That gust of wind coming out of Raleigh, NC, around noon on Monday wasn’t the result of the stalled weather system that wreaked havoc on the ACC baseball tournament this weekend.

It was the collective sigh of relief coming from NC State during the NCAA’s bracket release announcement.

Exhale, Wolfpack Nation. Your team is in.

After suffering the agony of being the 1st team left out of the field a year ago, coach Elliott Avent’s team ended up on the right side of the bubble this time, earning the No. 3 seed in the regional hosted by South Carolina.

State will be joined in Columbia by Campbell, the Big South Conference champion from nearby Buies Creek, and Central Connecticut State in what promises to be among the most competitive of the NCAA’s 16 regionals.

The Wolfpack (35-19) were 1 of 8 ACC teams to hear their name called Monday. 

It’s a group led by Wake Forest, which despite its loss to Miami in the ACC Tournament semifinals, is the No. 1 overall national seed. Tournament champion Clemson, with its 16-game winning streak, and Virginia also earned top 8 seeds that will allow them to also host Super Regionals should they advance that far.

Miami barely missed out on the top 8, but will host an opening weekend regional as the No. 9 seed while Boston College, Duke and North Carolina will all be playing on the road with the Eagles heading to Alabama, the Blue Devils to Coastal Carolina, and the Tar Heels to Indiana State.

The ACC has sent at least 1 team to the College World Series in each of the past 16 seasons in which it has been held, dating to 2005. In 10 of those years, multiple ACC teams made it to Omaha.

Based on the seedings, there’s a strong chance it will happen again this year. And yet, despite their lofty status and talented rosters, there are potential speed bumps on the road to Omaha.

Wake (47-10) will have to navigate its way through a regional that includes Atlantic 10 champion George Mason, a Northeastern team that has already beaten 2 ACC opponents – Duke on March 8 and BC on March 21 – and a Maryland squad that won both the Big Ten regular season and tournament titles.

The Terrapins come to Winston-Salem with a 41-19 record and 123 home runs, the 2nd-most nationally. Adding to the intrigue of their selection is that it presents a rematch of last year’s regional in College Park, in which Maryland eliminated the Deacons with a 10-5 victory.

Clemson (43-17) enters the tournament as the nation’s hottest team after rolling to the ACC title in impressive fashion.

The Tigers’ resiliency and a balanced lineup led by 2-way star Caden Grice, Billy Amick and ACC Freshman of the Year Cam Cannarella make them a heavy favorite to hold serve in their home regional.

The biggest hurdle to their 1st Super Regional appearance since 2010 will be 2nd-seeded Tennessee, a team looking for redemption after burning out in the super regionals as the top overall seed in 2022.

Lipscomb and surprise Conference-USA Tournament winner Charlotte, both with 36-24 records, are the other 2 teams in the region.

Virginia (45-12) has a huge advantage playing at home, where it went 32-4 this season. But the Cavaliers will need every advantage they can get in a sneakily difficult region that includes 2nd-seeded East Carolina, Oklahoma and Patriot League champ Army.

As good as UVA is in Charlottesville, the Pirates from the American Athletic Conference won’t be intimidated. They won a regional there in 2016, upsetting the Cavaliers along the way.

Miami (40-19) might have gotten the best draw of the bunch, with Texas, Louisiana and Maine coming to Coral Gables. While the Longhorns are a college baseball blue-blood and have a 38-20 record, they were just 9-11 this season against NCAA Tournament teams.

Among the non-host ACC teams, UNC is in the best position to advance, especially if ACC Defensive Player of the Year Vance Honeycutt is healthy enough to return to the lineup.

The Tar Heels (35-22) are the No. 3 seed in a bracket that includes Iowa, Wright State and Indiana State, a mid-major hosting a regional for the 1st time.

BC (35-18) barely missed out on gaining host status. The consolation prize for being the top No. 2 seed in the field and is a regional matchup with No. 16 overall seed Alabama, along with lower seeds Troy and Nicholls State.

Duke (35-21) can also be competitive against Coastal Carolina, UNC Wilmington and Rider, but only if Alex Gow – the Blue Devils’ only consistent starter on an already thin pitching staff – is able to answer the bell after leaving his ACC Tournament after 37 pitches last week start with an apparent injury. 

ACC photo by Jaylynn Nash