Monday, May 13, 2019

2019 Women's College World Series Predictions

I want to begin this article with an apology. I am sorry that I did not put out predictions for the 2018 Women's College World Series last year. Coming off of my first year of law school, it wasn't as easy jumping back into blogging like in years before.

Fortunately, I have returned from my second year eager and ready to keep putting great content onto ZKS! So without further adieu, here are the top 16 seeds in the 2019 Division I NCAA Softball Tournament along with my winners below.

Oklahoma leads the field as the No. 1 national seed. Moving down the list, the rest of the national seeds are: No. 2 UCLA, No. 3 Washington, No. 4 Florida State, No. 5 Florida, No. 6 Arizona, No. 7 Minnesota, No. 8 Alabama, No. 9 Texas, No. 10 LSU, No. 11 Ole Miss, No. 12 Tennessee, No. 13 Oklahoma State, No. 14 Kentucky, No. 15 Michigan, and No. 16 Northwestern.


Norman Regional
No. 1 Oklahoma (49-2)
UMBC (30-22)
Notre Dame (36-16)
Wisconsin (40-12)

Winner: No. 1 Oklahoma over Notre Dame in regional final

Why: Oklahoma lost two games all year. TWO. Both those losses also came against then No. 1 ranked Florida State and then ranked No. 2 UCLA. They went 18-0 in Big 12 play and were on pace to win their third consecutive Big 12 Tournament title before it was cancelled due to weather. They should steamroll through their regional.

Evanston Regional
No. 16 Northwestern (43-10)
Detroit Mercy (31-26)
Southern Illinois (33-13)
Louisville (33-21)

Winner: No. 16 Northwestern over Louisville in regional final

Why: The Wildcats posted an impressive 13-1 mark at home this season and finished second in the Big 10 by just one game. If they were to meet up with Louisville in the regional final, history would be on Northwestern's side. The Wildcats played the Cardinals in three neutral-site contests this season and won every game by scores of 1-0, 9-8 (in 9 innings), and 4-2, respectively.

Austin Regional
No. 9 Texas (41-14)
Sam Houston State (34-21)
Texas A&M (28-25)
Houston (37-17)

Winner: No. 9 Texas over Texas A&M in regional final

Why: In an all-Texas regional, Texas has previously defeated both Sam Houston State and Houston this season. The Longhorns have yet the face the Aggies in 2019, but given that A&M finished dead last in the SEC, the third-best team in the Big 12 should have no issue dispatching their in-state rival at home.

Tuscaloosa Regional 
No. 8 Alabama (52-7)
Alabama State (24-23)
Lipscomb (41-13-1)
Arizona State (33-18)

Winner: No. 8 Alabama over Arizona State in regional final

Why: Alabama won the SEC regular season title this year and came one run short of upending the Florida Gators in the SEC Championship Game to double down with a tournament title as well. The Tide have lost only seven games and every single one of those defeats has been a close contest. Though Arizona State has been a historically well-renowned softball program, they will not stop the Tide from rolling.

Gainesville Regional
No. 5 Florida (44-15)
Boston University (37-18)
Stanford (32-18)
Boise State (34-14)

Winner: No. 5 Florida over Boise State in regional final

Why: The Gators have been inconsistent to say the least this year. Nonetheless, they still managed to win the SEC Tournament and earn themselves a 5-seed in this year's NCAA Tournament. Per usual, I expect them to take care of business at home and yet again advance to super regionals. The Orange and Blue just may be getting hot at the right time.

Knoxville Regional
No. 12 Tennessee (39-14)
Longwood (37-20)
Ohio State (34-16)
North Carolina (35-18)

Winner: No. 12 Tennessee over North Carolina in regional final

Why: Tennessee finished second in the SEC regular season standings and was shut out 2-0 against Auburn in their first game of the SEC Tournament. With two unideal performances in conference play, the Lady Vols have a prime opportunity to redeem themselves with very favorable matchups at home. It may be a little rocky on rocky top, but the Vols will advance to their third consecutive super regional.

