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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Conference Tournament Central


It is postseason time once again - when all of the slates are wiped clean and one loss could end your season, while a hot streak of victories could right a very-wrong ship. As always, Justin's World of Softball is your home for all of the information you need on all of the conference tournament happenings - when and where they're happening, who's laying, and how you can watch.

The PAC-12, Mountain West, Big West, and West Coast Conference do not sponsor conference tournaments; each league's regular-season champion earns the representative automatic bid into the NCAA field of sixty-four. By virtue of that, Arizona, Cal State Fullerton, and BYU already have their tickets punched and are tournament bound. The Mountain West race will be decided in the final weekend of play next week.

Another conference that has adapted a no-tournament pattern in recent years has gone back to the practice for the 2017 postseason. Seeing what postseason success has done to help buoy some teams in recent years, the Big 12 will give their member teams a shot at making their cases similarly, as the conference hosts their first tournament since 2010.

The Ivy League hosted their annual two-team championship series this week, where, in a rematch of last year's championship, the Princeton Tigers overpowered the Harvard Crimson by a combined score of 14-4 and are also "in" the tournament field.

Here's the rundown on the twenty-seven tournaments happening across this week:

American: 
Where: Greenville, North Carolina (East Carolina host) 
Seeding: Regular-season champions Tulsa earned the #1 seed for the tournament, followed in seedings by #2 Houston, #3 UCF, #4 South Florida, #5 Memphis, #6 East Carolina, and #7 UConn. The Golden Hurricane are the only team to receive a bye to the tournament's semifinal round. 
Watch: Preliminary games can all be seen on the American Digital Network, while the championship game will be seen on ESPN at 11:00 am Central time on Saturday. 
Bracket: Find it here.

ACC: 
Where: Chapel Hill, North Carolina (UNC host) 
Seeding: Nationwide top-five program Florida State will be the #1 conference seed, and will be joined in the "high half" of the bracket by Louisville, North Carolina, and Boston College. Notre Dame comes in at #5, while Syracuse, North Carolina State, and Virginia will round out the field at seeds 6-8.
Watch: The preliminary games of the tournament will be seen on the ACC Network Extra, while the tournament championship will be aired on ESPN Saturday at 1 pm Central time.
Bracket: Find it here.

America East: 
Where: Binghamton, New York (Binghamton host) 
Seeding: The hosting Bearcats sport the tournament's top seed, and are joined by #2 seed Maine in receiving a bye through the first day of play. Stony Brook earned the #3 seed, while Albany, UMBC, and Hartford make up the remainder of the field. Of note, UMass Lowell, which finished second in the conference standings, is ineligible for postseason play.
Watch: Links to watch live broadcasts of the tournament games can be found at this link.
Bracket: Find it here.

Atlantic Sun: 
Where: Nashville, Tennessee (Lipscomb host) 
Seeding: Perennial favorite USC-Upstate earned the tournament's #1 overall seed, while first-year head coach Pete D'Amour and Kennesaw State earned the #2 seed. Both teams earn first-round byes. North Florida and Florida Gulf Coast are the #3 and #4 seeds, respectively, while host Lipscomb and Jacksonville round out the field. Stetson is the only team not to make the tournament field.
Watch: Every game of the tournament can be found on WatchESPN/ESPN3.com, including the preliminary and championship rounds.
Bracket: Find it here.

Atlantic 10: 
Where: Fairfax, Virginia (George Mason host) 
Seeding: Fordham and UMass earned the tournament's top two seeds, both of them carrying first-round byes of Wednesday's action. Saint Joseph's and Dayton earned the #3 and #4 seeds, respectively, and Saint Louis and George Mason round out the field.
Watch: Game 7 through the if-necessary game 11 of the tournament will all be shown on the American Sports Network.
Bracket: Find it here.

Big East: 
Where: The Ballpark at Rosemont, Rosemont, Illinois (DePaul host) 
Seeding: Just four teams earned postseason berths from the Big East. The group is led by top-seeded St. John's, while host DePaul, Villanova, and Butler make up the remainder of the grouping. 
Watch: The single-elimination tournament's semifinal and championship games can all be seen on FS2.

Big Sky: 
Where: Ogden, Utah (Weber State host) 
Seeding: Weber State earned the #1 overall seed and tournament hosting duties, while upstart Montana earned the #2 seed. Both teams receive first-round byes in the double-elimination tournament. Sacramento State, Southern Utah, North Dakota, and Idaho State round out the field.
Watch: The tournament will be streamed on "Watch Big Sky", the conference's digital platform.
Bracket: Find it here.

