The 2018 Southland Bowling League Championship gets underway Friday as all eight teams head to USA Bowl in Dallas for the three-day event. Featured matches of this year's tournament will be live streamed by InsideBowling.
Competition begins at 8:30 a.m. CT on Friday and Saturday with the championship match set for 9 a.m. on Sunday. For a complete schedule of matches, see the full 2018 tournament bracket.
For the first time in NCAA bowling history, automatic qualification to the NCAA tournament will be given to the winning team from qualified conferences' championships, including the Southland Bowling League. Last season marked the third consecutive year that the Southland made up half of the then-eight-team NCAA field.
Arkansas State enters as the top seed after a runner-up finish in last season's championship in Jonesboro, Ark. The Red Wolves are seeking their 11th consecutive NCAA tournament appearance. They will face No. 8 Monmouth in the first round on Friday at 8:30 a.m.
Vanderbilt is the No. 2 seed and defending Southland Bowling champion after winning the 2017 title out of the losers bracket, advancing to the team's 12th NCAA tournament, falling in the semifinal match. The Commodores are in search of their third Southland tournament title in four years in 2018. They will take on No. 7 Louisiana Tech in the opening round Friday at 8:30 a.m.
No. 3 seed Sam Houston State enters in search of redemption after bowing out in the third round of last season's tournament. The Bearkats own one of the Southland's three national titles, last winning in 2014 over perennial power Nebraska, and went to their sixth NCAA tournament in eight years in 2017. Sam Houston faces No. 6 Valparaiso on Friday at 8:30 a.m.
Stephen F. Austin comes in at No. 4 with an opening round matchup against No. 5 Tulane, a team that made waves in last year's tournament by winning three straight through the loser's bracket before falling to the Ladyjacks in the consolation field's semifinal. The Ladyjacks faced a similar road, advancing to the semifinal after downing the Green Wave but falling to Vanderbilt. SFA is playing for a chance at its fourth-straight NCAA bid. In those four appearances, the team has a national title and national runner-up appearance to its name.
The NCAA Women's Bowling Committee will select a field of 10 teams - six automatic qualifying teams and four at-large teams. Teams will be ranked, based on available selection criteria, with the top six being placed in the championship bracket. The remaining four teams will play in opening round matches to determine the final two teams that will compete in the championship.
Selections for the 2018 National Collegiate Women's Bowling Championship will be announced on Wednesday, March 28, 2018 via web stream on NCAA.com. The 2018 championship will take place at Tropicana Lanes in Clayton, Mo., from April 12-14.