2024 NCAA Tournament Bracket Facts, Trends & College World Series Tidbits


Image credit: Paul Skenes (Photo by Tyler Schank/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

After a three-plus month regular season and an action-packed set of conference tournaments, the 2024 NCAA Tournament has finally arrived. Sixty-four teams drawn into 16 regionals will compete to reach Omaha and the ultimate goal of a national championship.

With that in mind, here’s a list of trends, facts, and other historical nuggets about the tournament before it gets underway.

2024 NCAA Bracket

See the full bracket, plus the last four teams in and first four teams out.

Note: All stats and records, unless otherwise noted, are from the Super Regionals Era. The NCAA expanded the tournament to 64 teams and a regionals and super regionals format in 1999.

Regionals/Super Regionals

Since 1999, almost two-thirds of regionals have been won by the host team. Last year, however, only nine of 16 were.
  • Nine host teams advancing was the fewest since 2018, when just half of the 16 host teams moved on.
  • The fewest was seven in 2007 and 2014, respectively. Unseeded teams won the national title in both of those years.
In a four-team double-elimination regional, losing the first game can quickly be insurmountable. Just one such team in the last two years has managed to escape the loser’s bracket.
  • That team—out of 64 teams that lost their first game of a regional over the last two years—was Southern Miss last season. The Golden Eagles fell to Samford in 10 innings before winning four straight games.
  • Two teams pulled it off back in 2021. LSU (Eugene Regional) and Virginia (Columbia Regional) won four straight elimination games.
  • In total, just three of the last 64 regional winners have come out of the loser’s bracket.
Eighteen of the 24 national champions since 1999 didn’t lose a game in regionals, going a perfect 3-0 to move on.
  • The last five title winners all posted perfect marks in regional play and 12 of the last 14 have as well.
  • Cruising through the first round and keeping your pitching fresh can pay big dividends in the ensuing super regionals round. Sixteen of the 24 swept their super regionals. 
  • Ultimately, 13 of the national champions did not lose a game before reaching Omaha (going a perfect 5-0).
Of course, other teams dipped into the loser’s bracket or faced a winner-takes-all seventh game. Five of the 16 regionals last year saw a winner that faced elimination, down from nine the previous year.
  • Those five teams were Stanford, Kentucky, Southern Miss, Florida and Duke.
  • One lost its first game, three lost its second game, and one lost to set up a winner-takes-all final game.
  • The average number of teams that won their regional with one loss over the last 10 years is six.
Speaking of a seventh game, last year saw just five regionals reach that point, the fewest in the last three tournaments and second-lowest overall.
  • That was a stark contrast to the 2022 tournament, which saw nine regionals reach seven games. That was the most in a single tournament.
Regionals have grown slightly less competitive over the years. The average run differential per game for a winning team since 1999 is at 4.1, but has ticked up to 5.5 over the last five tournaments.
  • Two of the five highest run differentials by a winning team occurred in the last five years. Last season, Wake Forest outscored its regional opponents by 41 runs (tied for fourth-most all-time). The Demon Deacons allowed just six runs over the course of three games.
  • Two years prior, Notre Dame logged the second-highest run differential at 45. The record belongs to Florida State, who posted a gaudy +49 run differential in 2009.
In Super Regional action, the host won six of eight series’ last year after winning just two of eight the year prior.
  • The .750 winning percentage for the home team in the super regional was the highest since 2017, when they went 7-for-8. 
  • The 2-for-8 mark, meanwhile, seems like quite the blip: It’s one of just two instances where the home teams haven’t posted a .500 or above record.