Stillwater Regional
No. 13 Oklahoma State (39-14)
BYU (29-24)
Arkansas (38-18)
Tulsa (35-18)

Winner: No. 13 Oklahoma State over Arkansas in regional final

Why: The Cowgirls are hosting their first regional since 1998, a year where they went to the Women's College World Series. They were able to finish second in the Big 12 behind rival Oklahoma and had a potential rematch against the Sooners looming in a Big 12 Tournament that was rained out. Take out the three-game sweep against OU, and Oklahoma State has won 13 of their last 16 games. This team has been hot and they will handle business in Stillwater.

Tallahassee Regional
No. 4 Florida State (51-8)
Bethune-Cookman (26-29)
South Florida (40-17)
South Carolina (36-17)

Winner: No. 4 Florida State over South Carolina in regional final

Why: This one is a no brainer. The Seminoles are the defending national champions and have been ranked in the Top 5 nearly all season. They shouldn't break a sweat against any team in their regional.

Seattle Regional
No. 3 Washington (45-7)
Fordham (29-4)
Mississippi State (33-21)
Seattle University (39-15)

Winner: No. 3 Washington over Mississippi State in regional final

Why: The Huskies finished with an identical 20-4 conference record along with UCLA to share the Pac-12 regular season title. This squad finished as the national runner up last year and boast four seniors and four juniors who took part in that run to the title game. Among the four seniors is ace pitcher Taran Alvelo, who is 24-4 with a 1.61 ERA and 257 strikeouts in 174.1 innings pitched.

With a revenge tour in mind, nobody should stand in the Huskies way as they cruise through regional play.

Lexington Regional
No. 14 Kentucky (33-22)
Toledo (29-26)
Illinois (32-23)
Virginia Tech (45-9)

Winner: No. 14 Kentucky over Virginia Tech in regional final

Why: The Wildcats technically finished second in the SEC regular season standings with an identical 14-10 record along with Tennessee and LSU. In their last SEC series of the year, Kentucky actually went into Tuscaloosa and won their series against the then No. 3 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide.

Though the Tide would get revenge on the Wildcats in the SEC Tournament, Kentucky proved they can win against tough teams in hostile environments. That being said, hosting a regional should alleviate some of that pressure and allow them to beat a very good Virginia Tech team that will probably give Kentucky a run for its money.

Oxford Regional
No. 11 Ole Miss (37-17)
Chattanooga (37-15)
UL-Lafayette (50-4)
Southeastern Missouri State (45-16)

Winner: No. 11 Ole Miss over UL-Lafayette in regional final

Why: Well Hotty Toddy! In their fourth ever NCAA Tournament appearance, the Rebels are hosting a regional for the second time. Ole Miss has series wins over both Florida and Tennessee to boost their resume and will need all of the Rebel faithful to come out and support as their regional final matchup will probably be a hot Ragin' Cajun team that has not lost since March 20th.

Tuscon Regional
No. 6 Arizona (42-12)
Harvard (25-17)
Colorado State (38-10)
Auburn (37-19)

Winner: No. 6 Arizona over Auburn in regional final

Why: Arizona finished the regular season on a pretty high note as they took two of three form then No. 3 ranked UCLA to deny the Bruins an outright Pac-12 regular season championship. Finishing third in the conference themselves, the Wildcats should have no problem in a possible matchup with Auburn, who has stumbled a bit since making two WCWS in the last four years.

Minneapolis Regional
No. 7 Minnesota (41-12)
North Dakota State (42-14)
Georgia (40-17)
Drake (42-14)

Winner: Georgia over No. 7 Minnesota in regional final

Why: My first and only upset of regional play goes to the Georgia Bulldogs. The Dawgs finished with an identical 12-12 record as Florida for fourth place in the SEC regular season standings and took the No. 1 seeded Alabama Crimson Tide to extra innings in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals.

Having made three WCWS this decade (2010, 2016, 2018), the Dawgs are a junior-laden team as they have eight juniors to just two seniors. The only item of concern is their 7-7 record on the road.

On the other hand, Minnesota is no rollover. They finished third in the Big 10 regular season standings by half a game and lost to regular season champion Michigan by a score of 3-2 in the Big 10 Championship. Since April, they have posted a 16-3 record. However, the Golden Gophers are hosting only their second ever regional and in the entire history of the program and have only advance to super regionals just once.

