aiming to get Nebraska back to the Regional round for the first time since 2021.

The next few weeks will be big for the Huskers in terms of telling more on if they’re legit threats at making a potential Super Regional-or-deeper run. Two nonconference games against both in-state rival and BIG EAST leader Creighton and old Big 12 foe Kansas, plus Big Ten series against hard-charging Maryland, Rutgers and Ohio State to boot, will test Nebraska’s mettle all throughout April.

Other Potential Multi-Bid Leagues

Sun Belt

Automatic: Louisiana

In the hunt: Coastal Carolina, James Madison, Southern Miss, Georgia Southern, Georgia State

When it comes to college baseball, the Sun Belt Conference is a mid-major league in name only. Only the SEC, ACC, Big 12 and Pac-12 had more bids than the Sun Belt in last season’s NCAA tournament, and the white-hot Ragin’ Cajuns at Louisiana (20-8) are looking like the favorites to be the league’s torch-bearers as they hold an 11-game winning streak as of this writing with an 8-1 start to Sun Belt play.

The always-dangerous former national champion, Coastal Carolina, is the defending Sun Belt regular-season champ and looms close behind Louisiana at 21-6 overall and 6-3 in the conference. But in between the Ragin’ Cajuns and the Chanticleers is current second-placed squad Georgia State, which is off to a bit of a surprising 7-2 start to conference play after being projected to finish 11th in the league’s preseason poll.


Automatic: Creighton

In the hunt: Georgetown, St. John’s, Xavier, UConn

When one leader slips, another arrives in its place. Preseason favorite UConn is 9-15 overall, approaching its loss totals from the entirety of the 2022 (16) and 2023 (17) seasons, but conference play is still to go for the Huskies and they do hold strong wins over ranked opposition (Auburn and UC Irvine) thus far.

Enter Creighton, with the Bluejays (20-4) rocketing out of the gates in against nonconference opponents to start the year, as the potential new favorite to take their first BIG EAST title since 2019, but no games against RPI Top 25 competition means they are yet to be proven against the types of teams they could see in the postseason. The true feel-good story for neutrals, however, would be if Georgetown earned the BIG EAST’s automatic bid, which would mean the Hoyas would be playing in a Regional for the first time in their 154-year history if it happened.


Automatic: Northeastern

In the hunt: Campbell, UNC Wilmington

Campbell’s much-ballyhooed arrival in the Coastal Athletic Association bolstered what was already one of the strongest mid-major leagues in the country, a point proven by the fact that Northeastern (which earned an at-large selection to last season’s NCAA tournament after losing in the CAA Championship final to UNC Wilmington) hasn’t really been knocked off of its perch as the team to beat in the conference yet.

The Fighting Camels, ranked in national polls this season, hold ranked wins over UC Santa Barbara and East Carolina so far, but are just 3-3 to start life in the CAA to date. Meanwhile, the defending tournament champ Seahawks have romped to a 6-0 start to league play with sweeps over Elon and North Carolina A&T, proving that the already-established names in the CAA aren’t ready to simply let Campbell (which won three straight Big South Conference titles before its move to the CAA) romp all over them.


Automatic: East Carolina

In the hunt: Wichita State, UTSA

The American was a two-bid league last season, due to perennially-strong East Carolina being shocked in the league tournament final by Tulane, the bracket’s No. 7 seed who finished 19-42 overall on the season in 2023. It could be a two-bid league again, only this time even without the help of Cinderella hijinks in the postseason.

ECU (20-6) is unsurprisingly gunning for another Regional appearance with the highlight of the season thus far being a nonconference series win over North Carolina. But Wichita State and UTSA are each off to 5-1 starts against American foes, with the Roadrunners in particular already getting a series win off on the Pirates last month. The Shockers could’ve used some extra wins against the national elites (1-3 against RPI Top 25) to help boost its at-large stock, but ending ECU’s four-season reign as American champion would be a big statement in its own right, too.

Big West

Automatic: UC Irvine

In the hunt: UC Santa Barbara

Due to the unique nature of the Big West (which is in its last year of giving out its automatic bid to its regular-season champ prior to restarting a conference tournament in 2025), consistent regular-season play is more valued than simply getting hot at the right time, and UC Irvine is taking care of business early on.

The Anteaters (22-3, 8-1 Big West) are No. 21 in RPI as of Sunday night — one of the highest RPI rankings for a mid-major program in the country — and hold a seven-game winning streak going into its conference series this weekend against the Gauchos (15-8, 4-2), who have been ranked in national polls this season. That series may very well double as a de-facto league title decider, too.

Likely One-Bid Leagues:

ASUN: Stetson

The Hatters have been terrific to start the year as they lead the league entering the week, but Kennesaw State — analytic-friendly with three wins over RPI Top 25 teams — could barge in and make things interesting later on in the conference slate.

America East: Bryant

Atlantic 10: Saint Louis

Big South: South Carolina Upstate

Conference USA: Dallas Baptist

Horizon: Northern Kentucky

Ivy: Penn

Metro Atlantic: Fairfield

Mid-American: Bowling Green

Missouri Valley: Indiana State

Though the MVC is a good league with plenty of solid squads like Murray State, Illinois-Chicago and others, no one in the conference has proven worthy of challenging the Sycamores yet a year after they earned a national seed and made it to the Super Regionals.

Mountain West: Fresno State

Northeast: Sacred Heart

Ohio Valley: Southeast Missouri State

Patriot: Army

Southern: Wofford

Southland: Lamar

Southwestern Athletic: Bethune-Cookman

Summit: North Dakota State

If you’re wondering about the whereabouts of Oral Roberts — a 52-game winner and qualifier for the College World Series a season ago — it’s because the Golden Eagles have been languishing at the bottom of the league with a 2-7 conference record as of this writing. For now, we’ll go with the Bison, who were picked second in the preseason poll behind ORU, to return to a Regional after three years away.

Western Athletic: Grand Canyon

West Coast: Portland

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