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Piecing together Missouri’s 2017 softball schedule

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I guess this is my third year of trying to put the softball schedule together before it’s released. There are 295 teams in Division 1 softball, and while I hit a good many of their websites, I generally skip over schools in the small school conferences such as the Northeast, MEAC, and Patriot League.

It gets a lot easier once I figure out the tournaments being played and can piece together the other schools in that tournament. Unfortunately, the difficult part remains figuring out midweek doubleheaders, for the most part. More on that after the schedule.

Numbers in parenthesis are the final RPI ranking from 2016. Without further ado, here’s what we know so far:

  • Feb. 4? - Black and Gold Game (Old stadium? Will new stadium be ready yet? Indoors due to weather?)
  • Charleston Southern Tournament; Charleston, SC - 2016 Cinderella James Madison (7) is also scheduled to play this weekend. I expect 2 games against them.
  • Feb. 10 - vs. Charleston Southern (184)
  • Feb. 10 - vs. James Madison (7)
  • Feb. 11 - vs. Charleston Southern (184)
  • Feb. 11 - vs. James Madison (7)
  • Feb. 12 - vs. USC Upstate (53)
  • Littlewood Classic; Tempe, AZ - Arizona State (38) is the host for this and while they’ve released their 2017 schedule, that weekend is completely blank. I expect 2 games to be scheduled against them.
  • Feb. 17 - vs. Illinois St. (113)
  • Feb. 17 - vs. South Dakota (244)
  • Feb. 18 - vs. Wichita St. (43)
  • Feb. 19 - vs. Illinois St. (113)
  • Feb. 19 - vs. Arizona St. (38)
  • Mary Nutter Classic; Cathedral City, CA - This tournament has turned into a mainstay on the schedule in recent years. ESPN likes to get the big names out over the course of two weekends so they can do all their interviews and green screen stuff, so this is always fun to keep up with, even though there’s rarely any TV. This schedule is finalized, as I have the full schedule matrix.
  • Feb. 23 - vs. Notre Dame (32)
  • Feb. 23 - vs. Texas (30)
  • Feb. 24 - vs. Washington (9)
  • Feb. 25 - vs. Nebraska (34)
  • Feb. 25 - vs. UC Santa Barbara (126)
  • Missouri Invitational; Columbia, MO - Opening weekend for the new softball stadium and what better way to open it than to host a tournament involving a top-10 team? Oregon made it to the Super Regionals last year before getting eliminated by UCLA. Stephen F. Austin (135) are also part of this tournament, but I don’t see where Missouri would play a sixth game.
  • March 3-4 - vs. Oregon (10)
  • March 3 - vs. Stephen F. Austin (135)
  • March 4-5 - vs. Maryland (183)
  • March 5 - vs. Butler (131)
  • March 11-13 - AT Florida (2)
  • March 15 - vs. Iowa (188) (doubleheader)
  • USF Spring Fling; Tampa, FL - At least one more game to be scheduled here against Army (112) or North Dakota St. (54).
  • March 17 - vs. Ohio St. (40)
  • March 17 - vs. Rutgers (116)
  • March 18 - vs. North Dakota St. (54)
  • March 18 - vs. South Florida (22)
  • March 19 - vs. Monmouth (166)
  • March 24-26 - AT Texas A&M (17)
  • March 29 - AT Wichita St. (43) (doubleheader)
  • March 31-April 2 - vs. Alabama (6)
  • April 5 - vs. SEMO (234) (doubleheader)
  • April 7-9 - vs. Arkansas (71)
  • April 11 - vs. Western Illinois (221) (doubleheader)
  • April 14-16 - AT Auburn (3)
  • April 21-23 - vs. Kentucky (18)
  • April 28-30 - AT LSU (8)
  • May 5-7 - vs. Ole Miss (27)
  • May 10 - May 13 - SEC Tournament; Knoxville, TN
  • May 19 - May 21 - NCAA Regionals
  • May 26 - May 28 - NCAA Super Regionals
  • June 1 - June 7 - NCAA Championships; Oklahoma City, OK

This represents 47 games out of, what I believe, is a maximum of 56 regular season games. Add in what I expect in the early season tournaments and we’re up to as many as 53 games. Of the 47 games on the schedule, Missouri’s opponents will have an average RPI ranking of 66.3. That seems like a ridiculously low number. Against SEC teams only, that’s an average RPI of 21.4, which is a really scary number.

Speaking of the SEC schedule, I’m still missing two weekends and I made this little chart last year in an attempt to predict future schedules, which is how I’ve concluded that we’re at Arkansas and hosting Kentucky:

Missouri's SEC matrix
Missouri’s SEC matrix

As far as non-conference doubleheaders for the midweek go: your guess is probably as good as mine. Likely candidates that have yet to release their schedules: Wichita St. (43), Illinois (47), Evansville (160), St. Louis (165), Creighton (177), UMKC (190) and Western Illinois (221).

We’re definitely not on the Missouri State schedule.

Speaking of Illinois, they’ve generally been a Wednesday doubleheader at Lindenwood University in St. Charles. Looking at Lindenwood’s schedule, they have doubleheaders scheduled at home each Wednesday in April, so I’m unsure if we’ll do the Illini double on a Thursday or maybe not at all.

One last thing to make note of: The NCAA has changed the Super Regional format to a three-day event. Instead of playing the (if needed) game as the second half of an impromptu doubleheader, it will now be played on a 3rd day. I would imagine this makes it a lot easier for ESPN.

EDIT: Mizzou released their poster this afternoon, which included the schedule, only hours after this post went up. I’ve updated the post above with the missing games.

  • I nailed the 2 games against James Madison
  • I knew Wichita State was part of the Littlewood Classic, I assumed we wouldn’t play them because I assumed we would play a doubleheader with them later in the season. I guess we’ll do both!
  • I skipped over SFA at the Mizzou Invitational simply because I couldn’t believe we would play 3 straight days of doubleheaders. I was wrong.
  • I found Army on someone elses schedule for the USF Spring Fling, but no mention of Monmouth, that’s how I missed that one.
  • I guess when I looked at Auburn’s schedule I confused myself on where the game actually was and that got me also wrong on the Arkansas series. My bad.

The average opponent RPI has now skyrocketed up to a 71.6.