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NCAA Softball Tournament: Columbia Regional Preview

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Follow the Jayhawks in the NCAA Softball Tournament

KU finished the regular season 38-13 (8-10), finishing fifth in the seven-team Big 12. Their strong start to the season plus the strength of the Big 12 in softball propelled them to an At-Large bid in the 2015 Tournament. KU finished #23 in the RPI and finished the season in the "Receiving Votes" category of both polls (yes, there are two softball polls). The Jayhawks peaked at #22 in the rankings, holding that spot for almost a month (March 17-April 14).

Kansas now looks forward to the Columbia Regional of the NCAA Softball Tournament. Similar to the NCAA Baseball Tournament, it will be double elimination. Kansas is 15-22 all-time in 11 tournament appearances. KU’s season ended last year in this same regional; after knocking off Nebraska in the first game, Kansas lost to Missouruh and then lost the rematch to Nebraska.

KU will open up the regional at 12 PM (Noon) Jayhawk Time on Friday, May 15, vs Louisville.  (It was originally slated for 4 PM, but a forecast of inclement weather pushed up the start time.) The Cardinals also earned an At-Large bid after going 30-17 (14-7) in the regular season. Louisville finished fourth in the ACC and #45 in the RPI. The victor gets the winner of Indiana State/#10 Missouruh on Saturday; the loser obviously gets the loser of that matchup, also on Saturday.

Indiana State (26-29, 13-13) is making their first-ever trip to the Tournament. They won the Missouri Valley automatic qualifier spot after winning four games in three days in the MVC Tournament, in the process becoming the lowest seeded team to ever win the MVC Tourney. This year also saw ISU’s most-ever wins in conference play. The Sycamores ended the season at #148 in the RPI.

Missouruh (39-14, 14-10) earned the #10 national seed and the right to host the regional. The Tiggers finished 7th in the uber-competitive 13-team SEC. The SEC led all leagues with 11 invites to the Touranment, and in one of the polls, an SEC team sits in 7 of the top 14 spots (7/16 in the other). MU ended the season at #10 in the RPI and at 12/13 in the polls.

The championship game of the regional will be on Sunday, May 17, at Noon (Jayhawk Time), with Game 2 scheduled for 30 minutes after Game 1 If Necessary.

You can catch the first game of the regional, Kansas vs Louisville, on ESPN3 (remember, it's at Noon), and on the Jayhawk Radio Network and KUAthletics.com/radio.  (No idea if blackout conditions will apply; I'm assuming since it's the tournament that even if you live in Kansas you'll get to watch.)  Every game of the regional will be televised on either ESPN3 or SEC Network +.

You can follow along with the rest of the tournament on the interactive bracket at NCAA.com.