Women’s College World Series Preview

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On this edition of In The Circle, Eric Lopez & Victor Anderson talk to Oklahoma Sooners Softball radio voice Chris Plank about the Sooners path getting back to the Women’s College World Series.

Among the topics Plank discussed included

  •  Sooners getting back to Oklahoma City
  •  Up and Downs of 2017
  • Strength of Big 12
  • Oklahoma not being a Top 8 seed.

Also in Podcast Eric and Victor recap the Super Regional as well as give outlook of the Women’s College World Series as well as quick thoughts on D2 and D3 Championships.

In The Circle with Chris Plank 

 

 

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Ruben Felix on Ole Miss Winning SEC Tournament

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Ruben Felix been at Ole Miss since 2015

On This edition of In The Circle, Eric Lopez & Victor Anderson talk to Ole Miss Asst Coach Ruben Felix about the Rebels winning the SEC Tournament.

Among the topics Felix discussed include

  • The week in Knoxville as the Rebels made run to SEC Tournament
  • Hosting for first time in program history
  • Outlook of Oxford Regional
  • How Staff has turn Ole Miss Softball program to a winner
  • Experience of Ole Miss being in regional last year at Oklahoma
  • Keys to being success in postseason
  • Success of SEC getting 8 host sites and all 13 teams in the field

In The Circle with Ruben Felix Episode 94 

NCAA OXFORD REGIONAL SCHEDULE  Eastern Time Zone
Friday, May 19
Game 1: North Carolina vs. No. 22 Arizona State – 7 p.m. (ESPN)
Game 2: Southern Illinois vs. No. 13 Ole Miss – 9:30 p.m. (ESPN3)

Saturday, May 20
Game 3: Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 – 2:30 p.m. (TBD)
Game 4: Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2 – 5 p.m. (TBD)
Game 5: Winner Game 4 vs. Loser Game 3 – 7:30 p.m. (TBD)

Sunday, May 21
Game 6: Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 5 – 2:30 p.m. (TBD)
Game 7 (if necessary): Winner Game 6 vs. Loser Game 6 – 5 p.m. (TBD)

Junior RHP Kaitlin Lee threw every pitch in the SEC Tournament earning MVP honors, and is only three wins off tying the single-season record. She’s thrown nine-straight CGs, and allowed no more than two earned runs each in her last nine starts (64.2 IP).

Oxford Regional Teams
Southern Illinois
Led by 18-year head coach Kerri Blaylock, the Salukis of Southern Illinois head into the postseason at 33-22 overall. They earned the automatic bid from the Missouri Valley Conference after topping No. 1 seed Northern Iowa in the MVC Tournament Championship game last Saturday. The Salukis have played well down the stretch going 9-1 in the last 10 games, and finished the MVC regular season with a 17-8 record. SIU did face both Mississippi State and Kentucky earlier this season, dropping all three contests.

Arizona State
Led by first year head coach Trisha Ford, the Sun Devils of Arizona State earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament from the Pac-12 conference. ASU, ranked No. 22 in both polls and the updated RPI, is 30-20 on the year with a 9-15 mark in conference action.

North Carolina
Led by 32-year head coach Donna Papa, the Tar Heels head into the postseason with a 38-19 overall record after going 14-9 in the ACC, earning an at-large big. No. 34 in the latest RPI, UNC finished 3-7 in its final 10 outings, falling to No. 1 Florida State in the ACC Championship game last Saturday.

Brittany Pickett is the ace for the Tar Heels with a 21-8 record and 2.63 ERA, with 207.2 innings pitched and 47 appearances. Behind her, Lynch is 11-4 with a 5.17 ERA in 24 appearances, while three other pitchers have combined for the remaining six wins, led by three from Sydney Matzko, and three from Hannah Nommensen.

