The 2016 NCAA Softball Tournament bracket was announced on Sunday night, and the Arizona Wildcats are in the field for the 30th-straight year.
The Wildcats do keep the longest active streak of tournament appearances alive, but they will play the Regional round on the road for the first time since 2013, and just the 12th time ever. They will head to Knoxville, where the Ohio State Buckeyes await on Friday. Ohio State is also an at-large team. The Buckeyes finished 6th in the Big Ten (Arizona was 5th in the Pac-12). OSU posted an overall record of 33-18-1 in 2016. Arizona was 36-19.
If Arizona were to defeat Ohio State on Friday, it's likely that another traditional softball power, the Tennessee Volunteers, would await the Wildcats. Arizona defeated Tennessee 1-0 earlier this season in Tuscaloosa, AL. Danielle O'Toole threw a shutout in that game, striking out seven Vols. The lone run was a homer by Mandie Perez to start the game.
Tennessee finished third in the SEC this year, finishing with a 41-14 record. Also in the Knoxville Regional is Marist. The Red Foxes were 45-11 this year, 16-4 in the MAAC. A 3-2 win over Monmouth on Saturday clinched the automatic bid for Marist.
Arizona's game against Ohio State will begin at 1:30 PM PT on ESPNU on Friday. Tennessee/Marist will be at 4 PM PT on ESPN2.