Feb. 4, 2005
The 2005 edition of Big Ten softball opens this weekend, as three Conference teams are set to compete. Illinois, ranked No. 22 in the USA Today/NFCA Division I Preseason Top 25 poll, will travel to Waco, Texas for the Getterman Classic on Friday-Sunday, February 4-6. The Fighting Illini, who tied for second in the League standings and placing second in the NCAA Regional last season, will face Centenary College and host Baylor in Friday's first round.
Indiana heads to Las Vegas, Nev., where the Hoosiers will face Cal-State Northridge in the first game of the Alexis Resort Classic on Friday. Indiana will also take on UTEP, UNLV, Utah State and Marshall in the tournament.
Northwestern also opens its tournament season this weekend where the Wildcats will face tough competition at the Pepsi Arizona Softball Classic in Tucson, Ariz. NU will take on three teams (Kansas, Oklahoma State and Tulsa), who received votes in the preseason poll along with host No. 3 Arizona.
Eighth-ranked Michigan, Iowa, Purdue, Minnesota and Wisconsin will open their 2005 non-conference slates next week, while Michigan State, Ohio State and Penn State begin tournament play the weekend of February 18-20.
Big Ten softball squads look to continue their long string of success in the NCAA postseason. Last year, the League was awarded six spots in the 2004 NCAA Tournament field, marking the third consecutive year that the Big Ten had five or more teams advance to postseason play. Last year, Michigan collected the 2004 Big Ten regular season title, while also earning its seventh trip to the WCWS to lead all League schools.