Gators Host Old Friend In Regional

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Kenny Gajewski was an asst for Tim Walton from 2013-2015 and won two national championships together.  (Photo Courtesy of V-Flex )

On this edition of In The Circle,  Eric Lopez and Victor Anderson talks to long time voice of Florida Gators Softball Adam Schick. Schick previews the Gators upcoming 2017 Gainesville Regional  which will see Florida see a familiar face in Oklahoma State Head Coach Kenny Gajewski who was an asst at Florida from 2013-2015 being part of the back to back National Titles in 2014 and 2015.  Should  Florida be concern in facing someone that knows them as well as Gajewski does?  Adam Schick breaks down the regional and also reviews the Gators 2017 season and key to success in Postseason for the Gators.

In The Circle with Adam Schick Episode 92

Also on this edition Schick reflects on his run as the voice of Florida Softball since being part of the broadcast in 2008.  Schick discusses.

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Adam Schick been part of Gators Broadcast since 2008
  • How the SEC and Softball have grown since he started in 2008
  • How Adam got into Softball
  •  Favorite moments of his career
  •  Impact of SEC Network.

Schick recently was hired as the new voice of Atlanta United in Major League Soccer which marks return home for Adam who is from Atlanta.

Schick also was voice of Gators Women Soccer and Women Basketball as well host podcast host of GatorTales.

Adam Schick Bio

Atlanta United FC (2017-present)
-Radio play-by-play broadcaster for Atlanta United FC on Sports Radio 92.9 The Game in Atlanta.

Gator IMG Sports Network (2007-present)
– Radio play-by-play voice of Florida Women’s Basketball, Softball, and Soccer.
-Host and producer of player features on football pregame show and fill-in play-by-play broadcaster for baseball.

SEC Network (2009-present)
-Play-by-play broadcaster for SEC Network+ Baseball, Soccer, Softball, Gymnastics & Basketball broadcasts.
-Provided play-by-play coverage of the 2013, 2014 & 2016 SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament on Sirius/XM.
-Selected as play-by-play voice for the SEC Digital Network’s streaming coverage of the 2009 SEC Soccer Tournament.

Gator Tales Podcast (2015-present)
-Created and developed the official podcast for the Florida Gators.
-Writes, edits, hosts, produces, conducts interviews, and manages social media account for the podcast on a weekly basis.

Gridiron Now (2016-present)
-Writes feature stories and opinion pieces on the Florida Gators for the SEC-focused GridironNow.com.

GatorVision (2009-present)
-Serves as a reporter for GatorVision web content and GatorZone TV show.
-Conducts interviews and writes feature broadcast stories for “Gator Men’s Basketball” TV show.
-Hosted “Florida Women’s Basketball” and “GatorZone” TV shows that aired on the Fox Sports family of networks.

Orlando City SC (2015-2016)
-Radio play-by-play broadcaster for Orlando City SC on Real Radio 104.1 in Orlando.
-Hosted radio pregame, halftime, and postgame shows.
-Fill-in host for TV pregame, halftime, and postgame shows.

ESPN Gainesville (2006-2010, 2011-2016)

-Co-hosted & managed social media accounts for “The Tailgate,” a daily sports talk show on ESPN Radio in Gainesville.
-Delivered daily sports updates and covered various Gator teams for the station as a student.

 

Minnesota Not Hosting Is a Black Eye for Softball

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Jessica Allister led Minnesota to Big Ten Regular season and Conference Tournament Championships and highest ranking in program history in 2017

No matter how you look at it. Sunday May 14th was black eye for the sport of Softball.  In what is supposed to be an exciting time for sport with NCAA Tournanent teams being announced instead was a dark day for the sport with lots of anger and  more questions then answers.

Despite being ranked No 1 in the NFCA Coaches Poll on May 16th. The Gophers will not be hosting a regional this week.  Many people have expressed outraged to the point where the NCAA came out with a statement Monday night addressing Minnesota not hosting.

