Stephen Francis covers TCU baseball (and other TCU sports) for TCU Horned Frogs Examiner.com, and he has been providing Collegebaseball360.com with looks at the Horned Frogs this season. In his latest report Francis provides a “basic” look at the format of the NCAA tournament-with a bit of a TCU twist.
Most Major League Baseball fans a
re familiar with the term “pennant race.” It’s the time of year when the 30 teams that make up baseball’s highest level of competitive play in the U. S. make their final run at a playoff berth. It usually starts in September when rosters expand from 25 to 40 and teams typically have between 25-30 games to go before the playoffs begin. For college baseball teams, that time is now.
The TCU Horned Frogs (and a hundred or so other teams) find themselves right in the middle of the NCAA version of a pennant race. With roughly 20 games remaining, this is the final opportunity for TCU to make their plea as to why they deserve a shot in the college baseball postseason and why they deserve a shot at having home field advantage.
Who makes it in
Just like the NCAA basketball tournament, 64 teams will participate in baseball’s tournament. Just like the other b-ball, teams winning their respective conference championships will receive “automatic bids” while the rest are divided up between “at large” teams. With 32 conferences currently participating in Division I NCAA Baseball, it means half the field will receive automatic qualification while the other half have to hope their regular season record and ranking will carry them in. However, that’s where the similarities end.
Unlike it’s counterpart, the baseball tournament consists of four rounds of “double-elimination” play. Since wins and losses reset at the end of each round of the tournament, this means a team could lose four times throughout the competition and still win the championship.
The Frogs have made six consecutive postseason appearances and seven total in school history. Their first postseason appearance came in 1994 when the Horned Frogs qualified for the Midwest Regional, which took place in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
The tournament field is broken into sixteen “regions,” which each host a “Regional” round of the tournament. Those sixteen teams are made up a combination of the eight highest-ranking teams (referred to as “national seeds”) and then eight other teams traditionally consist of teams that can promise a certain amount of fan attendance and revenue. Each Regional is made up of four teams competing in a double-elimination tournament. The sixteen winners of the Regionals move onto the Super Regionals.
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