Only one team and three games stand between the Arizona Wildcats and a third straight trip to the Women’s College World Series. The team is Mississippi State, but the question was where the games would be held after the Bulldogs eliminated No. 2 seed Florida State and the Wildcats did the same to No. 15 seed Missouri.
The NCAA Softball Selection Committee released the answer shortly after the games were completed. Arizona will head back to SEC country and Starkville, Miss. for Super Regionals.
Teams that want to host submit bids before the regional round in case the seeds get knocked out. Reports are that both Mississippi State and Arizona submitted bids.
Justin McLeod of Extra Innings Softball reported that the selection of the host is based both on that bid and on the teams’ resumes. The Wildcats have both an impeccable history of hosting the NCAA postseason and a bigger stadium while the Bulldogs have never even been in a Super Regional let alone hosted one. On the other hand, the Bulldogs win the comparison of selection criteria. Mississippi State went into the NCAA tournament with an RPI of 30. Arizona sat at 43.
Answer from the NCAA on how the host team is chosen for an Unseeded vs. Unseeded Supers matchup:— Justin McLeod (@justfactsmaam) May 23, 2022
"In that circumstance, the committee meets and uses the same criteria that's used for selection and seeding and reviews the bids the schools submitted before the tournament."
Arizona and Mississippi State last faced each other in the postseason at the 2018 Tucson Regional. At the time, Bulldog catcher Mia Davidson was a talented freshman. She is now the SEC leader in career home runs with 91. The Wildcats eliminated MSU from the postseason with a 4-3 victory in the regional championship.
The Wildcats and Bulldogs are not the only unseeded teams to face off in a Super Regional. The Pac-12 is guaranteed to get at least one team into the WCWS out of the other Super Regional featuring two teams who had to travel for Regionals.
It was a bad weekend for SEC teams hosting Pac-12 squads. In addition to Arizona dismissing Missouri, Stanford will host Oregon State after the Cardinal eliminated sixth-seeded Alabama and the Beavers knocked out No. 11 seed Tennessee.