Playoff Format - Double Elimination

A double elimination format is used in most NCAA and high school baseball and softball tournaments in the United States. Starting in 2010, the Little League World Series in baseball also adopted this format. Teams are eliminated from contention after incurring two losses in each round of play.

The format changes depending on the number of teams per bracket, but most major collegiate baseball conferences with the format send only the top eight teams, or a mix of top teams plus the winners of a single elimination qualifier tournament, to their conference tournament.

The NCAA baseball and softball tournaments have used the format since its inception for regional and College World Series play.

In the current NCAA tournament format for four teams, the #1 seed plays the #4 seed ("Game 1"), and the #2 seed plays the #3 seed ("Game 2") on the first day of regional tournaments, and the first and second days of the College World Series (where the second bracket games are known as "Game 3" and "Game 4", respectively).

On the second day or series (third and fourth days at the College World Series), the losers play in the morning to determine who is eliminated ("Game 3" in regional, "Games 5" and "Game 7" in College World Series play), and who advances to the third game of the day. The winners ("Game 4" in regional, "Game 6" and "Game 8" in College World Series) play to determine who advances to the final on the third day.

In NCAA regional games, the loser of this game plays the winner of the morning game that evening ("Game 5") to determine who plays in the final.

In College World Series play, because the bracket teams play on alternating days, these games ("Game 9" and "Game 10") are played on the fifth day.

In NCAA regional games, the third day will feature the regional championship ("Game 6"). If the winner of Game 4 defeats the winner of Game 5, the winner advances to the Super Regional. Until the 2005 tournament, if the winner of Game 5 defeats the winner of Game 4, the two teams would meet again in Game 7 thirty minutes later to determine which team advances to the Super Regional.

However, with a concern that some teams were playing four games in two days, the NCAA made a rule change in 2005 to equalise the disadvantage of the winner of Game 5 by stating should the winner of Game 5 win Game 6, Game 7 would be played on a fourth day.

In the College World Series, on the sixth day, the winner of Game 9 plays the winner of Game 7 ("Game 11"), and the winner of Game 10 plays the winner of Game 8 ("Game 12"). If the winner in Game 7 wins Game 11, and/or the winner of Game 8 wins Game 12, such winners advance to the best-of-three final. If the winner of Game 9 defeats the winner of Game 7, and/or the winner of Game 10 defeats the winner of Game 8 the two teams would play again on the seventh day in Games 13 and 14, respectively, if they are needed, to determine who advances to the final.

Starting with the 2010 edition, the Little League World Series adopted a new format that involves four double-elimination brackets. The U.S. and International divisions are split into two four-team pools, with each pool conducting a double-elimination tournament to determine its winner. After the end of double-elimination play, the U.S. pool winners play one another in single games, as do the International pool winners, with the losers playing a third-place game and the winners playing a championship game. In another new feature, all teams are guaranteed at least three games; the first team eliminated from each pool plays a "crossover game" that matches an eliminated U.S. team with an eliminated International team.

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