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2024 CWS Coverage – Field of 64 and Regional Preview


Its College Baseball post-season time, something we’ve followed in this space for years. Here’s a quick guide to the CWS 2024 post season. The field of 64 was announced on Memorial Day Weekend at Noon, so here’s a preview of this coming weekend’s 16 regional events.

First off, some resources for you.

Your top 8 seeds and favorites to make Omaha, in order, along with their RPI and their Strength of Schedule (SoS) denoted:

  1. Tennessee: #1 RPI, #23 SoS
  2. Kentucky: #3 RPI, #6 SoS
  3. Texas A&M: #2 RPI, #13 SoS
  4. North Carolina: #4 RPI, #15 SoS
  5. Arkansas: #5 RPI, #11 SoS
  6. Clemson: #7 RPI, #18 SoS
  7. Georgia: #6 RPI, #9 SoS
  8. Florida State: #8 RPI, #26 SoS

The top 8 seeds also are the top 8 RPI ranked teams, in nearly identical order to their RPI ranking, in case you were wondering how important RPI is to seeding in College Baseball. The top 8 national seeds are entirely from two conferences: SEC and ACC, showing the dominance of those divisions (something we’ll see more of in the regions).

The rest of the Regional Hosts/Top 16 teams are as follows:

  • #9 Oklahoma: #14 RPI, #10 SoS
  • #10 NC State: #15 RPI, #3 SoS
  • #11 Oklahoma State: #11 RPI, #28 SoS
  • #12: Virginia: #12 RPI, #27 SoS
  • #13 Arizona: #31 RPI, #31 SoS
  • #14 UC Santa Barbara: #13 RPI, #100 SoS
  • #15 Oregon State: #18 RPI, #78 SoS
  • #16 East Carolina: #22 RPI, #71 SoS

There’s definitely a couple of outliers here, especially #31 RPI Arizona, who won the Pac12’s final title but doesn’t seem to deserve a top 16 spot at the expense of other teams. The 9th ranked RPI team is Wake Forest; I don’t think anyone wants to see Wake Forest in this tournament and they’re not even a seed.

Local DC/MD/VA local teams in the tourney:

  • UVA: #12 overall seed, has to deal with Mississippi State in their region but at least they host.
  • VCU: a 3-seed in the ECU regional, which also includes Wake Forest. Tough.
  • ECU: #16 national seed but stuck with Wake and may be in trouble.
  • West Virginia is the 3-seed in Arizona’s regional that includes Dallas Baptist. Also tough.
  • JMU, my alma mater, sneaks in as a 3-seed in the NC State regional. They were definitely a bubble team, and there’s probably 3-4 other teams that merited this spot (TCU, Cincinnati, etc). But, we benefitted this year.

It’s definitely kind of a down year for area teams. Maryland is usually solid but was on the bubble after faltering in their conference tourney. Liberty had a down year, going just 24-34 in CUSA. Virginia Tech went around .500 in ACC play but went 2-and-out in ACC tourney play; one win there and maybe they’re in. ODU was #71 in RPI but really needed to win the Sun Belt to get in. Same with Coastal.

Quick Regional Thoughts

Here’s one sentence or so on each regional.