Regional Seeding

Still, three No. 4 seeds beat No. 1 seeds last year—the most in a single tournament since 2018 and after just one pulled it off in the previous two tournaments.
  • Ultimately, though, No. 1 seeds are 403-61 (.869) against No. 4 seeds in regionals.
  • Last year, they went 16-3 (.842) with the three upsets carried out by Oral Roberts (over Oklahoma), Rider (over Coastal Carolina), and Penn (over Auburn).
No. 2 vs. No. 3, as expected, is the closest matchup: No. 2 seeds  have won at a .553 clip (333-269) since 1999.
  • Last year was quite lopsided, however. No. 2 seeds won 19 of 25 matchups in regionals with three seeds and won by an average margin of nearly six runs.
  • Over the last 10 years, it has averaged out to be even tighter: No. 2 seeds are 134-119 against No. 3 seeds, or a .530 winning percentage.
  • The second-closest matchup is between the top two seeds in a given regional, with the No. 1 beating the No. 2 around two-thirds (.665) of the time. 
Last year’s regional round had just 28 “upsets” in which a lower seed beat a higher seed. That was tied for the fifth-fewest in tournament history.
  • The most chaotic tournament award belongs to 2014, which saw almost a third of regional games won by the underdog. Lower seeds went 39-84 (.464), a far cry from last year’s 28-93 (.302).
  • The upsets included third-seeded UC Irvine routing host and No. 1 overall seed Oregon State by a 14-2 margin. The Anteaters ultimately eliminated the Beavers in the regional final, too.
  • The 2014 bracket saw five of the eight host seeds eliminated in the regional round; only two of the ranked teams reached Omaha; and an unseeded Vanderbilt win the national title.

College World Series

The stat everybody may know: The last time the No. 1 overall seed won the national title was the first year of the current national seed format in 1999.
  • No. 1 seeds have finished second twice—Texas in 2004 and 2009—and reached the CWS in 14 of 23 years since No. 1 Miami won the title in 1999.
  • Wake Forest ended a two-year stretch of the top seed falling before the CWS. Arkansas and Tennessee fell in Super Regionals the prior two years.
The seed that has won the most national titles? Technically unseeded.
  • Granted, the NCAA only recently expanded to 16 national seeds in 2018. But since the inception of national seeds, a total of 12 unseeded teams have won the championship.
  • That dwarfs No. 2, No. 3, and No. 5 — seeds that have won three titles apiece.
  • Since the expansion, the tournament has been won by No. 5, an unseeded team, No. 7, No. 2, and No. 3.
The perils of not being a top-eight seed are well documented. Since expansion in 2018, seeds No. 9-16 have made it to the College World Series just five times.
  • That’s out of 40 teams seeded in that range, total.
  • Seventeen of them lost in the regional round, while 18 have fallen in super regionals. These seeds often have to travel if the regional they’re paired up with sees its host seed advance.
  • Of those five teams? Three were the No. 9 seed. That means seeds No. 10-through-16 went just 2-for-35 on trips to Omaha.
Going back-to-back is quite difficult: It’s happened just twice in the 24 tournaments in the new format.
  • LSU will have a chance. By making the field, it will be quite a bit closer than the last two winners. Mississippi State and Ole Miss both missed the tournament the following year.
  • The two teams to do it in the super regional format are South Carolina (2010-11) and Oregon State (2007-07).


The SEC has won the last four national titles. It’s one more away from matching the then-Pac-10 for the longest streak in tournament history.
  • The biggest difference is that the SEC has had four different winners — Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, and LSU — while the Pac-10 had Rod Dedeaux’s Southern California side winning five straight from 1970 to 1974.
The SEC has also placed four teams in the CWS on five separate occasions, matched only by the ACC’s four teams in 2006.
  • It helps, of course, that the conference has placed nine or more teams in each of the five tournaments leading into this year.
  • The SEC’s current conference membership has made a DI-leading 113 appearances in the College World Series and posted a .515 winning percentage.
This season will be the last for the Pac-12 Conference. It has produced 29 College World Series winners—14 more than the SEC.
  • If you adjust to the team’s actual conference membership at the time of the title, that reduces to 18 in comparison to the SEC’s 15.
  • The Pac-12 features Southern California (12 titles), Arizona State (five), Arizona (four), Oregon State (three) and California (two).
  • Among active conferences, the Big Ten sits in third with six by comparison.
A team not in the SEC, Pac-12 or ACC has won the title just once since 2009.
  • That team was the Big South’s Coastal Carolina, who has since moved to the Sun Belt Conference.
  • Over that span, the SEC has won nine while the Pac-12 (three) and ACC (one) make up the difference.

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