ELOOnline : NCAA Softball Tournament Projections IV

On the final week of the College Softball season before Selection Sunday. Here key storylines in some of the conferences to keep an eye on this week that will go a long way in deciding who is on the field of 64.Shelby_UCF_SoftballAudas_UCF_ Softball

ACC- Florida State won Regular season title and will look to lock up National seed and hosting  with ACC Tournament title which is held at Maryland.  Virginia Tech on the bubble is the 3 seed and will open against Syracuse who the Hokies lost 2 of 3 at Syracuse 2 eeks ago. Hokies are in need of some wins in the tournament.

AAC- UCF is top seed after winning regular season title. You can listen to UCF HC Renee Luers Gillispie thoughts on winnng the AAC and more from Sportstalk 1080am Orlando Insiders Show this past Sunday which you can listen to the interview right here. While UCF and USF are close to locks for NCAAs  Houston and Louisville may need some work at AAC Tournament  especially Louisville who RPI now at 50. The Cardinals open with Temple and could face old Big East nemesis Sara Nevins and the Bulls in the Semi-Finals in what could be Louisville last game as a member of AAC in Softball before moving to the ACC next season. Houston is hosting the tournament and opens with tough QF against Rutgers.

Big 12-  Kansas has struggled down the stretch. Despite that the Jayhawks RPI still very good.  They end season hosting last place Iowa State. Must sweep for Kansas more then likely to get in. Texas Tech has a bye this weekend and will wait and see what happens. The Red Raiders are in tough spot after getting swept at Oklahoma finished the Big 12 at 8-10.USF_BULLS_SARA_NEVINS_3

Big 10-  The Big Question this week for Big 10 is  , will someone from Big 10 Host?  Michigan, Nebraska, and Minnesota all have a chance to host. How they do in Big 10 Tournament could go far in deciding who host.  Northwestern who is the 5 seed is hosting Big 10 Tournament.

Pac 12-  Stanford lost two of three at UCLA this past weekend.  Stanford host Oregon State to end regular season and will more then likely need a sweep to have a strong chance of getting in.

SEC-   Who will get to host, Who will get to be a National Seed. Those are some of questions that the SEC Tournament hope to help settle this week.  Listen to my Interview with Alabama Radio Voice Chad Haynie as we preview the SEC Tournament.

A-SUN-  It is best year in ASun Softball history as A-Sun ranked 7th best RPI.  USC Upstate is close to a lock.  Lipscomb in good shape as 2 seed as long as it does not go out early. Stetson who would have been  a 2 seed had its last game at UNF not been rained out in 4th with the Hatters in control of the game. Instead Stetson the 3 seed in double elimination tournament.  Mercer like Stetson need deep run maybe get into A-Sun Final to have a shot in a At-Large.

Big East-  DePaul lock for NCAA.  Big East Tournament in Chicago ,Bubble teams will need to root for DePaul to win Tournament and avoid a bid stealer.

Big West-  The Big West has a wild final regular season weekend.  Cal Poly swept  first place Long Beach State at Long Beach State  to tighten the race Big West. Poly’s Freshman righthander Sierra Hyland established new Cal Poly softball program single season records with her 254th strikeout and 11th shutout of 2014 on Sunday afternoon at Long Beach State as the Mustangs finalized a sweep and moved within one game of the Big West-leading 49ers in the conference standings with a 1-0 triumph. Its been a big turnaround this season for Cal Poly who currently 31-18 on the season, 12 wins better then 2013 when Cal Poly went 19-34.