Big South: 
Where: Farmville, Virginia (Longwood host) 
Seeding: Dr. Dot Richardson's Liberty Flames earned their first top tournament seed since 2007, and are followed by Campbell at #2. Longwood checks in with the #3 seed, while Charleston-Southern, Winthrop, and Radford finish out the field. 
Watch: The first two days' worth of games will be seen on the Big South Network, while ESPN3 will air Friday's games and the championship game on Saturday. 
Bracket: Find it here.

Big Ten: 
Where: Ann Arbor, Michigan (Michigan host) 
Seeding: Minnesota , Michigan, Ohio State, and Illinois earned the top four seeds and all receive a first-round bye into the quarterfinal round. Nebraska comes in at #5, followed by Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Northwestern. Purdue heads the bottom third of the pack at #9, followed by Indiana, Iowa, and Penn State.
Watch: The conference's Big Ten Network will broadcast all eleven games of the tournament, including Saturday's championship game.
Bracket: Find it here.

Big 12: 
Where: ASA Hall of Fame Stadium, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 
Seeding: Defending National Champion Oklahoma took the tournament's top seed, followed by Baylor, Oklahoma State, Texas, Iowa State, and Texas Tech. Kansas was the only conference team not to make the tournament field.
Watch: All of the tournament's preliminary and early games can be seen on FCS, the Fox College Sports digital channel. The tournament championship game will be aired on FS2 at 4:30 pm Central on Saturday.
Bracket: The tournament will operate on a "pool play" format instead of a traditional bracket.

Colonial Athletic: 
Where: Harrisonburg, Virginia (James Madison host) 
Seeding: James Madison earned the #1 overall seed and a "bye", of sorts, to the afternoon of day one of the tournament. Filling out the tournament field are Hofstra, College of Charleston, UNCW, and Delaware. 
Watch: Video of the tournament's games can be seen in a live broadcast online, on the CAA website's CAA.tv.
Bracket: Find it here.

Conference USA: 
Where: Hattiesburg, Mississippi (Southern Miss host) 
Seeding: Marshall and Florida International earned the tournament's top two seeds, respectively, and earn a bye through the first day of play. Louisiana Tech and Florida Atlantic were next on the ladder, while UAB, Charlotte, North Texas, and Western Kentucky rounded out the field.
Watch: The preliminary rounds of the tournament will air on beIN Sports and beIN Connect, the channel's online arm. The championship game will be seen on CBS Sports Network on satruday at 12 pm Central.
Bracket: Find it here.

Horizon League: 
Where: Chicago, Illinois (UIC host) 
Seeding: The hosting UIC Flames earned the top overall seed in the tournament, and are joined by #2 Youngstown State in receiving a first-day bye. Defending tournament champion Valparaiso earned the #3 seed, while Wright State, Detroit Mercy, and Oakland round out the field. 
Watch: WatchESPN and ESPN3.com will air every game of the tournament, including the championship game on Saturday.
Bracket: Find it here.

MAAC: 
Where: New Rochelle, New York (Iona host) 
Seeding: Iona, hosting the tournament, is also the #1 seed. They, along with #2 team Siena, will earn first-day byes into Thursday's action. Defending conference champion Marist earned the #3 seed, while Manhattan, Monmouth, and Fairfield round out the field of competitors.
Watch: The tournament will air on the conference's digital media platform, MAAC TV, as well as ESPN3.com
Bracket: Find it here.

Mid-American (MAC): 
Where: Firestone Stadium, Akron, Ohio
Seeding: Central Michigan is the top seed for the tournament, and are shadowed by Ohio at #2 and Northern Illinois at #3. Kent State checks in at #4 overall, while Ball State, Miami (Ohio), Akron, and Western Michigan close out the pool. 
Watch: Every game leading up to the championship game can be seen online with the MAC Digital Network. The tournament championship game will be broadcast on ESPN3.com and WatchESPN 
Bracket: Find it here.

MEAC: 
Where: Ormond Beach, Florida (Bethune-Cookman host) 
Seeding: Florida A&M and Hampton earned the #1 seeds in their respective divisions, while Delaware State and Bethune-Cookman came in ranked #2, each. The #3 seeds are Morgan State and North Carolina AT&T State, while Coppin State and North Carolina Central round out the field with their respective #4 seeds.
Watch: No television or online video.
Bracket: Find it here.

Missouri Valley: 
Where: Normal, Illinois (Illinois State host) 
Seeding: Northern Iowa earned the conference's #1 overall seed thanks to a tiebreaker that cast host Illinois State into the #2 spot. Both teams earn byes into the semifinal round of the tournament. Southern Illinois is the #3 seed, while Wichita State, Evansville, Drake, Missouri State, and Loyola fill out the MVC crowd. 
Watch: You can watch the tournament's games on ESPN.com and Watch ESPN.
Bracket: Find it here.

