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NCAA Softball Tournament: Comparing the number of Super Regional opponents Oklahoma State and Arizona

USA Softball announced its three finalists for National Player of the Year on Monday. Arizona faced one of them twice this season, losing to Stanford both times NiJaree CanadayThe Wildcats will face each other up to three times during the Super Regionals, when Oklahoma State Cowgirl Lexi Kilfoyl takes the circle.

The two programs will undoubtedly develop a rivalry in the near future. The Cowgirls have become one of the top programs in the country. When Oklahoma and Texas leave the Big 12 next year, Oklahoma State will be the top program remaining in Arizona's new league. The two could compete regularly for Big 12 titles in the coming years.

This year it will be a battle for Oklahoma City. Arizona is trying to move forward while playing the entire postseason on the road. If the Wildcats pull it off, it will be the second consecutive time they have achieved this feat.

On the other hand, Oklahoma State is trying to make it through the entire postseason without having to leave its home state for the fourth straight season. The last time they left Oklahoma for the postseason was to play in the 2019 Tallahassee Super Regional.

How do the two teams perform?

Record

Oklahoma State: 47-10 overall and 21-6 in Big 12 play

Arizona: 37-16-1 overall and 13-11 in Pac-12 play

At first glance, OSU appears to have the better resume. However, a closer look shows that the balance sheet looks different.

OSU had a better win-loss record but faced a weaker schedule according to all standard models. According to the NCAA, the Wildcats played the 20th most difficult schedule as of May 20th. The Cowgirls' schedule is ranked 35th.

Warren Nolan uses an RPI formulation that doesn't take the NCAA bonuses into account, so it's a little different. It still shows Arizona, with the more difficult schedule, ranked 19th overall and 28th out of conference. OSU is ranked 28th overall and 45th out of conference.

Boyd's World Iterative Strength Ratings Arizona is playing its 11th-best schedule after regionals conclude. Oklahoma State is ranked 14th. Massey Reviews Arizona's schedule is even more pleasing, ranking 8th overall compared to 27th for Oklahoma State. Diamond Sports Rankings are fairly close to Massey, placing Arizona's SOS at No. 9 and OSU's at No. 21.

conference

Oklahoma State: Reached 3rd place in a league, depending on which ranking system was used, before the Regional Championships began.

Arizona: Before the regional championships began, he finished fifth in a league that was in 2nd or 3rd place.

On Selection Sunday, these two leagues were pretty evenly matched in the rankings. The Pac-12 was above the Big 12 in most ranking systems, but the Big 12 had the advantage in one of them.

The postseason has shown that the Big 12 is superior. The Pac-12 fell to fourth place in most systems because its teams didn't perform well in regionals.

Of the seven teams that took part in the tournament, only three advanced. Only two Pac-12 teams were allowed to host and regionals were heavily loaded this season, but it still hurt the Pac-12 that more teams in other leagues beat top competition over the weekend. Arizona and Baylor were the only unseeded teams to advance to the Super Regionals.

From the looks of it, the Cowgirls not only performed better in their league, but also in a higher ranked league. That could change when the Supers are played.

offense

Oklahoma State Offensive Stats and Rankings

Category Value Big 12 rank Div I rank
Category Value Big 12 rank Division I rank
B.A .310 5 32
OBP .390 6 30.
SLG .555 3 9
Double 77 7 50.
Double/gm 135 6 89
human Resource 84 T-2 T-9
HR/m/f 1.47 T-2 T-8
Running 341 4 20.
Runs/gm 5.98 4 21
SB 45 8th 159
SB/gm .79 8th 184
walks 171 6 70.

Statistics come from stats.ncaa.org and

Arizona's offensive stats and rankings

Category Value Pac-12 ranking Division I rank
Category Value Pac-12 ranking Div I rank
BA 0.331 1 13
OBP 0.407 2 13
SLG 0.531 2 13
Double 58 8th place 165
Double/gm 1.05 8th 204
human Resource 71 2nd place 16.
HR/gm 1.29 2 17
Running 347 1 18
Runs/g 6.31 1 13
SB 33 7th place 228
SB/gm 0.6 9 239
walks 176 2 59

Statistics from stats.ncaa.org and stats.pac-12.com/sports/sball/2023-24/

While Arizona had some of the best offensive numbers in the Pac-12, the Wildcats were no better than Oklahoma State this season. The Cowgirls were particularly superior in on-base percentage and power numbers. They get more walks, they hit more doubles and they hit more home runs. This is particularly concerning because Arizona's pitching staff tends to allow walks and home runs.

Set up

Oklahoma State pitching stats and rankings

Category Value Big 12 rank DI rank
Category Value Big 12 rank DI rank
EPOCH 1.99 3 13.
failures 14 3 18
Strikeout-to-walk ratio 2.57 3 31
Hit batters 19 T-2 T-52

Statistics from stats.ncaa.org

Arizona pitching stats and rankings

category Value Pac-12 ranking DI rank
category Value Pac-12 ranking DI rank
EPOCH 3.70 8th place 150
Shutouts 8th T-4 T-86
Strikeout-to-walk ratio 1.44 9 173
Hit batters 32 T-5 T-201

Statistics from stats.ncaa.org

This is where the gap between Arizona and Oklahoma State is at its widest. The Cowgirls simply have the superior pitching staff in every way. The Wildcats will have to pitch better than they have all season if they want to stay in Cowgirl Stadium.

Anna Harden

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