One of big reasons for turnaround is pitching. The Mustangs under 1st year Asst/ pitching coach Chelsey Barclay  improved the team ERA  from 3.23 in 2013 to   2.28 this season. It should not be a surprise as Barclay who one of the more underated pitching coaches in the country  came over from Marshall where she help develop Andi Williamson  and improve Marshall pitching over her three seasons at Marshall which led the Herd to winning CUSA Championship Tournament in 2013 and making  1st NCAA Tournament in school history. Williamson went on to play pro at NPF. Now Barclay working with Hyland who strong contender for Pitcher and Freshman of Year in Big West.  Cal Poly has a chance to win the  Big West and advance to NCAA Tournament. Cal Poly  host UC Riverside in final weekend of season. Poly needs a sweep while the top 2 teams in the conference, Long Beach State and UCSB meet at Long Beach. Poly has tiebreakers over both teams and needs LBSU and UCSB series not to end up in a sweep by either team.  A Loss by Poly means the winner of Long Beach State and UCSB series wins the Big West.

Mountain West -  Like the Big West, The Mountain West title will come down to final weekend of  regular season.  Boise State and Fresno State are currently tied for first at 14-7 followed by San Diego State at 13-8. Boise State will play at San Diego State while Fresno State plays at Nevada who is 7-14 in conference. The question here is does Fresno or San Diego State get an at-large bid if they don’t win the conference? Boise State has to win the Conference as the Broncos only have 8 wins against top 100 compare to 17 from San Diego State and 14 from Fresno State against top 100.

Southland-  The Southland is another conference to keep an eye on if your a bubble team as McNeese State more then likely will be a At-Large team if they don’t win Conference Tournament.

CUSA-  Tulsa is overwhelming favorite in Conference Tourny and UAB in good shape for NCAA Tournament. The Tournament is being held in Boca Raton, Florida.  Can FIU ho finished 3rd and FAU the host team who finish 4th make a run upset Tulsa and steal a potential NCAA Bid?

 

Here is  my fourth 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.FSU_Softball

ACC (4): Florida State (7), North Carolina State (30), Notre Dame (25), Virginia Tech (46)

American (3):  UCF (26),  USF (35) Houston (43),

Big East: DePaul (29)

Big 12 (4): Baylor (12), Oklahoma (8), Texas (27) , Texas Tech (53)

Big Ten (5): Michigan (18), Minnesota (17), Nebraska (19), Northwestern (37), Wisconsin (38)

Pac-12 (5): Arizona (11), Arizona State (10), Oregon (5), UCLA (4), Washington (14)

SEC (11): Alabama (2), Auburn (15), Florida (1), Georgia (3), Kentucky (16), LSU (20), Mississippi State (31), Missouri (9), Tennessee (13), Texas A&M (22), South Carolina (32)Gators Softball

A-10: Fordham

America East: Stony Brook

A-Sun (2): Lipscomb (33), USC-Upstate (28),

Big Sky: Idaho State

Big South: Coastal Carolina

Big West: Long Beach State (45)

CAA (3): James Madison (23), Hofstra (34), College of Charleston (47)

C-USA (2):  Tulsa (24), UAB (36)

Horizon: Green Bay

Ivy: Dartmouth

MAAC: Fairfield

MAC: Ball State

MEAC: Bethune-Cookman

MVC: Illinois State

MWC (2):  Fresno State (52), San Diego State (48)

NEC: Bryant

OVC: Jacksonville State

Patriot: Lehigh

Southern:Georgia Southern

Southland: McNeese State (39)

Summit: North Dakota State

Sun Belt (2): Louisiana-Lafayette (6), South Alabama (21)

SWAC: Jackson State

WAC: New Mexico State

WCC: BYU

Last 5 In :  San Diego State (48) ,Virginia Tech (46), Texas Tech (53),  Houston (44)

First 4 Out :   Stanford (41), Kansas (40),  Louisville (50)  Stetson (44),

Next 3 Out :  Mercer (42), FIU (49),  Cal Poly (67)

Teamss Projections to Host and seed

1- Oregon

2- Alabama

3- UCLA

4- Florida

5- Florida State

6-Oklahoma

7- Arizona St

8- ULL

9-Tennessee

10- Michigan

11- Missouri

12-Georgia

13- Arizona

14- Baylor

15- Washington

16-  Nebraska

Teams in Contention to Host :  Kentucky, Auburn, Minnesota, Tulsa, UCF, South Alabama

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.

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