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Arizona softball on bubble for top-8 seed heading into Oregon series

COLLEGE SOFTBALL: FEB 18 USA at Arizona Photo by Jacob Snow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

If the season ended today, the Arizona softball team would more or less be a coin flip to earn one of those coveted top-8 national seeds in the NCAA Tournament.

The latest NFCA Coaches Poll, released Tuesday, has the Wildcats as the No. 7 team in the country, up two spots from the week before.

The other metrics aren’t so favorable. Arizona moved up two spots in the D1 Softball poll—from No. 12 to No. 10—and check in at 11 in RPI. They are No. 10 in the USA Softball poll.

There is plenty of opportunity to keep climbing with a road series against Oregon and home series against UCLA rounding out Arizona’s regular-season schedule. The Ducks are No. 12 in the latest NFCA poll. The Bruins are No. 2.

The Wildcats are three spots ahead of Arizona State in the NFCA poll even though the Sun Devils took three of four from Arizona in Tempe a few weeks ago. Since then, the Wildcats have won six straight, sweeping consecutive home series against bottom-feeders Utah and Cal.

Arizona is only 2-8 against ranked teams, however, so the Oregon trip will be a good measuring stick and possibly a make-or-break series for UA’s hopes of being one of the eight teams lucky enough to host Regionals and Super Regionals (should they advance that far). In my opinion, Arizona needs to go at least 4-4 against Oregon and UCLA to feel confident heading into Selection Sunday.

College Sports Madness currently projects Arizona as the 12-seed, which would put them in line to face No. 5 Alabama in a Super Regional in Tuscaloosa.

Arizona is only 9-8 on the road compared to 24-0 at home.

“Playing at [home] is just a different feeling,” redshirt freshman catcher Sharlize Palacios said last week. “I mean, you love playing at home, you have your fans there, you have people that support you there and I think we just go in with a different type of swagger when we’re at home. And we practice there, you get all your reps in there, so it’s kind of a comfortable place for us. But I think we’re on the way of learning how to work on the road...and I think Oregon is going to be a really good test for us for that.”

NFCA Poll Top 25

  1. Oklahoma
  2. UCLA
  3. Alabama
  4. Florida
  5. Washington
  6. Florida State
  7. Arizona
  8. Arkansas
  9. Oklahoma State
  10. Arizona State
  11. Texas
  12. Oregon
  13. Clemson
  14. Louisiana
  15. Missouri
  16. LSU
  17. Tennessee
  18. Kentucky
  19. Michigan
  20. Virginia Tech
  21. Duke
  22. Georgia
  23. Minnesota
  24. James Madison
  25. Wichita State