May 11, 2014
ROSEMONT, Ill.- Five Big Ten teams were selected to the 2014 NCAA Softball Tournament, as announced on the NCAA Selection Show Sunday night. Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern and Wisconsin will represent the conference in this year's bracket, which will get underway on Thursday with regional action. Minnesota will host the Minneapolis Regional as the No. 16 seed. The five Big Ten teams selected to the field are the most since 2009.
Michigan advances to its 22nd NCAA Tournament, having appeared in every event since 1995. The Wolverines, who have earned berths to 10 Women's College World Series previously in their history, earned a share of the Big Ten Championship and were the Big Ten Tournament runner-up. Michigan will open play in the Tempe Regional against San Diego State on Friday at 3:30 p.m. ET in a game that will be televised on ESPNU. Ninth-seeded Arizona State will host the regional.
Minnesota, which captured its first Big Ten Tournament Championship since 1999 on Saturday, returns to the NCAA bracket for the second straight season and will make its ninth all-time appearance. The Gophers will host the Minneapolis Regional, and take on Green Bay on Friday. Also taking part in the Minneapolis Regional will be Auburn and North Dakota State. Minnesota will be hosting a regional for the second time in program history after also serving as a host in 2002.
Nebraska makes its 22nd appearance in the NCAA Tournament and the 18th in the last 20 seasons. The Huskers, who advanced to the Women's College World Series last season, won a share of the 2014 Big Ten Championship after posting an 18-5 record in conference play. Nebraska will face Kansas on Friday in the Columbia Regional at Columbia, Mo., with No. 15 Missouri and Bradley also taking part in the regional.
Northwestern is making its 14th overall appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats hosted the Big Ten Tournament as the No. 5 seed, advancing to the quarterfinals. Northwestern will take on BYU in the Seattle Regional on Thursday. Washington, the No. 12 seed in the NCAA Tournament field, will host the regional. The Wildcats defeated Washington in the first game of the Mary Nutter Classic on Feb. 21.
Wisconsin will make its fifth appearance in the NCAA Tournament and second in as many years. The Badgers will be a part of the Eugene Regional for the second straight season, and will face Albany in Friday's first round. No. 1 overall seed Oregon and Utah Valley State will also take part in the Eugene Regional. Wisconsin recorded two of its three all-time NCAA Tournament wins last year in the Eugene Regional.
The 64-team field is divided into 16, four-team double elimination regionals, which begin Thursday. The 16 regional winners advance to super regionals, where eight will emerge as Women's College World Series participants.