The NCAA softball 64-team national tournament kicks off today
The GIST: Sixty-four teams, 16 regionals, and a potential 112 games packed into three days — softball’s natty tournament is here! Starting today at 12 p.m. ET, the 16 seeded squads will each host a four-team double-elimination regional to determine which 16 teams will advance to next weekend’s best-of-three Super Regionals.
- From there, those eight victors will score the ultimate prize: a ticket to June’s Women’s College World Series. OKC or bust, baby!
Regionals to watch: Austin and Baton Rouge feature some spicy intrastate matchups, but all eyes will be on Salt Lake City, where inaugural Pac-12 tourney champs No. 15 Utah will host arguably the toughest regional. Both Ole Miss and Baylor — the only team to defeat defending champs No. 1 Oklahoma this season — could usurp the Utes.
- Further east, the best way to describe the wildly tough Tallahassee regional is a pitchers’ duel. With UCF junior Sarah Willis, South Carolina star Donnie Gobourne, and No. 3 Florida State ace Kat Sandercock, this weekend will be won in the circle.
- Out in LA, the No. 2 UCLA Bruins should take care of business, but this series is also a zesty reunion: UCLA’s associate head coach (HC) Lisa Fernandez, Liberty HC Dot Richardson, and San Diego State HC Stacey Nuveman are all Bruin alums and Olympic gold–winning teammates.
Possible upsets: After losing 11 of their last 13 games, the (shockingly) No. 6 Oklahoma State Cowgirls could be in danger of being ousted by Wichita State — the Shockers beat the Cowgirls twice this season.