Monday, February 22, 2016

Weekend Summary -- February 18-21, 2016

Here are some teams making waves this past weekend:
  • Texas A&M was the only team to go undefeated (6-0) in the first weekend of the Mary Nutter Classic, with wins over three Top 20 opponents (Central Florida, Washington, and Arizona).
  • James Madison went 5-0 at the Michele Smith Pediatric Cancer Foundation Invitational, including wins over two ranked SEC squads, Tennessee and Auburn.
  • Louisiana (Lafayette) took two of three from Oregon in a battle of Top 10 programs.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Double Dose of Nutter Classic This Year

This year's Mary Nutter Classic in Cathedral City, California (near Palm Springs) has a new feature this year -- two weekends of play -- encompassing 44 schools. A chart of participating teams is available here.

The first weekend, running tomorrow through Sunday (February 19-21), features 19 teams. The leading squads (with their rankings in the latest ESPN.com/USA Softball and USA Today/NCFA polls) are as follows: No. 4/4 LSU, No. 7/8 UCLA, No. 9/11 Washington, No. 10 (tie)/9 Arizona, and No. 16/15 Central Florida.

The second weekend (Feb. 25-28), 29 teams will take the field. (Adding 19 and 29 suggests that 48 teams are participating, but four schools -- UCLA, Washington, Bethune Cookman, and Loyola Marymount -- are playing both weekends.)

Teams playing only during the second weekend include No. 1/1 Florida, No. 2/2 Michigan, No. 5/6 Oregon, No. 10 (tie)/14 Oklahoma, No. 12/10 Georgia, and No. 13/16 Missouri.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

What Do I Know?

A few postings down, I argued that my alma mater Michigan should have been ranked No. 1 in the preseason polls, instead of Florida. Well, today's 8-0 run-rule victory by the Gators over the Wolverines clearly shows that I have no idea what I'm talking about!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Opening Weekend 2016

The 2016 season opens today with numerous weekend tournaments.

Florida begins its quest for a third straight national championship in the University of South Florida's Wilson-DeMarini tournament. The Gators, a consensus No. 1 in the preseason polls, will face No. 2 Michigan on Saturday at 11:45 am Eastern, in a rematch of last year's Women's College World Series championship round. The Detroit News has an article on what Michigan coach Carol Hutchins is doing to keep the Wolverines focused and humble heading into the season.

Arizona State's Kajikawa Classic, traditionally the largest tournament of opening weekend, gets underway today. The Sun Devils appear to be down a bit from their national-championship years of 2008 and 2011, entering 2016 ranked No. 20 and 22 in the two major polls. The Kajikawa itself seems down a bit in terms of the quality of its teams. The 32-team field includes only two preseason top-10 programs, Oregon (No. 6/7) and Tennessee (No. 8/9).

Other tourneys include the UNLV Sportco Kickoff Classic, whose 10-team field includes traditional powers Oklahoma (No. 8/9) and Washington (No. 19/20); and the Aggie Classic, with Texas A&M (No. 24 in the ESPN/USA Softball poll) hosting consensus No. 7 UCLA, Colorado State, and Wichita State.

Monday, February 08, 2016

ESPN.com's Top 25 Players of 2016

Graham Hays at ESPN.com counts down the Top 25 college players for this season, in a series beginning with players No. 25-21 today.