Big 12 Baseball

Look: New Big 12 Baseball Tournament Bracket Makes No Sense

2024 Big 12 Baseball Championship Bracket
Big 12 Conference

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect current information after speaking with Big 12 officials.

Last Saturday, the Big 12 announced the bracket for the 2024 Big 12 Baseball Championship, which is currently being held in Arlington, Texas.

All seemed well as fans of each team gravitated to their respective seedings and who they might end up facing in the later rounds of the double-elimination format.

However, it wasn’t until we started approaching the semifinal round—which is set to be played on Friday—that folks started to catch on that there is a serious flaw in the bracket.


Here’s a look at the bracket if you need to visualize the issue to understand.

Draw your attention to Game 14 and Game 16 on the bracket.

Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, the top two seeds in the tournament, got a bye for the first round of action and played the lowest-seeded winners of the first round on their side of the bracket.

After wins against TCU and Texas Tech, respectively, the Sooners and Cowboys moved on and will now face the higher-seeded winner from the bracket. So, Oklahoma (1-0) will play Kansas (1-0) in Game 10, while Oklahoma State (1-0) will play UCF (1-0) in Game 12. Still with me?


The winner of Games 10 and 12 will then move on, with 2-0 records, mind you, to face the winner of the loser’s bracket, represented by the winners of Games 13 and 15. Those teams will be 2-1.

Here’s the issue.

The winners of Game 14 and Game 16 will move on to the Championship Game on Saturday, and the losers will be eliminated. But, what if the team from the winner’s bracket were to lose in those games? Their record at that point would be 2-1, and therefore, they should still be alive in tournament play, right?

Well, that’s not what the bracket says. No, under each of those games, it clearly states that the loser is eliminated.


After reaching out to the league office for an explanation of the new-look bracket, here’s what we’ve learned. The new format, which is simply known as a modified double-elimination format, does, in fact, make the semifinal games single-elimination. This was done, if for nothing else but the sake of time. Teams potentially playing three games in a single day isn’t possible, so the single-elimination semifinals will ensure the tournament ends on time.

“The bracket correctly reflects what the coaches voted on and agreed to, including single-elimination semifinals in lieu of if-necessary games,” one Big 12 official told Heartland College Sports.

The official also pointed out that this format is similar to what we see in the ACC, SEC, and Pac-12 Tournaments.

There is one significant difference between those formats and the one the Big 12 is currently using. The other conferences use pool play or have opponents cross over in bracket play. In those formats, a modified double-elimination tournament makes sense. However, with a split-bracket system, having an undefeated team have to beat the same opponent multiple times to advance feels like an oversight. Nonetheless, this was something that the league’s athletic directors and coaches voted on, so this is something they signed up for.

“When a Conference changes the number of teams in its membership, this often results in Championship formats being tweaked,” a Big 12 official told Heartland College Sports. “These changes are voted on and approved by coaches and ADs.

“Changes to formats [and] tiebreakers can be expected in certain sports as we become a 16-team league.”

HCS has reached out to multiple coaches around the league who have declined to comment on the format for now.

Perhaps nothing comes of this, and we see two undefeated teams advance to the tournament championship, and all is well.

But if Oklahoma or UCF gets eliminated with a 2-1 record, things could get ugly in a hurry.

Most Popular

To Top