North Texas Softball Announces 2016 Schedule
Schedule Features 25 Home Games, Five 2015 NCAA Tournament Opponents
DENTON — With the return of five upperclassmen and the addition of 11 new players, the North Texas softball program moves forward entering year three of the Tracey Kee era, looking to build on the record heights and several program records and firsts achieved during her first two seasons.
North Texas will face another challenging 56-game schedule in year three, highlighted by games against five 2015 NCAA Tournament teams and eight power-five conference opponents. The Mean Green will play 25 home games at Lovelace Stadium, a slate that includes C-USA series against Marshall, Florida International, Louisiana Tech and UAB, as well as two nonconference tournaments and a midweek matchup against Texas Tech out of the Big 12 conference.
“I believe this schedule will challenge our squad right out of the gate,” Kee said. “As a coach, you want to play the toughest teams possible. You want your squad battle tested prior to entering conference play. I feel this 2016 schedule does that. It allows us time to grow and mature while on the road, it matches us against ranked teams throughout the season, and will give us a true assessment in regards to where we rank amongst some of the nation’s best.
“North Texas is on the cusp of doing very good things when it comes to our softball program. We feel we have the student-athletes on the roster to move our program forward. As a staff, we are excited to move forward with these student-athletes.”
NCAA Tournament teams from last season on the schedule include Super Regional participants Arizona and Oklahoma, the defending Big 12 champion, and Conference USA regular-season and tournament champion Western Kentucky, as well as Baylor and Texas. North Texas will also play three other power-five teams in Georgia Tech, Kansas and Purdue.
The Mean Green will begin their season with five games in three days at the Arizona Tournament, hosted by Pac-12 perennial power Arizona, with the season opener against the Wildcats set for Friday, Feb. 12. North Texas will also compete in the Baylor Invitational Tournament, where the Mean Green will again play five games in three days, including a matchup with the Bears on Saturday, Feb. 20.
After two tournaments on the road, North Texas will play its first home games of the season in the North Texas Invitational, a two-day tournament in which they will play two games each against Sam Houston State and Creighton. The following weekend, North Texas will host the Mean Green Spring Fling, where they will play five games in three days against the likes of UT Martin, Nicholls State and Houston Baptist.
North Texas will open Conference USA play on the road against Western Division champion UTSA. Later in league play, the Mean Green will also host C-USA foes Marshall, FIU, Louisiana Tech and UAB, as well as travel to Western Kentucky, Southern Miss and UTEP.
From an RPI perspective, North Texas will play 13 teams that were ranked in the top 100 of the final NCAA RPI rankings last season, including seven in the top 50 and four in the top 25.