Baton Rouge Regional
No. 10 LSU (40-16)
Monmouth (36-16)
Louisiana Tech (44-14)
Texas Tech (39-14)

Winner: No. 10 LSU over Louisiana Tech in regional final

Why: LSU is always consistent on the diamond and has been to three WCWS in the last four years. Had they not had a rough weekend at home against Alabama, the Tigers would have been the ones hoisting up the SEC regular season championship.

Regardless, a 10 seed for the Bayou Bengals is still a nice landing place and they should have no real issues dispatching any of their foes in this regional. Given the fandom and support from the local Baton Rouge community, Tiger Park will be packed and rocking. 

Ann Arbor Regional
No. 15 Michigan (43-11)
St. Francis (Pa.) (29-29)
James Madison (47-7)
DePaul (34-14)

Winner: No. 15 Michigan over James Madison in regional final

Why: I love the Dukes but will not be a fool like I have in prior prediction articles about this sport. Michigan swept the Big 10 regular season and conference tournament. Hosting a regional for the first time since they finished as national runner-up in 2016, the Wolverines have a much better shot at reaching a super regional than they have in years past.

Los Angeles Regional
No. 2 UCLA (46-5)
Weber State (26-19)
Cal State Fullerton (38-16)
Missouri (32-23)

Winner: No. 2 UCLA over Missouri in regional final

Why: Rounding out regional play are the mighty Bruins of UCLA. Having lost one non-conference game the entire season, UCLA will shred through their competition to reach their sixth consecutive super regional.

Super Regionals
This is where the real fun starts. Now that I have predicted the regional winners, it is on to the super regionals! Keep in mind that a team needs to win two out of three games to advance to the Women's College World Series!

Norman Super Regional
No. 1 Oklahoma vs No. 16 Northwestern

Winner: No. 1 Oklahoma 

Why: I really do not think it needs to be reiterated how dominant Oklahoma has been this season. They win the super regional in two games.

Tuscaloosa Super Regional
No. 8 Alabama vs No. 9 Texas

Winner: No. 8 Alabama

Why: Alabama vs Texas is always a good matchup regardless of the sport. Here, the Tide may need three but they will best the Longhorns to get back to Oklahoma City for the first time since 2016.

Gainesville Super Regional
No. 5 Florida vs No. 12 Tennessee

Winner: No. 12 Tennessee

Why: I love my Gators, but I am going with the Lady Vols here. Tennessee came into Gainesville earlier this season and took two of three from Florida. Like I said about regional play, Florida has been inconsistent all year and I think unfortunatley their season will reach its conclusion in a three game heartbreaker against the Lady Vols.

Tallahassee Super Regional
No. 4 Florida State vs No. 13 Oklahoma State

Winner: No. 4 Florida State

Why: The Cowgirl upset is tempting, but I will not pick against the defending champions who are 28-2 at home. The Seminoles take it in two.

Seattle Super Regional
No. 3 Washington vs No. 14 Kentucky

Winner: No. 3 Washington

Why: Washington will not break a sweat. They will sweep Kentucky in two games.

Tuscon Super Regional
No. 6 Arizona vs No. 11 Ole Miss

Winner: No. 6 Arizona

Why: Ole Miss may steal one from Arizona, but at the end of the day the Wildcats will grind out a WCWS berth in three games.

Baton Rouge Super Regional
No. 10 LSU vs Georgia

Winner: No. 10 LSU

Why: Gifted a super regional thanks to Georgia's upset of Minnesota, LSU will look to replicate their regular season success against the Dawgs where they went into Athens and left with a three-game sweep. The Tigers take it in two.

Los Angeles Super Regional
No. 2 UCLA vs No. 15 Michigan

Winner: No. 2 UCLA

Why: Michigan is UCLA's one non-conference loss I talked about earlier, but that was in neutral site action. In Los Angeles, I think the Wolverines keep it close but ultimately lose in three hard-fought games.

