Monday, May 22, 2006

The opening weekend of NCAA tournament action is now on the books! The 16 surviving teams move on to next weekend's super-regionals (most of them, Friday-Saturday, May 26-27). There are eight "supers," each hosting two teams, who play a two-out-of-three series to see who qualifies for the Women's College World Series.

Here is a link to the official NCAA brackets, updated to reflect who will be meeting in the super-regionals.

In 13 of the 16 regions, things went according to plan, as the designated national seed was victorious. The three unseeded teams advancing are South Florida (from the regional in which the University of Florida was the national seed), Florida State (where Georgia was the national seed), and UMass (where Texas A&M was the national seed).

One of the most interesting super-regionals, if not the most interesting one, will send defending national champion Michigan (No. 9 national seed) to Knoxville, to face No. 8 seed Tennessee. The series will feature a rematch of elite pitchers from last year's World Series, namely the Wolverines' Jennie Ritter and the Vols' Monica Abbott. This series will be held Saturday and Sunday, and be televised by ESPN.

The Michigan article on the Wolverines' regional-clinching victory over Oklahoma noted that a Sooner rally midway through the contest "snapp[ed] Ritter's consecutive postgame shutout streak at 46.1 innings." [I think they meant "postseason," instead of "postgame."]