Northeast: 
Where: Loretto, Pennsylvania (Saint Francis host) 
Seeding: Saint Francis earned the #1 seed thanks to a strong showing in conference play, and with that, earned the right to host the tournament. Sacred Heart comes in as the #2 seed, while Wagner and Robert Morris round out the small field. 
Watch: Each game can be streamed from the conference's website via their service NEC Front Row.
Bracket: Find it here.

Ohio Valley: 
Where: Choccolocco Park, Oxford, Alabama 
Seeding: Defending tournament champion Jacksonville State returns as the top seed, while they are shadowed by UT-Martin, SIU-Edwardsville, and Eastern Illinois. Murray State, Eastern Kentucky, Tennessee Tech, and Belmont, making their first-ever postseason appearance, all make up the last half of the field.
Watch: Every game of the tournament can be found on the OVC Digital Network for your viewing entertainment. 
Bracket: Find it here.

Patriot League: 
Where: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (Lehigh host) 
Seeding: As the conference's regular-season champions, Lehigh earned the #1 seed in the tournament. They are joined by Boston, Army, and Holy Cross.
Watch: The tournament can be viewed digitally online via the Patriot League Network.

SEC: 
Where: Knoxville, Tennessee (Tennessee host) 
Seeding: Florida earned the top seed, and they are joined in receiving first-round byes by Auburn, Tennessee, and Texas A&M. Alabama comes in at #5, followed by LSU, Kentucky, and Ole Miss. Mississippi State, South Carolina, Missouri, and Arkansas round out the bottom-third of the bracket and the field. 
Watch: The first two rounds' worth of games can be seen on the SEC Network, while the semifinal round will be seen on ESPNU. The flagship station ESPN will carry the championship game on Saturday evening.
Bracket: Find it here.

Southern: 
Where: Chattanooga, Tennessee (Chattanooga host) 
Seeding: UNC-Greensboro earned the top seed with a share of the regular-season championship. Furman came in at #2, while ETSU and Samford round out the "high half" of the bracket. Making up the bottom half are #5 Mercer, #6 Western Carolina, and #7 Chattanooga. UNCG is the only team that receives a bye through the first day of action.
Watch: All games prior to the championship will be broadcast and can be seen on the SoCon Digital Network online. The championship game - as well as the if-necessary second championship game in the double-elimination tournament - can be seen on ESPN3.com and WatchESPN on Saturday.
Bracket: Find it here.

Southland: 
Where: Conway, Arkansas (Central Arkansas host) 
Seeding: McNeese State and Nicholls State, as the top two seeds, respectively, both earn byes into the afternoon of the first day of play on Wednesday. Lamar, Sam Houston State, Central Arkansas, and Northwestern State round out the field. Abilene Christian, despite a second-place conference finish, are ineligible for postseason play this year.
Watch: The Southland Conference Digital Network will carry the first nine games of the tournament via online broadcast, while the championship game will be seen on WatchESPN and ESPN3.com.
Bracket: Find it here.

Summit League: 
Where: Fargo, North Dakota (North Dakota State host) 
Seeding: IUPUI and interim head coach Heather Tarter earned the conference's top seed, while North Dakota State comes in at #2 overall. Western Illinois, South Dakota, Omaha, and South Dakota State round out the sextet of participating teams.
Watch: Live video of the tournament's preliminary games can be seen online at TheSummitLeague.org. The championship game will be aired on ESPN3.com
Bracket: Find it here.

Sun Belt: 
Where: Troy, Alabama (Troy host) 
Seeding: Nationally-ranked Louisiana-Lafayette easily earned the conference's top seed, while Texas State joins the Cajuns in receiving byes through the first two rounds of games. Georgia State and South Alabama, at #3 and #4, respectively, receive byes through the first set of matchups. #5 UT-Arlington, #6 Georgia Southern, #7 Louisiana-Monroe, and #8 Coastal Carolina round out the group.
Watch: All of the tournament's games, from start to finish and including the championship game, can be seen on ESPN3.com and WatchESPN.
Bracket: Find it here.

SWAC: 
Where: Montgomery, Alabama (Alabama State host) 
Seeding: The teams are seeded in an East/West division split. In the East, Alcorn State earned the top seed, followed by Alabama State, Alabama A&M, and Mississippi Valley State. In the West, Texas Southern was the top dog, while Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Prairie View A&M, and Southern round out the field.
Watch: There will be no television or digital broadcasts of the tournament.
Bracket: Find it here.

Western Athletic (WAC): 
Where: Las Cruces, New Mexico (New Mexico host) 
Seeding: #1 overall seed New Mexico State is followed in the seeding by #2 Utah Valley, #3 Seattle, #4 UMKC, and #5 defending tournament champions CSU-Bakersfield. Despite earning a share of the conference championship, Grand Canyon is ineligible for postseason play.
Watch: The WAC Digital Network will carry all eight games of the tournament, as well as the ninth if-necessary matchup on Saturday.
Bracket: Find it here.

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