March 9, 2012
Just two weeks until the start of the Big Ten softball season, teams are strengthening their schedules during the non-conference portion of their campaigns. Through the first six weeks of the non-conference season, Big Ten teams were slated to make 117 appearances against teams that advanced to the 2011 NCAA Tournament. As part of 50 preseason tournaments during the first six weeks of the season, one of which will be hosted by a Big Ten school, conference squads are in the midst of playing at least 24 games each away from home to start the year.
Through the first four weeks of the 2012:
- Big Ten teams have combined for 30 wins over teams that appeared in the top 50 of the 2011 final RPI, and have recorded 58 victories against teams in the top 100 of RPI from the end of the 2011 season.
- Eight Big Ten teams have either reached the 10 wins mark or boast a .500 or better record thus far in 2012.
- Every Big Ten team has faced at least opponent appearing in the top 25 or receiving votes through the first four weeks of the non-conference season.
- Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Northwestern and Wisconsin have faced six or more top-25 teams this season.
- As many as five Big Ten teams have been ranked or receiving votes in either the National Fastpitch Coaches Association or USA Softball weekly polls
- Seven Big Ten schools have earned at least one Big Ten Player, Pitcher or Freshman of the Week accolade.
- Three Big Ten players were selected in the 2012 National Professional Fastpitch draft, behind only the Pac-12 and SEC for most players chosen in this year’s draft.
- Michigan’s Amanda Chidester and Ohio State’s Alicia Herron were selected 11th and 14th overall, respectively, by the Akron Races and Northwestern’s Adrienne Monka was chosen 18th overall by the Chicago Bandits.