MAY 17 2010 UPDATE
Today’s Update will be in two parts, ie, the first installment below will be updated later. Check back.
SPY has published three important tables on www.spysoftball.org. The formats could not be converted for inclusion on spysoftball.com.
First, SPY has republished the May 9 NCAA RPI data, highlighting the comparative RPI scores for the 64 teams who have earned or been awarded berths in this weekend’s NCAA D! Regionals. Note that the scores range from #1 Alabama to #266 Alcorn State, and include each of the highest ranked 46 teams. Note also that, with the exception of #50 Nebraska, the other 18 teams earned their tournament berths by winning automatic berths through conference championships. Or, said another way, each of the 34 at-large selections rank among the 46 highest-ranking teams in Division I, as measure by RPI. There were 30 automatic bids, one for each conference.
Several readers suggested to SPY a hope NCAA would select more mid-majors. Other such selections would fall outside the top 50 RPI rankings.
The fact is that 21 of the 34 at-large bids are from the four major power conferences: SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac 10. If one considers ACC as a power – 4 bids – or Big East as a power – 4 bids – then 29 of the 34 at-large bids are from major conferences. The five exceptions: Fresno State, UCF, FIU, Fordham and Illinois State. The Big 12, Pac 10, and SEC each has 7 teams in regionals, the ACC five.
There is some diversity. Fresno State is the only team which has been selected for all 29 championships. There are ten newcomers: UAB, Alcorn State, Bucknell, Elon, Fordham, Lipscomb, McNeese State, St Mary’s College of California, Iona and Virginia.
Readers have expressed some curiosity, eg, why is Oklahoma, ranked 8th in the polls, and 11th in RPI, is seeded 14th by NCAA. And, if OU wins at Maryland, they could have to cross the country again to play the Washington Huskies (assuming they win their regional). Note that Oregon and Arizona State also have to commute long distances to Atlanta and Amherst, while Cal travels to Ohio and Cornell to Tucson.
Second, SPY has posted the NCAA seedings for Divisions II and III, also on spysoftball.org.
Third, SPY is reformatting the NCAA spreadsheet-type brackets (which won’t fit on spy.com) and will post it on spy.org.
MORE TO COME
MAY 17 UPDATE CONTINUED
BIG 12 ENDS CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT
By Wendell Barnhouse | firstname.lastname@example.org
In the words of a Big 12 administrator, a perfect storm created the opportunity to wipe out the Big 12 Softball Championship.
The 2010 event, which will take place Friday through Sunday at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, will be the last of its kind. Ironically, it’s the oldest postseason tournament in the young conference’s history. In 1996, before the Big 12 started competition, 10 teams from the Big Eight and Southwest conferences played a league schedule and staged a postseason tournament.
The decision to do away with the Big 12 Softball Championship evolved because of a number of factors. May is finals month for most Big 12 schools and faculty athletic representatives were concerned about the tournament conflicting with final exams. Because of those two points, the Big 12 Softball Championship was reduced from double-elimination to single-elimination in 2007. Staging a single-elimination event, where some teams traveled to play just one game, became anti-climatic. With the move to single-elimination, the annual end-of-season banquet where individual awards were announced, was also truncated.
By eliminating the conference tournament, the conference schedule had “room to breathe.” Starting next season, midweek Big 12 games will be reduced from three to one which reduces missed class time. The new schedule also gives teams another home weekend series which is beneficial, especially to the north teams that don’t play much at home in the early part of the season. The winner of the Big 12 Championship earns the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The automatic bid will now go to the regular-season champion.
NEW PRO TEAM WITH A SOMEWHAT NOVEL APPROACH
|All-Pro Dynasty Fastpitch Professional Teams to Train & Play at University of Maryland
U.S. Professional All-Stars and Dynasty 6 Teams to Debut June 11-12
|Sparks, MD – The U.S. Professional All-Stars and Dynasty 6, a pair of traveling professional women’s fastpitch teams created by Maryland-based firm API Sports Management & Marketing and Atlanta-based Dynasty Media and Entertainment, LLC, will hold their preseason training camp and open play for their summer 2010 tour next month at the University of Maryland. The teams will train at Maryland from June 5-10 before hosting a festival weekend that will include three games, meet-and-greet opportunities and interactive clinics June 11-12 at the Robert E. Taylor Softball Stadium on the university’s campus.
The weekend will consist of a Friday night game featuring the U.S. Professional All-Stars against a team of collegiate all-stars. That contest will get underway at 7 p.m. Those two teams will meet again Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m., followed by a Dynasty 6 charity game at 5 p.m. Players will be available throughout the event to sign autographs and answer questions from players, parents and coaches, and there will be several mini-clinics with the pros beginning Saturday morning at 9 a.m.
Tickets, which cost $5 per person for each individual game or $10 for a weekend pass that includes admission to all three contests, can be purchased by calling 410-472-3500 or at www.USAllStarTeam.com.
The U.S. Professional All-Stars is a team comprised of current and former U.S. National Team players, U.S. Futures Team players, former college All-Americans and national champions. That team will compete during the festival weekends against top women’s teams from around the country, international teams, teams of college all-stars and possibly in fall tournaments against college teams. Some players who have committed to play for the All-Stars include 2008 College Player of the Year Angela Tincher, U.S. National Team members Katie Cochran and Ashley Charters and U.S. Futures Team member Jenae’ Leles.
The Dynasty 6 is a six-person team of select women from the U.S. Professional All-Stars, including those named above, who will compete against any full team of male challengers in charity events during the festival weekends and throughout the year. This group, created in honor of the hugely successful King and His Court and Queen and Her Court/Maids teams that toured the country for years, will take on local firefighters, police, military personnel, celebrities, professional athletes from other sports, etc.
The U.S. Professional All-Stars and the Dynasty 6 teams will tour the country starting in June, participating in similar weekend fastpitch festivals in locations such as Atlanta; Baltimore-Washington; New York; Worcester, MA; Norfolk, VA; and Tulsa, OK. Dates and times of each event – along with additional locations – will be announced shortly.
The goal of All-Pro Dynasty Fastpitch is to open doors for the millions of young girls playing the sport to interact with female professional role models, learn from athletes who have reached the sport’s highest level and see that they can pursue fastpitch into college and beyond. In turn, the hope is to expose the sport and its athletes to new demographics and markets around the country and help the hard-working pro-level fastpitch athletes be able to truly make a living doing what they love while at the same time giving back to the sport.
For more information about the U.S. Professional All-Stars or the Dynasty 6, or to inquire about how to bring them to your city or town, please call 410-472-3500 or send an email to Scott@API-MGMT.com.
Tomorrow: SPY comments on Kagan, profiling, and final conference awards
A READER SUGGESTS:
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This is so simple that it’s brilliant. I can see it now: you’re in the airport terminal and you hear a muffled explosion. Shortly thereafter an announcement comes over the PA system, “Attention standby passengers we now have a seat available on flight 62