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NCAA Softball Tournament Bracket Set: Texas Named No. 1 Seed, First Non-Oklahoma Top Team in 4 Years

For the first time in four years, there is a new No. 1 seed in the NCAA softball tournament.

Texas took first place for the first time in program history despite losing to Oklahoma in the Big 12 tournament championship. The Longhorns, who were the regular-season conference champions, lead the nation in batting average (.383) and enter the postseason with an overall record of 47-7.

The Sooners have been No. 1 the past three years and bolstered the rankings with three straight national championships. However, this softball season has been filled with parity and Oklahoma’s Big 12 foe overtook the top of the bracket. The Sooners earned the No. 2 seed.

Division I softball committee chairman Kurt McGuffin said Texas’ 16 top-25 wins, compared to Oklahoma’s nine, was a key factor in the committee’s rankings.

“(Texas and Oklahoma) went 2-2 against each other, but Texas also played quite a few of the teams ranked in the top 16 in their non-conference (schedule),” McGuffin said. “Even though there was the championship final, we thought Texas was still consistent and should be No. 1.”

The top eight seeds host a regional and super regional. Behind Texas and Oklahoma, that includes No. 3 Tennessee, No. 4 Florida, No. 5 Oklahoma State, No. 6 UCLA, No. 7 Missouri and No. 8 Stanford.

The following eight seeds host a regional round only, including: No. 9 LSU, No. 10 Duke, No. 11 Georgia, No. 12 Arkansas, No. 13 Louisiana, No. 14 Alabama, No. 15 Florida State and No. 16Texas A&M.

All 13 SEC teams made the 64-team field. Other conferences with multiple teams in the field include the Pac-12 (7), ACC (5), Big 12 (5), Big Ten (4), Sun Belt (3) and AAC (2).

Dayton, Siena and Southeast Louisiana make their first appearances in the tournament. The final four were Indiana, Ole Miss, Penn State and UCF. The first four were BYU, Louisville, Texas Tech and Wichita State.

What you need to know about the No. 1 seed, Texas

The Longhorns topped the polls for much of the season, so their No. 1 ranking in the tournament doesn’t really come as a surprise. Texas has been tested, winning seven of its last eight games under the run-ahead rule (an increase of eight or more runs after five or more even innings), including a 23-0 loss at Texas Tech.

Sophomore catcher Reese Atwood was named the Big 12 Player of the Year after setting single-season program records in home runs and RBIs. She leads her team with a batting average of .427. Coach Mike White, who joined the Longhorns in 2018 after nine seasons at Oregon, earned Conference Coach of the Year honors.

Texas opens NCAA tournament play against Siena, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference’s automatic qualifier. St. Francis (Penn.) and Northwestern will also compete in the Austin area.

Texas finished runner-up to Oklahoma in the 2022 Women’s College World Series. The Longhorns have never won a national championship.

Regional to watch

The Knoxville area should be exciting. SEC regular-season champion Tennessee will host as the No. 3 seed. The Lady Volunteers are backed by elite pitching, with Payton Gottshall and Karlyn Pickens both ranking in the top 10 in the nation in ERA. They open against Atlantic 10 champion Dayton.

If Tennessee wins, it has a chance to draw Miami (Ohio), which opens tournament play against Virginia. The Red Hawks field one of the most exciting offenses in the country, leading the nation with 157 home runs this season. This offense against Tennessee’s pitching would be must-see TV.

Scheme

  • Regionals: May 16/17-19
  • Super regional: May 23-25 ​​or May 24-26
  • College World Series Women: May 30 – June 6/7 in Oklahoma City

(Photo: David Buono/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)