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The Star Tribune made repeated requests for comment from Keisha Dunlap, chair of the NCAA softball selection committee, following the news Sunday night that the 54-3 Gophers didn’t land one of the tournament’s top 16 seeds.

Late Monday afternoon, the NCAA said Dunlap was unavailable for comment, instead giving a statement on behalf of the committee:

“The NCAA DI Softball Committee spoke at length over a three-day span about the University of Minnesota’s softball team, noting that many factors were considered regarding team seeding and that the final decision was difficult. …. When selecting the top 16 seeds the committee emphasizes a team’s performance against Top 25 teams along with other variables including strength of schedule.

“Additionally, two regular-season rankings were released, however, the rankings are not used by the committee when determining the seeds and final bracket that was released yesterday.

“When the committee compared Minnesota against other teams being considered for the top 16 seeds, Minnesota did not have as many regular-season Top 10 and Top 25 wins as compared to other teams. The teams that were selected as the 16 seeds had at least one or more Top 10 wins and between four to 18 Top 25 wins. Minnesota did not have any Top 10 wins and only two Top 25 wins.

“Furthermore, Minnesota’s strength of schedule was 114. The top seeded teams had strength of schedules ranging from 1 to 36.

“Again, this was a very difficult decision and should not take away from the season that Minnesota has had thus far. We are excited about the parity in Division I Softball and look forward to a great tournament.”