All 16 NCAA regional softball tournaments were completed by Sunday, creating several intriguing storylines throughout the remainder of the postseason.
Here’s a look at four things to watch during this weekend’s NCAA Super Regional action:
CHAMPIONSHIP REMATCH: Seventh-seeded Oklahoma and 10th-seeded Tennessee both went 3-0 as regional hosts last weekend, setting up a rematch of last year’s WCWS championship series in Norman this weekend. OU (48-10) swept the Lady Vols (45-10) in two games to win the 2013 title. There’s also a past-championship series matchup from 2009 in the Gainesville (Fla.) Super Regional, with fifth-seeded Florida taking on 12th-seeded Washington.
THE UNDERDOG STORY: Unseeded Nebraska made a remarkable run to winning a regional title in Columbia, Mo., with two wins over 15th-seeded Missouri on Sunday. The Huskers (44-16) lost their first game of the regional before winning four straight to advance. They’ll take on second-seeded Alabama (48-11), which has been a favorite to make the final eight all season. The Crimson Tide is led by star pitcher Jaclyn Traina (22-3), who guided Bama to a national title in 2012. She’ll be tested against a Nebraska lineup that scored 19 runs in two games Sunday behind four home runs from Hailey Decker on the day.
THE MID-MAJOR: Louisiana-Lafayette is the only super-regional qualifier not from the Big 12, SEC, Big Ten, ACC, or Pac-12. But the sixth-seeded Ragin’ Cajuns (47-8-1) are no Cinderella as they’ve made WCWS appearances in 2003 and 2008. In order to make a third trip to OKC, they’ll have to get by 11-seed Arizona (44-14) in Lafayette, La., this weekend.
GOPHER IT: After advancing to a Super Regional for the first time ever, Minnesota will be looking to earn its first appearance in the WCWS while taking on top-seed Oregon (52-7-1) in Eugene, Ore. The 16th-seeded Golden Gophers (44-10) went 3-1 as a regional host over the weekend, and won their first Big Ten tournament title since 1999 a week earlier.