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.