College Softball NCAA Tournament Projections III
Here is some quick hits entering last weekend of regular season in some of the bigger conferences.
SEC : Alabama at Missouri : Alabama has clinched a share of the SEC Title but need 1 win at Missouri to win the title outright. Missouri with a sweep wins SEC regular season title. Missouri coming off taking 2/3 at Florida and is in a big log jam for seeding in SEC Tournament in South Carolina and possible hosting possibilities with Kentucky, Florida, Tennessee.
AAC : UCF at UConn : Fresh off a sweep of rival Houston, The Knights head to Storrs, Connecticut needing 1 win to win a share of AAC Championship, 2 wins wins AAC outright or 1 loss from USF and Louisville. Louisville at Memphis this weekend right on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament. USF at Temple both need to sweep and be big UConn fans.
The Polls continue to show the flaws with it. The Knights beat USF two of three in Tampa and have 2 game lead in the AAC yet in USA Softball poll, the Bulls have 9 votes while UCF has 0. The Bulls pick up two votes week from last week despite a 17-1 loss at Florida in middle of the week and three wins over bottom team Memphisat home. UCF swept Houston in battle of top 2 teams in the conference standings and pick up 0 votes. In the NFCA poll UCF got 7 votes but is behind Notre Dame ( rank 22nd) and James Madison ( 12 votes) despite beating both teams. UCF is 12-10 against top 50 teams in RPI. USC Upstate has played 12 games vs Top 50 overall. Going 7-5 with nine games coming within A-Sun with games vs Stetson, Lipsomb, and Mercer. UCF played 4 games against the top 10 teams ( 2 games at Alabama, at FSU, Hosted Florida). Upstate played 1 game ( at Georgia). USC Upstate best win out of Conference is against Virginia Tech who may not make NCAA Tournament with RPI of 47 UCF beaten James Madison (23-RPI), Notre Dame (27-RPI ranked in polls), is ranked a school record 25 in RPI. Yet USC UpState is rank in Top 25 and UCF not. I am not saying USC Upstate and USF are not Top 25 worthy in fact I think they are both worthy of being in the Top 25 polls and have no problem with them getting votes or being rank. I just have a problem with the lack of research or work that people do in the voting of the polls. Here is a crazy idea, I try to make it simple of the pollsters. Name me another team in recent memory that is winning a conferenc in a potentially 3-4 bid league in the NCAAs Tournament not ranked? Here is a crazy idea for pollsters. If a team is winning the conference that is a 3-4 bid league and beat teams in the conference that’s getting votes why not vote for them in the Top 25? I understand that I am coming off as UCF apologist but I would say the same thing if USF, Houston or whoever was leading the conference with 3-4 bid league and has 12 wins against the Top 50 in RPI. There is no perfect system as NCAA Tournament and Pro playoffs have flaws I understand that but I am pointing just a few of many flaws in poll rankings system
UCF will be the host of the AAC Softball Tournament in 2015. “Being able to host the conference tournament for the 2nd time in program history is going to be great for our program, fans and are players” said UCF Head Coach Renee Luers- Gillispie as UCF will host the Conference Tournament for the first time since 2007 CUSA Tournament.
By UCF Hosting the 2015 AAC Tournament means that the 2015 AAC Conference Tournament could be last home games in the careers of Mackenzie Audas, Kahley Novak, Farrah Sullivan, and Maddy Schroeder who will be in seniors during the ‘ 15 Conference Tournament. The “Fab 4″ has a chance to be one of greatest classes in program history. As freshman’s Audas, Sullivan, Novak and Schroeder help lead the Knights into the NCAA Tournament in 2012 as an at-large. This year the group could be part of the program first ever regular season conference championship and make NCAA tournament for the 2nd time in 3 yrs. No UCF player has ever been to 3 NCAA Tournaments in a 4 year span. The ” Fab 4″ Will look to accomplish that potentially in 2015. Sullivan coming off a historic weekend, in UCF sweep of Houston, Sullivan won AAC player of the week going 9 for 11 with 5 RBi in the sweep including tieing the school record with 4 hits in game 1 win. The 9 hits unofficially is the most hits any Knight has ever had in a 3 game stretch and conference series.
Tulsa will host AAC Tournament in 2016. This year tournament will be in Houston May 8-10.
Here is my third NCAA Tournament Softball projections of the year as I be doing one each week. ( ) means RPI ranking. Some interesting regular season races starting to heat up.
ACC (3): Florida State (8), North Carolina State (30), Notre Dame (27)
American (4): UCF (25), USF (35) Houston (44), Louisville ( 41)
Big East: DePaul (32)
Big 12 (4): Baylor (13), Oklahoma (10), Texas (28), Texas Tech (49)
Big Ten (5): Michigan (15), Minnesota (18), Nebraska (19), Northwestern (36), Wisconsin (46)
Pac-12 (5): Arizona (9), Arizona State (12), Oregon (6), UCLA (3), Washington (21)
SEC (11): Alabama (2), Auburn (16), Florida (1), Georgia (4), Kentucky (14), LSU (20), Mississippi State (29), Missouri (7), Tennessee (11), Texas A&M (22), South Carolina (34)
America East: Stony Brook
A-Sun (3): Lipscomb (33), USC-Upstate (26), Stetson (43)
Big Sky: Idaho State
Big South: Coastal Carolina
Big West: Long Beach State (38)
CAA (3): James Madison (23), Hofstra (37), College of Charleston (48)
C-USA (2): Tulsa (24), UAB (31)
Horizon: Green Bay
MAC: Ball State
MVC: Illinois State
MWC: San Diego State
OVC: Jacksonville State
Southland: McNeese State (41)
Summit: North Dakota State
Sun Belt (2): Louisiana-Lafayette (5), South Alabama (17)
SWAC: Jackson State
WAC: New Mexico State
Last 5 In : Stetson (43), Hofstra (37), Texas Tech (52), Louisville (41), Houston (44)
First 4 Out : Kansas (39), Stanford (49), Virginia Tech (47), San Diego State (45)
Next 4 Out : Mercer (42), Cal State Fullerton (53), Fresno State (57), FIU (51)
Teamss Projections to Host and seed
4- Florida State
7- Arizona St
15- South Alabama
Teams in Contention to Host : Kentucky, Auburn, Nebraska
Eric Lopez host ELOOnline Podcast which airs on Sportstalkflorida.com. Eric Lopez also host 1080am Insiders Show that airs Sundays from 10-11am eastern on Sportstalk 1080 the team in Orlando. Lopez also fills in on Tuck and O’Neill on Sportstalk 1080 the Team Orlando.