May 13 / Rob

JMU Softball Headed to Ann Arbor

JMU Softball entered the CAA tournament on a bit of a heater. The Dukes won 16 straight games to close the regular season and were hoping to do enough in the conference tourney, to secure a seed in the big dance. Then they promptly went out and destroyed everyone in their path, winning three games by a combined score of 33-1. To say it they were dominant wouldn’t do it justice. They hit 10 homers and slugged .589. It sure seemed like it was enough to earn them a seed in the NCAA tournament. That’s not how it worked out though. Instead JMU is headed to the Ann Arbor Regional where they’ll compete with host and 15 seed Michigan, in addition to St. Francis and DePaul.

There are plenty of reasons to be upset by the fact that Dukes aren’t seeded. We thought they did enough in the CAA tournament to earn a little more respect. Perhaps they did too much though. They hardly broke a sweat crushing all comers and maybe the committee thought the lopsided victories said more about the quality of the competition than they did about the Dukes prowess. We really have no clue though. This is a committee with a clear perception about conference strength. They put every single SEC team in the tourney. Again. So forgive us if we’re not going to waste our time trying to figure out what an organization like the NCAA is thinking.

In any case, if you can put the outrage over the seed situation aside, you’ll realize JMU got a decent draw. History shows us that it’s very hard to advance as a road team in the Regionals, but the Dukes will have a shot in Ann Arbor. Michigan is a good team, but far from a powerhouse like Oklahoma or UCLA. JMU can beat Michigan. In fact, JMU already beat Michigan once this season. The Dukes beat the Wolverines 3-0 in extra innings back in March at the ASU Invitation in Arizona. Sure it will be harder to beat them in a true road game, but it’s not an impossible task. As for the rest of the region, St. Francis and DePaul are both solid, but not spectacular teams. We don’t want to show the same bias the committee does, but discounting these teams from non-power conferences, but JMU ain’t scared of either of those squads.

In the big picture, JMU is headed to the NCAA Tournament for the 7th straight year and the Dukes have a legit shot to advance. It’s disappointing (and a little baffling) that JMU needs to go on the road, but it’s out of our hands. We could rant and rave, but it won’t make a difference. The NCAA does what the NCAA does. Sometimes things make sense. More often than not though, they don’t. It stinks, but all JMU and the other non-P5 programs can do to change thins is go out and win ballgames. The Dukes will have a chance to do just that starting Friday in Ann Arbor. We think they can.

One Comment

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  1. E-Dub / May 20 2019

    Make that headline “JMU Softball Headed to Los Angeles” boys!!!!

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