Thumbs up: OSU | Thumbs down: Scheduling
You didn’t really think I would go a week without a Wildman’s Corner, did you? I hope not, because it’s time to issue some Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down.
NCAA Women’s Selection Committee: This year, the three regionals all have great storylines and are extremely well-balanced. Other than the top two seeds at each regional, it is fair to say almost any team can climb its way onto the top 8 on the leaderboard. Not one regional is all that much easier than the other. What really will be interesting to see is how two schools will play on their home golf course. Notre Dame is hosting the Central on the Warren Golf Course, and Washington is hosting the West on Washington National. What will be great for all three regionals is that everyone will be watching closely until the last putt drops.
Oklahoma State: How can we not give Oklahoma State more props? With a victory at the Big 12 Championship, the Cowboys won for the seventh time in 11 starts. Led by Morgan Hoffmann, who won medalist honors, and runner-up Kevin Tway, the Cowboys defeated second-place Texas A&M by 13 shots. Player-of-the-year candidate Peter Uihlein finished T-4, and Talor Gooch finished in a tie for 16th. There is no doubt that the Cowboys will be the No. 1 overall seed when regionals are announced and will continue to be the team to beat at NCAAs this year.
Wichita State: The only way the Shockers were making it in to the postseason was with a win at the Missouri Valley Championship – and the team got the job done. Wichita State closed out the regular season ranked 112th in the country, and had an overall head-to-head record of 85-92-2. However, by winning the conference crown, the team gets the AQ and gets a chance to shock several teams at a regional.
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Weather: Two conference championships were decided after only two rounds last week: the Ohio Valley Conference and the Sun Belt Conference. Due to poor weather and conditions, both conference championships were decided after only 36 holes as opposed to the scheduled 54-hole format. At the Ohio Valley Conference Championship, Jacksonville State was en route to cruising to victory, but the Sun Belt Conference Championship will throw a wrench into one bubble team’s plans for the postseason. Entering the final round of the Sun Belt, Denver, which was ranked outside the top 100 of the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings, had only a four-shot lead over North Texas. Since the third round wasn’t played, Denver won the tournament as the 36-hole leader and received the conference’s AQ. With Denver’s win, it will cost a bubble team to be left out of the postseason.
Middle Tennessee State: Anything could have happened in the third and final round of the Sun Belt if it had taken place, but after 36 holes the Blue Raiders were struggling. MTSU finished tied for sixth and were 18 shots out of the lead. The Blue Raiders ended the regular season ranked 49th in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings and will have to figure things out quickly before heading out to regionals. The team shot 303 in Round 1 and followed it up with a 288 in Round 2; however, if that was at a regional, that’s the type of opening round that could end your season real quick.
Scheduling: I’m a little disappointed with NCAA officials for the second consecutive year. I know I gave them thumbs up for regionals, but they are getting two giant thumbs down for scheduling the women’s championship the same week as the men’s regionals again. It’s hard to believe that the NCAA can’t find a better end date for the regular season to accommodate two great championships. With men’s regionals going on at the same time, it takes away the exposure from the NCAA Women’s Championship, which shouldn’t happen. The NCAA should take a good look at the calendar and try to come up with accommodating dates to give both championships the eyes and attention they deserve.