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NCAA Softball | Why Were Sooners Seeded So Low?

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Rich DeCray

Oklahoma softball earned an 11th overall seed in the NCAA softball tournament, days removed from wrapping up their fourth Big 12 championship in a row. The Sooners finished fifth in the coaches poll, so when Sooner fans saw that Oklahoma was the 11th ranked overall team in the tournament, it was a big surprise. The Sooners have been bubbling around the top five nearly all season, which makes people question the Sooners seeding.

They did have 45 wins and a Big 12 title. It's not like the Sooners were less dominant than they have been the past couple of years. Lauren Chamberlain and Paige Parker combine for about as much star power as you can possibly ask for, so why is the committee doubting Oklahoma?

Was it the lack of another powerhouse Big 12 team? Not strong enough non-conference schedule? SEC dominance?

After not seeing Baylor in the top 16, I think I'm going to lean toward the Big 12's down year as the main reason for the low seeding. The Bears were the Sooners lone competition in Big 12 play this season, and hosted them in Norman going 2-1 against the Big 12 runner ups. Baylor and Texas were the only ones who could really keep up with the Sooners in the Big 12 standings, winning 12 conference games a piece. Both were selected into the tournament regional, along with Kansas. Oklahoma went a combined 7-2 against those teams. All three teams could beat the Sooners, but none played well enough to take a series away from them.

Outside of those teams, the Big 12 didn't have any other teams with winning records.

You also have to count in the fact that Patty Gasso's squad had four winnable games cancelled. Win those four games, and the Sooners are tied with Auburn for third most wins in the NCAA, only behind top seeded Florida and Michigan. Playing in a major conference, I don't think the Sooners would have been given the 11th overall seed if those games were played. First, the North Texas series in March was cancelled due to rain. Then the crazy and bipolar Oklahoma weather ruined the Bedlam series (Oklahoma had already won the first game before the last two were cancelled due to rain) in what could of been Oklahoma's final two victories of the regular season. Those four possible victories would of likely sealed a better seeding.

So in the committee's eyes, the Sooners were not worthy of a top five or even a top 10 seed in the tournament due to their weak conference schedule. Despite their seed however, Oklahoma still has a decent shot at making it back to the College World Series. They have a manageable regional field, followed by a  potential showdown with no. 6 seed Alabama in the Super Regionals, with a chance to head back to Oklahoma City for the Women's College World Series if they win. The Sooners were bounced out of the tournament in the WCWS last year by Alabama and Oregon, but still made it that far as a seven seed.

Oklahoma will play the regional in Norman this weekend against Central Arkansas, Lehigh, and Texas A&M.