Monday, May 11, 2015

2015 Women's College World Series Predictions

Yesterday, the 2015 NCAA Tournament bracket was announced for softball. After looking at the field and seeing that the Florida Gators had the #1 overall seed, I thought it would be fun to do a little "May Madness" and predict who would advance out of each region and win the whole tournament! So without any hesitation, here are my predictions! Enjoy!


Gainesville Regional
Hofstra (37-12-1)
Florida Atlantic (37-17-1)
#1 Florida (50-6)
Florida A&M (18-37)

Winner: #1 Florida over FAU in regional final

Why: Florida is the best team in the country and will be playing every game at home in Gainesville. No team in this region has a CHANCE of beating the Gators!

Notre Dame Regional
Northwestern (28-21)
Kentucky (29-24)
#16 Notre Dame (40-13)
Ball State (33-23)

Winner: Kentucky over #16 Notre Dame in regional final

Why: It would be easy to pick the Notre Dame Fightin' Irish, but I have a good feeling about Kentucky! Even though they finished second to last in the SEC this year, Kentucky made it to the Women's College World Series last year and will show how the tough gauntlet of the SEC has prepared them for postseason play.

Tallahassee Regional
UCF (48-7)
South Carolina (37-20)
#9 Florida State (45-12)
Dartmouth (25-16)

Winner: #9 Florida State over UCF in regional final

Why: I despise Florida State immensely, but I know a good team when I see one. They are the 2015 ACC Regular Season and Tournament Champions and should not face too much trouble getting out of this region. UCF may give them a dogfight though!

Knoxville Regional
Virginia Tech (34-21)
Utah (34-17)
#8 Tennessee (42-14)
Longwood (33-23)

Winner: #8 Tennessee over Utah in regional final

Why: Tennessee suffered a heartbreaking walk off loss to Auburn in extra innings of the SEC Tournament Championship game. Fresh off such a brutal loss, the Lady Vols will be more focused and determined than ever before. Teams in this region better watch out!

Baton Rouge Regional
Arizona State (34-20)
Nebraska (34-21)
#5 LSU (44-11)
Texas Southern (25-16)

Winner: #5 LSU over Nebraska in regional final

Why: LSU was dominant in SEC play as the Tigers finished in the top five of the conference during the regular season. They might face some stiff competition, but should be able to win their way out of regional play into a Super Regional.

Tucson Regional
New Mexico State (46-14)
Minnesota (46-9)
#12 Arizona (38-17)
St. John's (28-17)

Winner: Minnesota over #12 Arizona in regional final

Why: Minnesota was second in the Big 10 regular season standings and will be out for blood after losing in their first game of the Big 10 Tournament. They made it to a Super Regional last year and will want to prove to the nation that their early loss to Iowa in the Big 10 Tournament was just a fluke. 

Lafayette Regional
Baylor (38-14)
Mississippi State (35-19)
#13 UL-Lafayette (39-9)
Weber State (38-17)

Winner: #13 UL-Lafayette over Baylor in regional final

Why: The Ragin' Cajuns made it to the WCWS last year and went two games and out. Having lost just two seniors from last year's team, ULL will look to make some noise this postseason yet again.

Auburn Regional
Chattanooga (35-13)
South Alabama (38-11)
#4 Auburn (49-9)
Tennessee Tech (32-26)

Winner: #4 Auburn over South Alabama in regional final

Why: Auburn just barely finished second in the SEC regular season standings and won the SEC Tournament in dramatic fashion. They will mop the floor with the teams in this region.

Ann Arbor Regional
California (38-16)
Pittsburgh (35-20)
#3 Michigan (51-6)
Oakland (27-12)

Winner: #3 Michigan over Pittsburgh in regional final

Why: Michigan won both the Big 10 regular season and tournament titles. After just missing out on the WCWS last year, they should easily be able to roll right ahead into Super Regional play.

Athens Regional
Western Kentucky (34-12)
North Carolina (36-14)
#14 Georgia (40-14)
Central Connecticut State (31-12)

Winner: #14 Georgia over North Carolina in regional final

Why: I am loosely confident in Georgia. The reason being that Georgia lost to North Carolina head-to-head in the regular season by a score of 15-9 on April 1st. Regardless, I think the Bulldogs will turn it on in the postseason and find away to fight past the Tarheels.