“The NCAA DI Softball Committee spoke at length over a three-day span about the University of Minnesota’s softball team, noting that many factors were considered regarding team seeding and that the final decision was difficult. As a part of the selection criteria, the committee reviews each team’s body of work individually when selecting the field of 64 teams for the softball tournament.  When selecting the top 16 seeds the committee emphasizes a team’s performance against Top 25 teams along with other variables including strength of schedule.  Additionally, two regular-season rankings were released, however, the rankings are not used by the committee when determining the seeds and final bracket that was released yesterday.

When the committee compared Minnesota against other teams being considered for the top 16 seeds, Minnesota did not have as many regular-season Top 10 and Top 25 wins as compared to other teams. The teams that were selected as the 16 seeds had at least one or more Top 10 wins and between four to 18 Top 25 wins. Minnesota did not have any Top 10 wins and only two Top 25 wins.

Furthermore, Minnesota’s strength of schedule was 114. The top seeded teams had strength of schedules ranging from 1 to 36.

Again, this was a very difficult decision and should not take away from the season that Minnesota has had thus far. We are excited about the parity in Division I Softball and look forward to a great tournament. ” 

Now there some questions as a result from the statement.

“Additionally, two regular-season rankings were released, however, the rankings are not used by the committee when determining the seeds and final bracket that was released yesterday”

My Reaction :  What was purpose of two regular -season rankings that were released if the commitee does not use it? Plus this statement contradicts what we were told back in April.  Below is an excerpt.

  “For the second straight year, the sport committee will reveal the rankings ahead of Selection Sunday. The early reveals will give a first glance at potential teams competing for top seed positions in the upcoming 2017 DI Softball Championship tournament.”

If i don’t reflect what you will do on Selection Sunday then what is the point of it?

Another issue that  is not issued in the NCAA Statement Monday night is how does Minnesota who was ranked 7th on the May 6th release drop 10 spots to 17 in 8 days considering the Gophers won Big Ten Tournament adding two wins against top 35 teams in llinois and Ohio State who both made the NCAA Tournament.

Now the statement attacks Minnesota not having enough Top 10, Top 25 wins compared to the teams that are hosting and having weaker schedule then the 16 hosts site.

No one will debate the SEC and Pac 12 are by far better than the Big 10.  SEC ranked No 1 in RPI with 13 teams in NCAA Tournament, Pac 12 is 2nd in Conference RPI with 8 teams making the field. The Big Ten is 8th but still was able to get five teams into the field of 64.

However Minnesota cannot control how good the Big 10 is. They have to play Big 10 schedule that is scheduled for them which included the Conference not scheduling Michgan-Minnesota as a result of Inbalance schedule. So Minnesota loses 3 quality games to no fault of theres.

SEC Teams and Pac 12 teams will always have more opportunities for quality wins then Big 10 teams due to Geography. Easier to play quality teams in South then in the Midwest especially with weather and budgets for traveling.

Just because you dont play in the top conference of the sport does not mean you can’t be one of the best teams in the country.  Villanova won National Title in 2016 in College Basketball playing in the Big East Conference which was not close to the ACC, or Big 12 in Conference RPI.

2 years ago Michigan played for National Championship and was one win away from winning the title in Softball and got to host regional and super regional with the Big 10 being 6th best RPI conference.

So that is a flaw way to determine who are the best teams in a sport and who should host.  One thing that is a good way to determine if a team tried to play a tough schedule is look at what they did out of conference. Minnesota spent the first two months of the season on the road and did not play a home game until April 4. The Gophers only played 16 games at home out of 57. Were 20-3 in true road games  which is more then any of the team that is hosting.

Here is breakdown of Minnesota versus host teams In Non Conference quality wins thru May 7th going into the final week before Selection Sunday.

