NCAA women's championships: Looking at favorites, crunching some numbers

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NCAA women's championships: Looking at favorites, crunching some numbers

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NCAA women's championships: Looking at favorites, crunching some numbers

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The NCAA Div. I Women’s Golf Championships begin Friday, May 17 at Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville, Ark.

There are 24 teams and 12 individuals competing for a national championship.

LIVE SCORES: NCAA Div. I women’s golf

Here’s a breakdown of the field:

Favorites

USC

Top team in college golf most of the season, but seems to be creating some separation in the postseason. Won four of last five events including Pac-12 Conference Championship by 11 shots and NCAA regional by 15 shots.

Texas

Rolling into NCAAs with a victory at the Big 12 Conference title by 37 shots and NCAA Norman Regional by 9. Made it No. 1 in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings earlier this spring. The Longhorns have just 16 head-to-head losses all year, but six of those came in one event when their lineup was shorthanded with three players – Agathe Laisne, Kaitlyn Papp and Emilee Hoffman – playing in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur.

Wake Forest

Checked in as the top team in Golfweek’s spring-season only rankings. Led by defending NCAA individual champion Jennifer Kupcho and first-team All-American candidate Emilia Migliaccio. The Demon Deacons have finished first or second in their last five events including a victory at the ACC Championship.

Arizona

With four of the five back from last year’s team that won it all at Karsten Creek, the Wildcats will have a lot to draw on in tough situations at Blessings Club. Arizona won three times this year and has played well lately finishing second at the Pac-12 Conference Championship and NCAA East Lansing Regional.

Arkansas

You have to consider them a favorite, despite not having a win this year. The Razorbacks have one of the best players in college golf in Maria Fassi and are playing at home. Home-oriented teams have done well since the format went to match play with Oregon (2016) and Northwestern (2017) each making it to match play.

Keep an eye on…

Duke

The Blue Devils have not recorded a win this spring, but that’s alright. Duke has been consistent this year while playing the third-toughest schedule in college golf. With the format now including match play, it lends itself to a team that finds its way into the top eight after stroke play. And Duke fits into this equation nicely this year.

Vanderbilt

You don’t have to be first after 72 holes, you only have to be in the top eight. When looking for a team that could win the NCAA title in its current format, Vanderbilt is one of those teams. The Commodores have proven they can play with any team in college golf and after winning for the fifth time this year at the NCAA Auburn Regional, confidence should not be a problem to get into position for a title run.

Kent State

Greg Robertson has guided Kent State into match play in each of the last two years and this team is every bit as good. The Golden Flashes won its first NCAA regional title last week and is ranked No. 11.

Number crunching

Streaks

  • With its 13th NCAA regional victory, USC has extended its streak of playing in the national championship to 22 – the nation’s longest. The last time the Trojans did not play in the NCAA finals was 1997. USC has not finished outside the top 10 since an 11th place showing in 2005 and joins Stanford as the only two schools to appear in match play each year since the NCAA changed the championship format in 2015.
  • Alabama had the second-longest streak, qualifying for the past 13 championships. The Crimson Tide places 10th at the NCAA Auburn Regional to miss for the first time since 2005.
  • Since the NCAA switched from three to four regional sites, only four schools have advanced each year: USC, Stanford, Duke and Northwestern.
  • Seventeen of the 24 schools at the Blessings Golf Club this week played in the 2018 Championship at Karsten Creek (Stillwater, Okla.).

The format

May 17-19 (Friday-Sunday) – 54 holes of stroke play

May 20 (Monday) – Low 15 teams, top nine individuals advance to stroke-play final round to determine eight teams for match play and the individual champion

May 21 (Tuesday) – Quarterfinal and semifinal matches

May 22 (Wednesday) – Championship match

The field

Half of this year’s championship field comes from two conferences: Pac-12 (6) and SEC (6). The ACC and Big Ten each have four teams represented while the American, Big 12, Mid-American and Mountain West Conferences each have one. 

In order of Golfweek/Sagarin ranking:

  1. USC
  2. Wake Forest
  3. Duke
  4. Texas
  5. Stanford
  6. Vanderbilt
  7. Arkansas
  8. Arizona
  9. Florida State
  10. Florida
  11. Kent State
  12. UCLA
  13. Auburn
  14. Arizona State
  15. Northwestern
  16. Virginia
  17. Washington
  18. Illinois
  19. San Jose State
  20. Purdue
  21. Tennessee
  22. Ole Miss
  23. Indiana
  24. UCF

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