Norman Regional
Texas A&M (38-18)
Lehigh (39-7)
#11 Oklahoma (45-7)
Central Arkansas (35-19)

Winner: #11 Oklahoma over Texas A&M in regional final

Why: Oklahoma has been a prolific college softball power, having won its second national title just two years ago. After winning the Big 12 this year, Oklahoma is ready to get back in the spotlight and should have no problem winning this regional.

Tuscaloosa Regional
South Carolina Upstate (43-8)
Washington (40-15)
#6 Alabama (42-12)
Fairfield (25-22)

Winner: #6 Alabama over Washington in regional final

Why: Alabama has appeared in the WCWS in two of the last three years with a championship three years ago. They finished third in the SEC regular season standings and lost to Auburn in the SEC Tournament Semifinals. The Crimson Tide will be ready to roll and should not lose a game in this regional.

Los Angeles Regional
Texas (36-15)
San Diego State (36-18)
#7 UCLA (45-10)
California State Northridge (41-15)

Winner: #7 UCLA over San Diego State in regional final

Why: UCLA finished second in the Pac-12 this year and appeared in a Super Regional last year. With a team boasting nine seniors, watch out for the Bruins as they look to make a WCWS run this year.

Columbia Regional
Louisville (30-17)
Kansas (38-13)
#10 Missouri (39-14)
Indiana State (26-29)

Winner: Louisville over #10 Missouri in regional final

Why: The Cardinals finished fourth in the ACC regular season standings and were bounced in the first round of the ACC Tournament. However, I have a good feeling about the Cards in the postseason and I think they will turn some heads as they stun #10 Missouri in the final to make to the first Super Regional in school history. 

Harrisonburg Regional
North Carolina State (35-20)
Fordham (36-18)
#15 James Madison (47-8)
Binghamton (24-19)

Winner: #15 James Madison over Fordham in regional final

Why: James Madison won the Colonial Athletic Association regular season title, but fell in the conference championship to Hofstra. I do not know much about JMU, but I think they have enough firepower to make it out of this regional.

Eugene Regional
Fresno State (40-14)
North Dakota State (43-9)
#2 Oregon (46-6)
BYU (39-12)

Winner: #2 Oregon over Fresno State in regional final

Why: Oregon claimed its third straight Pac-12 regular season title and came within two wins of reaching the WCWS Final. With a solid group of juniors and seniors leading the charge this year, Oregon should not have that many problems winning this regional.

Super Regionals
Now that I have predicted the regional winners, it is now on to the Super Regionals! Keep in mind that a team just needs to win two out of three games to advance to the Women's College World Series!

Gainesville Super Regional
#1 Florida vs Kentucky

Winner: #1 Florida

Why: Florida swept Kentucky at home in mid-April. The Wildcats will pose no problem for the Gators.

Knoxville Super Regional
#8 Tennessee vs #9 Florida State

Winner: #8 Tennessee

Why: This Super Regional will definitely go three games in my opinion, but Tennessee playing at home in Knoxville gives them the slight advantage.

Baton Rouge Super Regional
#5 LSU vs Minnesota

Winner: #5 LSU

Why: Minnesota is a very decent team and might steal a game from the Tigers. In the end, however, battle-tested LSU will beat the Gophers to advance to the WCWS.

Auburn Super Regional
#4 Auburn vs #13 UL-Lafayette

Winner: #4 Auburn

Why: Auburn is GOOD this year. They are going to ride the momentum from regionals and sweep the Ragin' Cajuns with the home fans supporting them.

Ann Arbor Super Regional
#3 Michigan vs #14 Georgia

Winner: #3 Michigan

Why: Unlike last year, Michigan will get to host a Super Regional this time around. They will sweep the Bulldogs and continue what has been a fantastic season for the Wolverines.

Tuscaloosa Super Regional
#6 Alabama vs #11 Oklahoma

Winner: #6 Alabama

Why: In a rematch of the 2012 WCWS and their first round matchup last year, Alabama will pull out a tough series win in three games over the Sooners. This is another series where having the home crowd proves to be the advantage in my book. That is why I give the nod to the Tide.

Los Angeles Super Regional
#7 UCLA vs Louisville

Winner: #7 UCLA

Why: Louisville's miracle run will unfortunately come to an end when they run into the UCLA Bruins in this Super Regional. The Bruins will sweep the Cards in convincing fashion.