 

Team             Wins vs Top 25 Non Conf,  Wins vs Top 50 Non Conf,   Schedule Strength

Florida               4-1                                                 6-1                                       26

Oregon               5-0                                                9-0                                        45

Auburn                3-2                                              9-2                                         75

UCLA                   7-5                                              12-5                                        3

Arizona               3-1                                               8-1                                         30

Washington        6-2                                             10-3                                           7

Florida State      4-6-1                                           8-6-1                                         2

Texas AM             4-1                                            10-1                                         37

Tennessee            1-1                                             4-2                                          112

Baylor                   5-1                                             10-4                                        4

Oklahoma            3-4                                              6-5                                         28

Minnesota             2-2                                             8-2                                         81

Alabama                1-4                                             2-4                                          32

LSU                          0-3                                            4-4                                          31

Utah                        2-1                                            2-3                                           67

Kentucky                2-2                                           2-2                                          52

Ole Miss                  0-1                                            1-3                                        149

Minnesota has more top 25 wins outside of the conference than Alabama, LSU, Ole Miss and Tennessee.  Has more Top 50 wins outside of conference then Alabama, Utah, Kentucky and Ole Miss combine.

Keep in mind that all Minnesota wins happen away from home.  The Gophers non conference Schedule ranking was better than Tennessee, Ole Miss and right there with Auburn and Utah.

Sara Groenewegen (Courtesy of GophersSports.com)
Sara Groenewegen Photo Courtesy of GophersSports.com

The Gophers did what they could do outside of the conference. You can’t predict how your opponent’s end up doing after you play them.

But these numbers shows that Minnesota is right there with the host teams when it comes to quality games and quality wins. The big difference is the other hosts get more opportunities than Minnesota because of the conferences they play.

Plus Minnesota has better RIP (11) from Monday May 14th then then Oklahoma (12), LSU (14), Alabama(15), Kentucky (17), Ole Miss (18), and Utah (19).

Yet the Gophers were seeded lower while Kentucky, Ole Miss and Utah were seeded higher than the RPI.

One has to wonder if the committee panicked when Ole Miss won the SEC Tournament and had to take a host team out to put in Ole Miss in that spot?

That still does not justify Minnesota not hosting. If you had to flip Ole Miss in and take someone out. Utah, Baylor and Kentucky would be candidates to take out in favor of Ole Miss. Not Minnesota.

No matter what statements come out and any defense is used. It will not hold water and it will not change the fact that the sport integrity has been hurt and the NCAA Tournament has been compromised.

Here hoping for the sport sake in the future that we learn from this and that people take the time to do research or more importantly take the time to watch these teams play because anyone that has watched Minnesota play on TV or in person and have knowledge of sport would agree that Minnesota is one of the best 16 teams in the country.  Too Bad the committee didnt take the time catch a Gophers game.

Check out our podcast as we go in depth on what happened to Minnesota and why and field of 64.

In The Circle Podcast  Breakdown of Field of 64 

 

NCAA Regionals Recap

On this edition of In The Circle  Podcast, Eric Lopez and Victor Anderson recap the Regionals and look ahead to the Super Regionals.

In the Circle Podcast : Regionals Recap and Super Regional Outlook

Below is a breakdown of the TV Viewers for the NCAA Regionals that were shown this weekend on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU.

Sunday- May 22 –  Ohio State at Tennessee  796,000 on ESPN

                                      California at Alabama  689,000 on ESPN

                                      Texas A&M at Louisiana Lafayette  396,000 on ESPNU

Saturday May 21-  Louisiana Lafayette vs Texas 518,000 on ESPN

                                     Ole Miss at Oklahoma  474,000 on ESPN

                                       Baylor at Oregon  374,000 on ESPN

                                        Ole Miss vs Wichita State 358,000 on ESPN2

                                         Texas vs Texas AM   313,000 on  ESPN2

                                           Arizona vs Tennessee 298,000 on ESPN2

                                            Baylor vs Long Beach State 277,000 on ESPN2

                                           UCF at Florida  246,000 viewers on ESPN2

 Friday May 20-  Wichita State at Oklahoma  436,000  on ESPN

                                           Nebraska vs BYU  345,000 on ESPN

                                            Fordham at Oregon  242,000 on ESPN2

                                            Texas vs Texas AM  198,000 on ESPN2

                                            Boston U at Louisiana Lafayette 194,000 on ESPN2

                                             Long Beach State vs Baylor 182,000 on ESPN2

                                              Nebraska vs Missouri 147,000 on ESPNU

                                               Ohio State vs Arizona  114,000 on ESPNU

                                                USC UpState vs Oregon State 103,000 on ESPNU

                                                 Tulsa vs Ole Miss 85,000 on ESPNU

 Thursday May 19- BYU vs Missouri 250,000 on ESPN2

                                                        Louisville vs BYU 189,000 on ESPN2

 

Here is Super Regional Schedule.