  1. Tennessee: should cruise through, straight forward regional.
  2. Kentucky: Gets #10 RPI Indiana State, who had a strong case for hosting. No favors here for Kentucky.
  3. Texas A&M: Gets a grudge match against U-Texas as well as a very solid Louisiana team; tough regional, though LA-TX opener burns each team’s ace.
  4. North Carolina: they get last year’s champ LSU, which had an obviously down year but is still no slouch and UNC is close enough to have their fans drive.
  5. Arkansas: Might have the easiest regional of all, at one of the hardest places to play.
  6. Clemson: Of course they get Vanderbilt, plus Coastal. Vandy down this year though so Clemson should move on.
  7. Georgia: Fun possible rivalry game against Ga Tech brewing, but don’t sleep on UNC-Wilmington.
  8. Florida State: A couple of tougher teams in this regional, including the SEC tourney host Alabama.
  9. Oklahoma: Oof, I wouldn’t want to see Duke in my regional. Upset watch here.
  10. NC State: will have to contend with battle-tested South Carolina.
  11. Oklahoma State: They won’t be scared of #2 seed Nebraska, but will be scared of perhaps Florida, who sneaks into the tourney.
  12. Virginia: it all comes down to the under rated Mississippi State in this bracket; upset watch here.
  13. Arizona: If i’m Dallas Baptist, I’m happy as heck here, getting easily the weakest host. DBU is ranked #17 in RPI, more than a dozen slots higher than AZ. It’ll be an upset if DBU loses this one. They also have to deal with WVU for a balanced regional.
  14. UC Santa Barbara: they get an all-west coast group in a down year for West Coast teams, but this division does have the champs of three West Coast conferences all together: The Big West, The WCC, and Mountain West.
  15. Oregon State: As Pac12 runner up, gets Big West runner up UC Irvine. Too close to call.
  16. East Carolina: for their troubles they get Wake Forest and likely 1st rounder Burns in the Saturday winner’s bracket final, but if they save fellow 1st rounder Yesavage we have an early contender for game of the weekend.

Prospect Watch. Nearly every guy projected to go in the first round is playing post season, so this list kinda looks like the projected top 10. We’ll go region by region:

  • #1 Tennessee: mid 1st round projecting 3B Billy Amick plus a handful of solid 2nd/3rd round hitters
  • #2 Kentucky has just one top 3-4 round prospect on its team: RHP Travis Smith
  • #3 TAMU is led by top-5 pick Braden Montgomery. But they have a ton of named picks, as does UT Austin.
  • #4 UNC is led by Vance Honeycutt, likely 1st rounder who was projected higher earlier in the cycle. LSU is led by Tommy White (aka Tommy Tanks), but has a couple other boppers who should go 1st/2nd rounds.
  • #5 Arkansas’ top starter is Hagen Smith, who should go top 8 picks.
  • #6 Clemson’s only top prospect is LHP Tristan Smith. Vandy has a couple of pitchers to watch for in Bryce Cunningham and Carter Holton.
  • #7 Georgia is led by consensus 1-1 Charlie Condon.
  • #8 Florida State has a couple of hitters who project end of 1st in Cam Smith & James Tibbs
  • #9 Oklahoma doesn’t have much in prospect power, while Duke has a 2nd rounder LHP in Jonathan Santucci.
  • #10 NC State and South Carolina don’t have much in the way of 1st round projections right now.
  • #11 OK State has a potential late 1st rounder in Carson Benge. Florida is led by top-5 pick Jac Caglianone.
  • #12 UVA’s top rated star is SS Griff O’Farrell. MSU has a solid 1st round projected hitter in Dakota Jordan.
  • #13 AZ and DBU don’t have much in the way of star power, but their region’s #3 seed West Virginia team is led by likely top 8 pick JJ Weatherholt.
  • #14: UC Santa Barbara regional has some lesser known talents but no 1st rounders.
  • #15 Oregon State is of course led by possible 1-1 pick Travis Bazzanna
  • #16 ECU, as noted above, is led by top 10 pick RHP Trey Yesavage on the hill, and their regional foe Wake Forest is led by likely top 6 RHP Chase Burns. Wake also has likely top 5 pick Nick Kurtz and likely mid-1st rounder Seaver King for a star-studded lineup.

Written by Todd Boss

May 28th, 2024 at 8:01 am

2 Responses to '2024 CWS Coverage – Field of 64 and Regional Preview'

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  1. One of these years, the Vols actually have to live up to their promise, right? Could face ex-Vol Chase Burns in the super regionals.

    Should be a good chance to see what Yesavage of East Carolina looks like against better teams.

    The committee did UNC no favors. LSU has been on a heater for the last month and beat Kentucky and Georgia in the SEC tournament before barely losing to Tennessee.

    It will be interesting to see how the postseason affects draft stock. My impression is that it seems to be held against guys more than help boost them. I guess we can hope that certain teams cool just enough on Burns or Yesavage to leave one of them for the Nats at #10.


    28 May 24 at 9:37 am

  2. It’s a banner year for 1st round projected picks to be in the post season. really hope we see Burns v Yesevage.

    Todd Boss

    28 May 24 at 12:28 pm

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