Thursday, April 27, 2017

With softball's version of an NIT in place, 112 teams to make postseason

With the sport of college softball bringing back an NIT of sorts -- in this case, the National Invitational Softball Championship -- 112 teams will make the postseason in NCAA Division I softball this season.

The new NISC, a 48-team event in partnership with the National Fastpitch Coaches Association and Triple Crown Sports, will have its field unveiled Sunday, May 14, just hours after the 64-team NCAA Tournament field is announced.

The Mountain West, which has had a record seven of its nine teams ranked in the RPI Top 100 this season, appears well-positioned for multiple bids in the NISC.  San Diego State, Fresno State, Utah State and San Jose State all rank among the nation's top 65 teams in the latest RPI, while Colorado State comes in at No. 78.  Ironically, Fort Collins is the home of NISC co-founder Triple Crown Sports.

Both Fresno State and San Diego State, if they fall short of NCAA bids, should receive consideration as host sites for the NISC, which will have eight 6-team regionals.  Fresno State, in particular, seems like a natural choice for a host and can create the championship atmosphere the NISC says it wants to create.  The Bulldogs drew more than 4,100 fans last weekend to a home 3-game series against San Jose State, and have a history of putting on quality postseason softball tournaments.

For more on the NISC, go here.