The 64 teams in the N.C.A.A. baseball tournament have been whittled to eight, and now it’s time for the College World Series, with a pack of future major leaguers on the field, a favorite returning after a long wait and one big long shot. Here’s what to know.

When and where is the College World Series?

It begins on Friday at its traditional site, Omaha, and continues until June 25 or 26. Teams play until they have two losses; the last two teams standing then play a best-of-three finals. The games will be televised on ESPN and ESPN2, and streamed on ESPN+.

Who is the favorite?

Wake Forest came into the N.C.A.A. tournament as the top seed and holds a 52-10 record. Its pitching staff is especially impressive, with a 2.84 earned run average, the only one under 3.50 in the nation.

Despite its successful season, Wake Forest does not have a sterling baseball history: It returns to the College World Series for the first time since 1955, when it won the national title.

Will I see some future pros?

Yes, a lot of them.

The top three players in the latest M.L.B. mock draft will all be at the Series: Dylan Crews, outfielder, Louisiana State (.434 BA, .576 OBP, 89 runs scored); Paul Skenes, right-handed pitcher, L.S.U. (12-2, 1.77 E.R.A., 188 strikeouts); and Wyatt Langford, outfielder, Florida (76 runs scored).

Other possible top 10 guys in July’s draft at the Series are Chase Dollander, right-handed pitcher, Tennessee; Rhett Lowder, right-handed pitcher, Wake Forest (15-0, 1.92 E.R.A., 131 strikeouts); and Kyle Teel, catcher, Virginia (.418 BA).

And other potential first-rounders include Brock Wilken, third base, Wake Forest (30 HR, .517 OBP, .835 SLG); Brayden Taylor, third base, Texas Christian; Tommy Troy, third base, Stanford; and Hurston Waldrep, right-handed pitcher, Florida (142 strikeouts).

Jac Caglianone of Florida, a sophomore who is not eligible for the draft, leads the nation with 31 home runs and was 7-3 as a pitcher. He and the L.S.U. players Crews and Skenes are the finalists for the Golden Spikes Award as college baseball’s best player.

Who are the other contenders?

No. 5 Louisiana State looks particularly dangerous. It was the preseason No. 1 and scored 588 runs this season, the most in the nation, with 133 home runs. It has had perhaps the most impressive postseason so far, going 5-0 with wins of 14-0 and 8-3 over No. 12 Kentucky to advance to the College World Series.

No. 2 Florida is the most recent winner of the College World Series among those still alive; it won in 2017. No. 7 Virginia has the country’s top batting average at .335. No. 8 Stanford, the only team to return from last year’s College World Series, advanced when Texas’ outfielders lost a fly ball in the twilight.

Who are the long shots?

Texas Christian and Tennessee advanced despite not being one of the 16 seeded teams. Still, neither is an enormous shock; both were in the preseason top 20.

More of a surprise is Oral Roberts, which qualified for its first World Series since 1978 despite being ranked fourth of four in its regional. It stands at 51-12, but got little respect playing in the relatively weak Summit League. It clearly seems to be the least likely winner, but its betting odds of 25-1 show how tightly contested the C.W.S. usually is.

Who is missing?

No. 3 seed Arkansas and No. 4 Clemson were eliminated in the regionals. The reigning champion, Mississippi, finished 25-29 and did not make the tournament field of 64.

The New York Times

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