The Indianapolis Star reported that the ACC and SEC received the most bids this year, with seven apiece. The Pac-12 got six teams into the tournament, while the Big Ten has five teams in the tournament, which is the conference’s most ever. Overall, all 31 conferences are represented (via automatic bids) while several conferences (in addition to the ones mentioned above) were awarded at-large bids — Missouri Valley, Colonial, American Athletic, Conference USA, Big 12, and Big West.
The 64 teams are broken down into 16 four-team regional double-elimination tournaments. The regional tournament will begin on Friday, May 29, with 32 games spread out throughout the day, and it runs until June 1. The regional winners advance to a best-of-three Super Regional (June 5-7). The winners of each of the Super Regionals will make the trek to Omaha, Nebraska, for the College World Series, starting on June 13.
The UCLA Bruins (42-14) garnered top-billing for the tournament, overtaking No. 2 seed LSU Tigers (48-10), who still sit atop of the NCBWA rankings. The Bruins won the Pac-12 tournament crown, while the Tigers didn’t reach the SEC Championship finals, which is the likely reason UCLA was seeded ahead of LSU.
The Bruins, who won the 2013 national championship, are making their eighth NCAA tournament appearance in the last 10 years under coach John Savage, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“We’re very honored and excited to be the No. 1 seed,” Savage said. “Whenever you get that label, it has a lot to do with your body of work on the field.”
The other six national seeds are No. 3 Louisville (43-16), No. 4 Florida (44-16), No. 5 Miami (44-14), No. 6 Illinois (47-8-1), No. 7 TCU (43-11) and No. 8 Missouri State (45-10). Illinois is the second BIG 10 team to ever earn a national seed — Indiana received the Big Ten’s first national seed a year ago — while Missouri State is the first Missouri Valley program to receive a national seed.
“I’ve been in this conference for 25 years, and 10 years as a head coach, and this is the best it’s been by a long shot,” Illinois coach Dan Hartleb. “For us to have this type of year with the quality in this league, it’s very satisfying, but it’s not the ultimate goal.”
LSU, Illinois, Texas A&M, Florida, Miami (Fla.), Dallas Baptist, TCU, Cal St.-Fullerton, Houston Baptist, UC Santa Barbara, UCLA, Louisville, Vanderbilt, Missouri State, Oklahoma State, and Florida State are the 16 regional hosts.
If any of the national seeds win their region, they will host a Super Regional. Otherwise, the Super Regional hosts will be decided by the NCAA on June 1.
The winners of the following regionals will play in the Super Regionals UCLA-Santa Barbara, Oklahoma State-Missouri State, Miami- Dallas Baptist, Florida State-Florida, LSU-Houston Baptist, Texas A&M-TCU, Illinois-Vanderbilt, Cal State-Fullerton-Louisville.
Thirty-one of the 32 games can be seen on ESPN3, while the UCLA-Bakersfield matchup will be televised on ESPNU.
Vanderbilt defeated Virginia to win the 2014 national title.
The following is the schedule for Friday’s games (all times Eastern).
- No. 1 UCLA vs. No. 4 Bakersfield, 11:05 P.M
- No. 3 Maryland vs. No. 2 Ole Miss 7 p.m.
- Regional winner: UCLA
UC Santa Barbara Regional
- No. 1 Santa Barbara vs. No. 4 San Diego State 10 p.m.
- No. 2 Southern California vs. No.3 Virginia 6 p.m.
- Regional winner: USC
Oklahoma State Regional
- No. 1 Oklahoma State vs. No. 4 St. John’s 7 p.m.
- No. 3 Oral Roberts vs. No. 2 Arkansas 1 p.m.
- Regional winner: Oklahoma State
Missouri State Regional
- No.1 Missouri State vs. No. 4 Cansius 7 p.m.
- No. 2 Iowa vs. No. 3 Oregon 2 p.m.
- Regional winner: Oregon
Miami (Florida) Regional
- No. 1 Miami vs. No. 4 Florida International 7 p.m.
- No. 2 East Carolina vs. No.3 Columbia 1 p.m.
- Regional winner: Miami
Dallas Baptist Regional
- No. 1 Dallas Baptist vs. No. 4 VCU 7 p.m.
- No. 2 Oregon State vs. No. 3 Texas 2:30 p.m.
- Regional winner: Texas
Florida State Regional
- No. 1 Florida State vs. No. 4 Mercer 6 p.m.
- No. 2 College of Charleton vs. No. 3 Auburn
- Regional winner: Florida State
- No. 1 Florida vs. No. 4 Florida A&M 7 p.m.
- No. 2 Florida Atlantic vs. No. 3 South Florida 1 p.m.
- Regional winner: Florida
- No. 1 LSU vs. No.4 Lehigh 4 p.m.
- No. 2 UNC Wilmington vs. No. 3 Tulane 8 p.m.
- Regional winner: LSU
Houston Baptist Regional
- No. 1 Houston vs. No. 4 Houston Baptist 8 p.m.
- No.2 Rice vs. No. 3 Louisiana-Lafayette 3:30 p.m.
- Regional winner: Rice
Texas A&M Regional
- No. 1 Texas A&M vs. No. 4 Texas Southern 7 p.m.
- No. 2 Coastal Carolina vs. No. 3 California 1 p.m.
- Regional winner: Texas A&M
- No. 1 TCU vs. No. 4 Sacred Heart 8 p.m.
- No.2 North Carolina Sttae vs. No. 3 Stony Brook 3:30 p.m.
- Regional Winner: TCU
- No. 1 Illinois vs. No. 4 Ohio 8 p.m.
- No.2 Notre Dame vs. Wright State 1 p.m.
- Regional Winner: Notre Dame
- No. 1 Vanderbilt vs. No. 4 Lipscomb 8 p.m.
- No. 2 Radford vs. No.3 Indiana 3 p.m.
- Regional Winner: Vanderbilt
Cal State-Fullerton Regional
- No. 1 Cal State-Fullerton vs. No. 4 Pepperdine 10 p.m.
- No. 2 Arizona State vs. No. 3 Clemson 6 p.m.
- Regional Winner: Arizona Stae
- No. 1 Louisville vs. No. 4 Morehead State 6 p.m.
- No. 2 Bradley vs. No. 3 Michigan 2 p.m.
- Regional Winner: Louisville
[Photo by Peter Aiken/ Getty Images]