Gainesville Super Regional 

Date Time (ET) Game/Commentators Network
Thu, May 26 7 p.m. No. 16 Georgia at No. 1 Florida
Trey Bender, Jennie Ritter
ESPN2
Fri, May 27 5 p.m. No. 1 Florida vs. No. 16 Georgia ESPN2
Fri, May 27 8 p.m. Game 3: If Necessary ESPNU


Norman Super Regional 

Date Time (ET) Game/Commentators Network
Thu, May 26 9 p.m. No. 14 Louisiana-Lafayette at No. 3 Oklahoma
 Adam Amin, Amanda Scarborough
ESPN2
Fri, May 27 7 p.m. No. 3 Oklahoma vs. No. 14 Louisiana-Lafayette ESPN2
Fri, May 27 10 p.m. Game 3: If Necessary ESPNU


Harrisonburg Super Regional 

Date Time (ET) Game/Commentators Network
Fri, May 27 3 p.m. No. 10 LSU at No. 7 James Madison
Jenn Hildreth, Carol Bruggeman
ESPNU
Sat, May 28 Noon No. 7James Madison vs. No. 10 LSU ESPN
Sat, May 28 3 p.m. Game 3: If Necessary ESPNU


Tuscaloosa Super Regional 

Date Time (ET) Game/Commentators Network
Fri, May 27 9 p.m. No. 11 Washington at No. 6 Alabama
Beth Mowins, Michele Smith, Jessica Mendoza
ESPN2
Sat, May 28 5:30 p.m. No. 6 Alabama vs. No. 11 Washington  ESPN
Sat, May 28 8:30 p.m. Game 3: If Necessary ESPN2


Tallahassee Super Regional 

Date Time (ET) Game/Commentators Network
Fri, May 27 5 p.m. Utah at No. 8 Florida State
Cara Capuano, Leah Amico
ESPNU
Sat, May 28 4:30 p.m. No. 8 Florida State vs. Utah ESPN2
Sat, May 28 7:30 p.m. Game 3: If Necessary ESPN


Ann Arbor Super Regional 

Date Time (ET) Game/Commentators Network
Sat, May 28 3 p.m. No. 15 Missouri at No. 2 Michigan
Pam Ward, Cheri Kempf
ESPN
Sun, May 29 Noon No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 15 Missouri  ESPN
Sun, May 29 3 p.m. Game 3: If Necessary ESPNU


Auburn Super Regional 

Date Time (ET) Game/Commentators Network
Sat, May 28 6:30 p.m. Arizona at No. 4 Auburn
Tiffany Greene, Jenny Dalton-Hill
ESPN2
Sun, May 29 2 p.m. No. 4 Auburn vs. Arizona   ESPN
Sun, May 29 5 p.m. Game 3: If Necessary ESPNU

Eugene Super Regional 

Date Time (ET) Game/Commentators Network
Sat, May 28 9:30 p.m. No. 12 UCLA at No. 5 Oregon
Mark Neely, Danielle Lawrie
ESPN
Sun, May 29 7 p.m. No. 5 Oregon vs. No. 12 UCLA   ESPNU
Sun, May 29 10 p.m. Game 3: If Necessary ESPNU

Networks and schedule are subject to change

 

 

 

 

                                            

NCAA Softball Tournament Outlook

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On this edition of  In The Circle Podcast, Eric Lopez and Victor Anderson break down the NCAA Softball Tournament. They breakdown all the regionals as well as disect how the committee did. What mistakes did the committee make?

