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Monday, May 14, 2012

2012 Geospatial Map of NCAA Tournament

Here is my annual geospatial map of the NCAA regional assignments. The official NCAA bracket is listed here.

Each of the 16 regional sites has its own color code. For example, the geographically compact University of Florida region, hosted by the No. 5 seed Gators and also featuring Central Florida, South Florida, and Florida Gulf Coast, depicts the teams in blue boxes with orange letters. Two of the most spread-out regions are:
  •  The one hosted by top-seed Cal, whose visitors include Arkansas, Iona (NY), and Boston University. These teams are shown in dark-blue boxes with yellow lettering.
  • The University of Washington (No. 16 seed) region, whose participants (depicted in purple boxes with yellow letters) include Texas Tech, Maryland, and Harvard.
Overall, the seedings are about what I had expected them to be (other years have presented greater surprises). Conference highlights (and lowlights) include:
  • Of the nine Pac 12 schools that field softball teams, eight got in the tournament (six with top-16 seedings).
  • Of the 11 SEC schools with softball, nine got in. This includes an Arkansas squad that went 7-21 in conference play (27-26 overall). Four of the SEC teams are seeded.
  • Of the nine Big 12 schools with softball, six got in. Four are seeded.
  • The only two seeds from outside the three power conferences were Louisiana-Lafayette (14) and Louisville (15).
  • The Big 10 had a very lean year, getting only two teams in. One was conference champion Michigan (18-5, 39-15). The other was a big surprise, to me at least, namely the co-fourth-place Northwestern (14-10, 27-27). Apparently, the Wildcats' strength of schedule vaulted them over the teams that finished higher in the league standings.
Play gets underway this coming Friday.