The Iowa softball team opens the Big Ten Tournament in Evanston, Illinois on Friday against Illinois. The Hawkeyes are the third seed after a 14-6 finish in the regular season race. As opposed to most softball tournaments the Big Ten event went to an eight-team single elimination format a few years ago to get more teams involved.
Iowa coach Gayle Blevins says the tournament probably does not have the type of impact it used to have in getting teams ready for the postseason, but there still is a sense of urgency to get ready to play. Blevins says under the new format a team can be headed home in a hurry if it is not ready to play. She says you have to be the better team on each day.
Iowa plays Illinois in the opening round after sweeping two games from the Illini last weekend. Blevins says they both know each other very well after playing the recent games. Northwestern is the top seed after tying Michigan for the regular season title.