Eugene Super Regional
#2 Oregon vs #15 James Madison

Winner: #2 Oregon

Why: I do not give James Madison much of a chance in this Super Regional. Oregon will sweep the Dukes and the games will not be that close in my opinion.

If my picks were to come to fruition, let's see how the Women's College World Series would turn out!

Women's College World Series First Round
#1 Florida vs #8 Tennessee

Winner: #1 Florida

Why: The Gators have had their run-ins with Tennessee in the WCWS in prior years. Despite losing to Tennessee in the SEC Tournament Semifinals, the Gators will prove victorious in this opening round matchup.

#4 Auburn vs #5 LSU

Winner: #4 Auburn

Why: Auburn took two of three from LSU in Baton Rouge in their last SEC series of the year. On the biggest of stages, the Tigers will defeat the Tigers as Auburn emerges as the victors.

#3 Michigan vs #6 Alabama

Winner: #3 Michigan

Why: Michigan finally gets its shot in the WCWS and will not squander it as the Wolverines take down the 2014 runner-up in an instant classic.

#2 Oregon vs #7 UCLA

Winner: #2 Oregon

Why: In a heavyweight battle between the two best teams in the Pac-12, the Oregon Ducks will continue to show UCLA that finishing second is not that bad as the Ducks squeak out a victory over the Bruins.

Elimination Games
#5 LSU vs #8 Tennessee

Winner: #8 Tennessee

Why: This will be an intriguing matchup as LSU and Tennessee split the four games they played against each other (the last being a 7-5 SEC Semifinal victory for the Lady Vols). With an elimination game serving as the rubber match, the Lady Vols will send the Tigers home packing for the season as they keep their National Championship hopes alive.

#6 Alabama vs #7 UCLA

Winner: #6 Alabama

Why: Another marquis elimination game, the postseason experience of the Tide will prove extremely vital as they roll past the Bruins to keep their season alive.

End Result: #5 LSU & #7 UCLA ELIMINATED

Second Round
#1 Florida vs #4 Auburn

Winner: #1 Florida

Why: This will be the first meeting all year between the #1 and #2 teams in the SEC (arguably the best conference in college softball right now). It is going to be a classic, low-scoring game as fundamentals and timely hitting will help the Gators defeat the Tigers.

#2 Oregon vs #3 Michigan

Winner: #3 Michigan

Why: Michigan will ride the momentum from its opening round win into a primetime matchup with the Ducks. Similar to last year, Oregon will fall in the second round as Michigan continues its remarkable WCWS run.

Second Round Elimination Games
#2 Oregon vs #8 Tennesse

Winner: #2 Oregon

Why: With their backs against the wall, Oregon will tighten up and take care of business against the Lady Vols with a close victory.

#4 Auburn vs #6 Alabama

Winner: #4 Auburn

Why: In the softball version of the Iron Bowl, Auburn and Alabama will be the second pair of SEC teams who will need to settle a 2-2 series tie in an elimination game. Similar to their football team a couple years ago, Auburn will pull a miracle out of their hat to knock their hated rival out of the WCWS.

End Result: #6 Alabama & #8 Tennessee ELIMINATED

WCWS Semifinals
#1 Florida vs #2 Oregon

Winner: #1 Florida

Why: Meeting again in the WCWS for the second straight year, Florida will again best the Oregon Ducks to go to their second consecutive WCWS Final.

#3 Michigan vs #4 Auburn

Winner: #4 Auburn

Why: Michigan's dream season will finally come to an end as Auburn will beat them twice to advance to the program's first ever WCWS Final.

WCWS Finals
#1 Florida vs #4 Auburn

Winner: #1 Florida

Why: In another all-SEC final and a second round rematch, Florida will win the National Championship in three games over the Auburn Tigers. Each game will be close, but (like in the SEC regular season standings) the Gators will finish in front of the Tigers yet again.

National Champion:

Florida Gators!

So there you have it, folks. The Florida Gators are going to repeat as back-to-back softball National Champions! With many players from the championship squad still with the team, I give the Gators a good chance to repeat and win the second National Championship in program history!

I hope you enjoyed my predictions! Let the May Madness commence! Stay tuned for my 2015 College World Series prediction article coming real soon!

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