The NCAA announced the pairings for the NCAA Softball Tournament on Sunday night, and the Minnesota Golden Gophers will be the #2 seed in the Seattle regional. They will play the #3 seed Texas Longhorns in their first NCAA Tournament game while host and overall national #5 seed Washington plays #4 seed Boise State.
The Gophers enter the NCAA Tournament with a 39-15 overall record. They went 17-4 in Big Ten play and finished second in the regular season behind the Michigan Wolverines. Minnesota then won the Big Ten Tournament on Sunday morning for the third consecutive season, and the fourth season in five years.
Minnesota once again doesn’t appear to be getting must respect from the NCAA softball committee. A season ago the Gophers appeared ready to host a regional but ended up getting passed over and had to head to Alabama instead. This season the Gophers came into the Big Ten Tournament with the 28th best RPI in the country. Based upon Washington’s #5 overall seed, that would place the Gophers exactly as the 28th seeded team by the committee. They Gophers were hampered by not having to play either Ohio State who was #27 in the RPI or Michigan who was #30 in the Big Ten Tournament. The best team Minnesota faced was Northwestern who was #38 in the RPI coming into the tournament.
Texas finished the regular season with a 32-24 record. They finished fourth in the Big 12 conference. Texas played a few common opponents as the Gophers this season. They split a pair of games with the Wisconsin Badgers early in the season. The Gophers went 3-0 against Wisconsin. The Longhorns went 1-2 against the #9 Arizona Wildcats as well ,while the Gophers won their only game against the Wildcats.
The Gophers and Longhorns will play at 8PM Central on Friday night on ESPN. We will have a full preview of the Seattle Regional later this week.