Eight for OKC: Will any road teams shake up the WCWS field with super-regional upsets?
The field of 64 has been trimmed to 16, and by Sunday night, the Women’s College World Series bracket will be set.
All but one of the top 16 seeds in the tournament advanced to the super-regional round, and the top eight seeds will host best-of-three series between Thursday and Sunday.
Let’s take a look at the favorites to make it to the WCWS in the final edition of Eight for OKC:
Conference: Big 12
Super-regional opponent: Northwestern
The Sooners got a taste of mortality with the regional loss to Wisconsin before bouncing back to advance. Though the winning streak snapped at 41, OU remains the favorite.
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Super-regional opponent: James Madison
Like OU, the Bruins also had to survive an if-necessary game in their regional. Now, they get to take on the only team to come through a regional on another team’s home field. James Madison upset No. 15 Michigan to advance.
Super-regional opponent: Kentucky
A 2-0 win over Fordham in the first round aside, Washington breezed through its regional with a pair of victories over Mississippi State. Now, Washington takes another step up in SEC competition against a Kentucky team that was hardly pushed in its regional.
4. Florida State
Super-regional opponent: Oklahoma State
Defending national champion FSU rallied to avoid an if-necessary game against South Carolina in the regional final, and will face a Cowgirl squad that is playing with confidence after surviving a couple tough tests in regionals.
Super-regional opponent: Tennessee
The only super-regional pitting conference opponents, Florida dropped two of three home games to Tennessee in early March. The Gators, however, have allowed more than one run only once in their last eight games.
Super-regional opponent: Ole Miss
Trying to avoid a full decade of seasons ending without a trip to the WCWS, Arizona handled one SEC opponent, Auburn, in two regional games. Ole Miss barely escaped upset with a 5-4 defeat of Louisiana in the win-or-go-home game last week.
Conference: Big 10
Super-regional opponent: LSU
The NCAA selection committee took some criticism for seeding Minnesota so high, but the Golden Gophers held up their end with a pair of wins over a WCWS regular, Georgia, in regionals.
Super-regional opponent: Texas
Six SEC teams remain, but only two are hosting this week. Bama gets a Texas team that has ridden a roller-coaster lately with three losses in its last seven games. But the Longhorns played their way through the loser’s bracket of their own regional to advance.