Everything you need to know about the Men's College World Series

June 14, 2024
The pinnacle of the college baseball season begins today. Here's what you need to know about the last national championship of the 2023–24 school year.
Everything you need to know about the Men's College World Series
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⚾ How it works

How we got here: The road to Omaha, NE, began on May 31st when the first round’s four-team, double-elimination brackets served up more upsets than any weekend of Regionals this century. In four days, the initial 64-team field shrank to 16 squads — and that was just the beginning of the chaos.

What’s next: Like softball, the MCWS features two four-team, double-elimination brackets, which means two losses, and you’re out. The two survivors at the end of the week will then face off in the best-of-three Finals beginning June 22nd. It’s a BFD, so all but one of this weekend’s games will air on ESPN (Sunday’s 7 p.m. ET game will be on ESPN2).

  • Despite the parity in the Regional round, only teams from the country’s toughest Power Five conferences — the SEC and ACC — reached Omaha. But since just two of ’em have ever won a title (Florida and Virginia, with one trophy each), there’s a 75% chance of a first-time champ. Exciting.

The Bracket 1 dogfight begins today with No. 4–seed UNC vs. No. 12 Virginia at 2 p.m. ET and No. 1 Tennessee vs. No. 8 Florida State at 7 p.m. ET. Bracket 2 action starts swinging at the same times tomorrow.

🔝 The favorites

Everything you need to know about the Men's College World Series
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No. 1 Tennessee Volunteers: It’s clear why the Vols, who boast college baseball’s best record, won the cutthroat SEC: They’re the total package, leading the nation in runs and hurling the country’s third-best ERA. With second baseman Christian Moore, Tennessee’s single-season and career home run king, leading the way, it seems like nothing can stop them…except maybe a 24-year old curse.

No. 2 Kentucky Wildcats: The Wildcats are making their MCWS debut behind one of the nation’s toughest defenses: In their last four postseason games, they’ve allowed only three runs. Expect Big Blue Nation’s devoted fanbase to bring an atmosphere bordering on home-field advantage to Omaha.

No. 3 Texas A&M Aggies: The Aggies’ bullpen racked up a league-leading 11 shutouts this season, but it was their hot bats that sent them to the MCWS. Down early in Game 2 of their Super Regional against Oregon, A&M staged a jaw-dropping nine-run (!!!) comeback in the seventh inning, ultimately defeating the Ducks 15–9. What’s that about things being bigger in Texas?

No. 4 UNC Tar Heels: The thrill-seeking DiamondHeels proved they’re up for any challenge after they (barely) outlasted defending national champ LSU in the Regional round. Look for outfielder Vance Honeycutt, who blasted 26 HRs this year (a program record), to lead the way — and not just in the contest for the most baseball-guy name and haircut ever.

🐕 The underdogs

Everything you need to know about the Men's College World Series
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No. 8 Florida State Seminoles: This team scoring machine crushed Super Regional opponent UConn 24–4 and 10–8, with the latter matchup featuring three homers by ACC Player of the Year James Tibbs III. The ’Noles have never won the natty despite the program’s whopping 23 previous trips to Omaha…can papa bear head coach Link Jarrett make 24 Tallahassee’s lucky number?

No. 10 NC State Wolfpack: One of just two teams who beat higher-seeded Super Regional opponents to advance, the Pack did it by sending Golden Spikes finalist Charlie Condon and his Georgia Bulldogs, ahem, packing in last weekend’s wild showdown. The player to watch in NC State’s epic postseason push? Third baseman Alec Makarewicz, a menace at the plate.

No. 12 Virginia Cavaliers: A pair of one-run heartbreakers edged the ’Hoos out of last year’s MCWS, fueling their fire to return. Hot bats that have powered them through the tournament without a hitch…so far. But they’ll face their toughest opponents yet in Omaha, starting with ACC rival UNC, whom they took a series from in early April.

Florida Gators: Flomaha. The Cardiac Kids. Chaos Central. Whatever you call ’em, the Gators are this tournament’s most unpredictable, exciting team. Since falling to LSU in last year’s MCWS Championship Series, they’ve been on a roller coaster…but right now, that ride is going up, up, up. Their brand of anarchy is one hell of a drug, and absolutely no one is safe.