For the second straight season, Arizona softball is firmly on the bubble for selection to the NCAA postseason. Last year, the Wildcats made it under the wire to make the 35th straight postseason. That team ended with a 33-20 regular season record but made a run all the way to the Women’s College World Series. Can a 29-25 team that ended No. 51 in the RPI do the same?
The RPI is not fond of Arizona, but other ranking systems think more highly of the Wildcats due to the strength of their out-of-conference schedule and the Pac-12. Boyds World had the Wildcats at No. 29 last season and No. 32 this year. The conference Iterative Strength Ratings rank the Pac-12 as the top league by a considerable margin. Massey ratings are similarly more impressed by the Wildcats than the RPI is, ranking them at No. 24 after the games played on Friday, May 12.
The RPI is the NCAA’s own metric, though. Will falling so low in that metric be the end of Arizona’s 35-season streak or will the young Wildcats make it 36?
“I think that’s why I’m crying is we don’t know,” fifth-year catcher Izzy Pacho said after the Pac-12 tournament loss to UCLA. “I don’t think anybody knows except for those people that are in the room. I’m fighting for us. I believe in us. I believe that we have more games to play and we deserve it. We are the team that can make a run at the end. We proved it last year, but I definitely just think that the emotions are here because there are a lot of unknowns right now.”
The answers will come on Sunday, May 14 at 4 p.m. MST. The NCAA softball selection show will air on ESPN2.
If the Wildcats are selected, regionals run from Friday May 19 through Sunday May 21. Super Regionals follow from May 25-28, and the Women’s College World Series runs from June 1-9.