NCAA softball tournament 2017: Bracket, schedule, scores, highlights, and news

The Minnesota Golden Gophers had an amazing 2017 NCAA softball season. The Big Ten stalwarts finished the year with a ridiculous 54-3 record, earning the top spot in the final Coaches’ Poll of the regular season. Behind the scorching bat of catcher Kendyl Lindaman (.438 average, 20 home runs) and shutdown pitching of Sara Groenewegen (30-2, 0.59 ERA, 280 strikeouts), the northern school put together one of the most compelling campaigns Division I softball has ever seen.

And yet, despite all this, the Selection Committee failed to find them worthy of one of the 16 hosting gigs at this year’s NCAA softball tournament.

Minnesota had to settle for a No. 2 seed at this year’s regionals, which will ship the team to Alabama rather than a well-deserved home series in the Twin Cities. The Golden Gophers’ lack of quality opponents in the Big Ten was enough of a reason for the committee to exclude them from a coveted national seed. UM was only 2-2 against RPI top 25 teams this spring, which appears to be the only reason for its shocking seeding.

Teams from the Southeastern Conference didn’t have the same problem. All 13 SEC programs (Vanderbilt doesn’t carry the sport) qualified for this year’s field of 64. Eight of those teams — Florida, Auburn, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, LSU, Kentucky, and Bama — will host regionals this weekend. The Gators are the No. 1 overall seed after winning their third straight regular season title and following that up with a win in the conference tournament last weekend.

The Golden Gophers can correct the selection committee’s mistake by rolling through Tuscaloosa and then dispatching their Super Regional opponent — likely Florida — en route to the Women’s College World Series.

Here’s how that works.

The 64 teams are split up into 16 different regionals, played at the home site of the top team in each region. The regionals, played from May 18-21, will each produce one winner, with the 16 regional winners paired off for eight super regional matchups. The super regionals are best-of-three series to be played from May 25-28, with the eight winners advancing to the Women’s College World Series, played in Oklahoma City from June 1-7.

Here are the 16 national seeds:

  1. Florida
  2. Arizona
  3. Oregon
  4. Florida State
  5. UCLA
  6. Washington
  7. Auburn
  8. Tennessee
  9. Texas A&M
  10. Oklahoma
  11. Utah
  12. Ole Miss
  13. LSU
  14. Kentucky
  15. Baylor
  16. Alabama

Here are the regional groupings and opening day matchups. The tournament’s format is double-elimination, so the winners of these showdowns will be set to meet each other on day two — and same with the losers. The full 64-team bracket can be found here.

Regionals

Gainesville regional

No. 1 Florida vs. Florida A&M

Oklahoma State def. Florida International, 2-0.

Tuscaloosa regional

No. 16 Alabama vs. Albany

Minnesota vs. Louisiana Tech

College Station regional

No. 9 Texas A&M vs. Texas Southern

Texas vs. Texas State

Knoxville regional

No. 8 Tennessee vs. Longwood

Ohio State vs. USC Upstate

Los Angeles regional

No 5 UCLA vs. Lehigh

San Jose State vs. Cal State Fullerton

Oxford regional

No. 12 Ole Miss vs. Southern Illinois

Arizona State vs. North Carolina

Baton Rouge regional

No. 13 LSU vs. Fairfield

McNeese vs. UL Lafayette

Tallahassee regional

No. 4 Florida State vs. Princeton

Jacksonville State vs. Georgia

Eugene regional

No. 3 Oregon vs. Illinois Chicago

Wisconsin vs. Missouri

Lexington regional

No. 14 Kentucky vs. DePaul

Illinois def. Marshall, 3-2 (12)

Salt Lake City regional

No. 11 Utah vs. Fordham

BYU vs. Mississippi State

Seattle regional

No. 6 Washington vs. Montana

Michigan vs. Fresno State

Auburn regional

No. 7 Auburn vs. ETSU

Notre Dame vs. California

Norman regional

No. 10 Oklahoma vs. North Dakota State

Tulsa vs. Arkansas

Waco regional

No. 15 Baylor vs. Kent State

Oregon State vs. James Madison

Tucson regional

No. 2 Arizona vs. New Mexico State

South Carolina vs. St. Francis (PA)

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