Softball faces host Louisville in Big East semis
Not an ideal semifinal matchup for USF softball this afternoon. After edging eighth-seeded Providence 8-6 on Thursday night, the Bulls are two wins away from a conference championship. From a mental standpoint, today's semifinal might be tougher than Saturday's title game. Why?
-- The Bulls are facing fourth-seeded Louisville on the Cardinals' home field.
-- Louisville was the only Big East team to sweep the Bulls this season, getting 11-0 and 3-2 wins in Tampa just two weeks ago.
-- Louisville eliminated the Bulls in last year's conference tournament, then went on to win the league title.
And if you're planning on following the game -- on TV on CBS College Sports -- it looks like the Bulls and Cardinals will meet around 4 p.m., an hour earlier than originally scheduled. The Bulls have a few things to overcome, but I could also be trotting out the obligatory "It's hard to beat a team three times in the same season" reasoning you get in any postseason meeting like this.
As far as starting pitching, will the Bulls go with senior Courtney Mosch, who brought home the go-ahead run with a double Thursday night? Or bring back freshman Capri Catalano, who gave up six earned runs but retired the final nine Providence batters in order?
Hey, want proof of how West Coast-dominated the sport of college softball is? The NCAA selection show is live on ESPNU on Sunday night ... at 10 p.m. ET ... Thanks, NCAA.
-- The AJC's Tony Barnhart titles his blog Mr. College Football, so there's a certain reverence mandated for his preseason top 30 -- so many would stop at 25, but not Mr. College Football. Anyway, USF doesn't make the cut, though Bulls fans have the tiny consolation of being among "ten who almost made it." Barnhart has Georgia No. 1, with four Big East schools ranked: West Virginia is No. 9, Pitt and coach "Dan Wannstedt" No. 18, Connecticut No. 26 and Cincinnati No. 30. Alabama and Florida State, both 7-6 last season, impressively crack the top 30. Seeing USF fifth or sixth (Rutgers also "almost made it") has me curious where the Bulls might show up in the preseason league poll in July -- my guess right now is fourth, unless Cincy's Ben Mauk gets the Supreme Court to let him play another year.