In our second installment of our D2 baseball BRacketology Powered by Bennett Rank, we start to see some movement in some regions with some leagues wrapping up conference play this weekend.
With the first release of the D2 baseball regional rankings set for next Wednesday, we take a look at who BennettRank projects as the top teams in each region.
As a refresher, the 2016 season marks the debut of an expanded field of 56 teams in the D2 baseball tournament. However, there’s an imbalanced number of teams in each region as a result of the new format.
The Central and Midwest regions will each send eight teams into the national tournament field, the South Central and West regions will get six berths, and the remaining four regions – Atlantic, East, South and Southeast – each get seven bids.
Accordingly, the official regional rankings will reflect the number of bids plus the next two teams for each release (ie. regions with six bids will see eight teams ranked, seven berth regions will see nine teams ranked, and eight team regions will feature 10 ranked teams in each release).
As we have for other sports, D2 baseball BRacketology will rank the top teams in each region based on BennettRank, which may not necessarily reflect the official numbers used by the NCAA’s baseball committee.
Once the rankings are set, we will adjust the brackets as necessary to account for automatic qualifiers from each conference. In a few cases, our BRacketology projections will not include teams which are transitioning into D2 and, as such, are not eligible for the NCAA tournament. We also excluded “at-large” teams whose records are below .500 as of the time of ranking.
One final caveat: teams from northern and eastern regions will have fewer games played due to weather and other logistical issues that come with early season baseball in those parts of the country.
And with that, let’s project some D2 baseball brackets, which presumes no “if necessary” games in the regional or national brackets (for simplicity purposes).
All BennettRanks and records as of April 18.