  • Who has toughest regional
  • Who has easiest regional
  • Who missed Tournament that Should be In?
  • Who in Tournament that should not Be In?

In The Circle Podcast : NCAA Tournament Outlook

DATES/SITES/PAIRINGS:

*Indicates Host Institution

Gainesville Regional – May 20-22 at Gainesville, Floridatimwalton-300x1861

No. 1 seed Florida* (53-5) vs. Alabama St. (28-25)

Florida Atlantic (50-7) vs. UCF (36-20)

 

Athens Regional – May 20-22 at Athens, Georgia

Oklahoma St. (29-24) vs. Northwestern (26-26)

Maine (28-19) vs. No. 16 seed Georgia* (40-17)

 

Lexington Regional – May 20-22 at Lexington, Kentucky

No. 9 seed Kentucky* (43-12) vs. Butler (28-22)

Illinois (35-21) vs. Utah (32-19)

 

Tallahassee Regional – May 20-22 at Tallahassee, Florida

lonni-alameda
FSU’s Lonni Alameda

South Fla. (44-14) vs. South Carolina (36-21)

Florida A&M (27-28) vs. No. 8 seed Florida St.* (48-8)

 

Eugene Regional – May 20-22 at Eugene, Oregon

No. 5 seed Oregon* (44-8) vs. Fordham (39-19)

Long Beach St. (32-20) vs. Baylor (43-12)

 

Los Angeles Regional – May 20-22 at Los Angeles, California

Fresno St. (41-10-1) vs. Cal St. Fullerton (43-14)

Cal St. Bakersfield (16-32) vs. No. 12 seed UCLA* (35-13-1)

 

Knoxville Regional – May 20-22 at Knoxville, Tennessee

No. 13 seed Tennessee* (41-14) vs. Marist (45-11)

Ohio St. (33-18-1) vs. Arizona (36-19)

 

Auburn Regional – May 20-22 at Auburn, Alabama

Clint Myers
Clint Myers

Oregon St. (30-18-1) vs. USC Upstate (43-12)

Jacksonville St. (41-15) vs. No. 4 seed Auburn* (49-9)
Norman Regional – May 20-22 at Norman, Oklahoma

 

No. 3 seed Oklahoma * (47-7) vs. Wichita St. (35-19)

Tulsa (35-19) vs. Ole Miss (39-20)

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Lafayette Regional – May 20-22 at Lafayette, Louisiana

Texas A&M (37-18) vs. Texas (37-14)

Boston U. (28-22) vs. No. 14 seed La.-Lafayette* (43-7)

 

Seattle Regional – May 20-22 at Seattle, Washington

No. 11 seed Washington* (36-13) vs. Weber St. (37-17)

North Dakota St. (38-13) vs. Minnesota (41-12)

 

Tuscaloosa Regional – May 20-22 at Tuscaloosa, Alabama

WSB
WSB

California (31-22-1) vs. Texas St. (39-20)

Samford (40-18) vs. No. 6 seed Alabama* (46-12)

 

Harrisonburg Regional – May 20-22 at Harrisonburg, Virginia

No. 7 seed James Madison* (46-4) vs. Princeton (23-26)

Longwood (38-18) vs. North Carolina (31-23)

 

Baton Rouge Regional – May 20-22 at Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Beth Torina
Beth Torina – Photo by LSUSports.Net

McNeese St. (42-12) vs. Arizona St. (30-25)

LIU Brooklyn (30-25) vs. No. 10 seed LSU* (45-15)

 

Columbia  Regional – May 19-21 at Columbia, Missouri

No. 15 seed Missouri* (39-14) vs. BYU (35-19)

Louisville (35-15) vs. Nebraska (33-19)

 

Ann Arbor Regional – May 20-22 at Ann Arbor, Michigan

032112-ajc-softball-michigan-vs-eastern-michigan-25_fullsize-thumb-333x451-107955

Notre Dame (41-11) vs. Miami (OH) (34-21)

Valparaiso (18-32) vs. No. 2 seed Michigan* (46-5)