Big 12 Softball Preview: Oklahoma State, Texas Host Top 10 Opponents
As we enter the fifth weekend of Big 12 softball for the 2023 season, the conference hierarchy is starting to take shape.
Right now, the Oklahoma schools are out front, but Texas and Baylor are tagging along and look like real conference title contenders. Meanwhile, Texas Tech is in the third tier of the conference right now all alone, while Kansas and Iowa State are still trying to figure things out.
This weekend, two of the conference’s best teams will host top 10 opponents, while others hit the road for interesting tournament matchups.
Let’s take a look at what the penultimate tournament weekend has to offer before Big 12 play starts.
#1 OKLAHOMA (17-1)
Oklahoma hits the road again this weekend after a dominant performance in the hope opener last weekend. After outscoring its opponents 39-1 over four games in Norman, the Sooners looked like the best team in the country once again. Now, in SEC country, Oklahoma will have to remain focused with a dangerous Mississippi State (16-5) team getting two shots at them in front of their home crowd.
|SE Louisiana||Mar 10 (Fri)||12:30 PM CT||Starkville, MS||Sooner Sports|
|(RV) Mississippi State||Mar 10 (Fri)||6:00 PM CT||Starkville, MS||SECN+|
|(RV) Mississippi State||Mar 11 (Sat)||3:00 PM CT||Starkville, MS||SECN+|
|Omaha||Mar 12 (Sun)||10:30 AM CT||Starkville, MS||Sooner Sports|
#3 OKLAHOMA STATE (17-1)
Outside of the three-game series with Oklahoma to end the regular season, this is the biggest weekend of Oklahoma State’s schedule prior to the postseason. Florida State comes into Stillwater with a 20-3 record and is ranked as the No. 6 team in the country. Last season, the Seminoles and Cowgirls played a two-game series in Tallahassee, and the home team prevailed with a sweep. Can Oklahoma State return the favor in 2023?
|#6 Florida State||Mar 10 (Fri)||6:00 PM CT||Stillwater, OK||ESPN+|
|#6 Florida State||Mar 11 (Sat)||2:00 PM CT||Stillwater, OK||ESPN+|
|#6 Florida State||Mar 12 (Sun)||2:00 PM CT||Stillwater, OK||ESPN+|
#10 TEXAS (17-2-1)
The Longhorns will put their nine-game winning streak on the line this weekend with Wisconsin and Alabama coming to town for the Bevo Classic. While Wisconsin isn’t the powerhouse that will make Texas worry, Alabama certainly is. The Tide roll into this weekend with an 18-3 record and will pose one of the biggest challenges that Texas has faced to this point in the season. If the Longhorns can split with Bama and win the rest of its games this weekend, voters will start to take them a bit more seriously.
|Wisconsin||Mar 10 (Fri)||1:30 PM CT||Austin, TX||LHN|
|#9 Alabama||Mar 10 (Fri)||4:00 PM CT||Austin, TX||LHN|
|Wisconsin||Mar 11 (Sat)||4:00 PM CT||Austin, TX||LHN|
|#9 Alabama||Mar 11 (Sat)||6:30 PM CT||Austin, TX||LHN|
|Texas State||Mar 12 (Sun)||3:00 PM CT||Austin, TX||LHN|
|Sam Houston||Mar 14 (Tue)||6:30 PM CT||Huntsville, TX||N/A|
#16 BAYLOR (17-2)
The Baylor Bears will hit the road to California this weekend for the Long Beach / Cal State Fullerton Tournament. There, the Bears will face both host teams, along with Loyola Marymount among a few others. Baylor should walk out of this weekend unscathed if it is the team we believe it to be, but after a three-week home stand, it’ll be interesting to see how well the Bears can perform on the road.
|(RV) Cal State Fullerton||Mar 8 (Wed)||6:00 PM CT||Long Beach, CA||N/A|
|Boston University||Mar 9 (Thu)||2:30 PM CT||Long Beach, CA||N/A|
|Long Beach State||Mar 9 (Thu)||5:00 PM CT||Long Beach, CA||N/A|
|Columbia||Mar 10 (Fri)||4:00 PM CT||Long Beach, CA||N/A|
|Loyola Marymount||Mar 10 (Fri)||6:30 PM CT||Long Beach, CA||N/A|
TEXAS TECH (15-7)
Last week, I felt that Texas Tech should go undefeated with a very manageable group of teams coming to Lubbock. They ended up going 3-2 and lost some winnable games in my eyes. This week, the Red Raiders will host Buffalo, Manhattan, and New Mexico. Again, I feel that TTU should have no problems with any of those teams, nor should they struggle with Texas State in an early week double-header on Tuesday. However, I’d be lying if I didn’t expect them to come out with one or two head-scratchers.
|Buffalo||Mar 10 (Fri)||3:00 PM CT||Lubbock, TX||ESPN+|
|Manhattan||Mar 10 (Fri)||5:30 PM CT||Lubbock, TX||ESPN+|
|Manhattan||Mar 11 (Sat)||3:00 PM CT||Lubbock, TX||ESPN+|
|New Mexico||Mar 11 (Sat)||5:30 PM CT||Lubbock, TX||ESPN+|
|New Mexico||Mar 12 (Sun)||12:30 PM CT||Lubbock, TX||ESPN+|
|Texas State||Mar 14 (Tue)||2:00 PM CT||San Marcos, TX||N/A|
|Texas State||Mar 14 (Tue)||12:30 PM CT||San Marcos, TX||N/A|
There’s no way around it, Stanford is a tough draw to start the weekend off with for the Jayhawks. However, with the way that Kansas has been playing this season, they might go out and run-rule the Cardinal and lose the rest of their games this weekend. This team has been incredibly hard to read so far in 2023, but my expectation is a 4-1 record this weekend. Let’s see if they prove me wrong for the fifth week in a row.
|#8 Stanford||Mar 10 (Fri)||3:00 PM CT||Lawrence, KS||N/A|
|Central Arkansas||Mar 10 (Fri)||5:30 PM CT||Lawrence, KS||N/A|
|Central Arkansas||Mar 11 (Sat)||3:00 PM CT||Lawrence, KS||N/A|
|South Dakota State||Mar 11 (Sat)||5:30 PM CT||Lawrence, KS||N/A|
|South Dakota State||Mar 12 (Sun)||1:00 PM CT||Lawrence, KS||N/A|
IOWA STATE (7-12)
This is the kind of weekend slate that Iowa State needs to get on track. Fordham is 3-10, Niagara is 2-9, and Hawaii is 13-7. Getting Fordham and Niagara to start off a weekend in Hawaii is perfect, as this team has lacked confidence in its play thus far. Pick up three wins, split with a good Hawaii team in their backyard, and spend a week in paradise to bond with your teammates. Iowa State needs to find itself this weekend, because things get much harder after this.
|Fordham||Mar 10 (Fri)||5:00 PM CT||Honolulu, HI||N/A|
|Niagara||Mar 10 (Fri)||7:30 PM CT||Honolulu, HI||N/A|
|Niagara||Mar 11 (Sat)||2:00 PM CT||Honolulu, HI||N/A|
|Hawaii||Mar 11 (Sat)||7:00 PM CT||Honolulu, HI||N/A|
|Hawaii||Mar 12 (Sun)||5:00 PM CT||Honolulu, HI||N/A|