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

Women's College World Series First Round
No. 1 Oklahoma vs No. 8 Alabama

Winner: No. 8 Alabama

Why: Now here's the first record-stopping pick of this article. That's right, I believe the Alabama Crimson Tide will find a way to upset the No. 1 overall seed in the first round in Oklahoma City. I could see this being a one-run game and a pitcher's duel.

No. 4 Florida State vs No. 12 Tennessee

Winner: No. 4 Florida State

Why: The defending champs will continue from where they left off and easily dispatch Tennessee to advance to the second round.

No. 3 Washington vs No. 6 Arizona

Winner: No. 3 Washington

Why: The Huskies swept the Wildcats on the road. Now in a neutral site action in the WCWS, Washington will nab their fourth win of the year over Arizona.

No. 2 UCLA vs No. 10 LSU

Winner: No. 2 UCLA

Why: I love LSU, but in a rematch of the 2017 WCWS opening round it will be  No. 2 UCLA who emerges as the victor this time.

Elimination Games
No. 1 Oklahoma vs No. 12 Tennessee

Winner: No. 1 Oklahoma

Why: OU may have lost a tough one to Alabama, but they will bounce right back and knock out the Lady Vols to keep their postseason alive.

No. 6 Arizona vs No. 10 LSU

Winner: No. 10 LSU

Why: Facing another Pac-12 foe, LSU will outlast the Wildcats to stay in Oklahoma City for at least one more game.

End Result: No. 6 Arizona & No. 12 Tennessee ELIMINATED

Second Round

No. 4 Florida State vs No. 8 Alabama

Winner: No. 4 Florida State

Why: A tough one to pick no doubt, I think the Seminoles survive an instant classic against the Tide.

No. 2 UCLA vs No. 3 Washington

Winner: No. 2 UCLA

Why: The Bruins swept the Huskies in Seattle, so now it'll be Washington who feels the pain of going 0-4 against a team who had their number in the regular season. 

Second Round Elimination Games
No. 1 Oklahoma vs No. 3 Washington

Winner: No. 1 Oklahoma

Why: The Sooners will continue to claw back from the loser's bracket as they narrowly defeat Washington to reach the WCWS semifinals.

No. 8 Alabama vs No. 10 LSU

Winner: No. 8 Alabama

Why: Alabama swept LSU with the SEC regular season title on the line. Now with the season at stake, the Tide will again roll and defeat their conference rival to advance to the WCWS semifinals.

End Result: No. 3 Washington & No. 10 LSU ELIMINATED

WCWS Semifinals

No. 1 Oklahoma vs No. 4 Florida State

No. 4 Florida State

Why: The Sooners will win the first semifinal game to make the 'Noles break a sweat, but ultimately FSU will channel what ever mojo it used to beat OU in the regular season and advance to back-to-back WCWS Finals.

No. 2 UCLA vs No. 8 Alabama

Winner: No. 8 Alabama

Why: Having to beat UCLA is no small task but is completely doable as Florida State accomplished that exact feat on route to their national championship run last season. Having already knocked off OU to kick off the WCWS and beaten an arch rival in an elimination game, the Tide will find a way to steal two from the Bruins and advance to their first WCWS Finals since 2014.

End Result: No. 1 Oklahoma & No. 2 UCLA ELIMINATED

WCWS Finals

No. 4 Florida State vs No. 8 Alabama

Winner: No. 8 Alabama

Why: In a grueling three-game series and a second round rematch, the Alabama Crimson Tide will get revenge on the state of Florida after the Gators handed them a finals lost back in 2014. The Tide and 'Noles have not met all season and this would be a very fitting end for a pair of teams that consistently bordered each other in the Top 5 rankings. I can promise this would be a great final to watch if it did indeed come to fruition.

National Champion:


Final Takeaway
Well there you have it. Another softball tournament prediction from ZKS is in the books. It'll be fun to see how it all plays out as the #MAYhem (the NCAA's hashtag not mine) unfolds. Of course, I just hope for a very entertaining tournament and another great showing of softball at the collegiate level!

Thank you for taking time to read this article! I hope you enjoyed it! Stay tuned as I'll be putting out more content periodically throughout the summer!



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