An inconsistent season bought the Arizona Wildcats 40 minutes of waiting Sunday night - between the moment they learned they were seeded No. 13 in the NCAA softball tournament, and when they found out who they would play, and where.
Mike Candrea sat on a brown chair in his living room, taking notes on a legal pad.
By the time the televised selection show revealed the Wildcats' fate, the coach's prediction of a home regional series proved true.
The Wildcats' opponents, though, will make the task of advancing more difficult.
The double-elimination Tucson Regional will feature 44-7 Hawaii, which is ranked above the UA in both major polls, as well as 38-14 Notre Dame and 37-20 North Dakota State.
The Wildcats (35-17) play NDSU at 5 p.m. Friday, 2 1/2 hours after the Hawaii-Notre Dame game. All games will be aired on ESPNU.
"We've got our work cut out, and that's the way it should be from here on out," Candrea said. "For you to get to where you want to go anymore, you're going to have to play some tough people."
Sunday night played out a bit different than years in which the Wildcats were the presumptive Women's College World Series favorite.
"When you know you've done your job throughout the year for the long haul, you really don't sit around here even thinking about anything," Candrea said, "other than, 'Show me who we have. We know we're going to be at home.'"
Hawaii has a worse RPI than the Wildcats, who are 10th, but the Rainbow Wahine lead the NCAA in earned-run average and are ranked 13th in the polls, ahead of No. 16 Arizona.
The second-best team on the ERA list? No. 4 seed Oklahoma, which could host the Tucson Regional winner next week with a WCWS berth on the line.
The Sooners eliminated the UA at Hillenbrand Stadium in last year's super regional.
"Not to look too much into the future, to know we have another chance at Oklahoma, it's exciting," second baseman Kristen Arriola said. "To know we have a chance to face someone else that's just as competitive, it's very exciting."
The Wildcats are making their 26th straight NCAA tournament appearance and are 75-6 all-time in the regional round, but they know not to look past Hawaii.
Arizona last played the Rainbow Wahine in 2010, winning 5-1 in the Women's College World Series.
"Getting through regionals, anymore, is just not a given," Candrea said.
The UA is not without its flaws.
Candrea said he believed starting pitchers Kenzie Fowler and Shelby Babcock "are right around the corner, right now, from giving us their best performance."
The coach said the Wildcats have yet to "put every aspect together" at home - from hitting to pitching to defense.
"I think this team has not played its best softball yet," he said.
Psychologically, Candrea said, the Wildcats have improved.
"I'm optimistic that you're going to see their best effort put forward," he said. "Do we have some dents in our armor? Do I think we're going into postseason and I'm feeling really good about everything? Probably not.
"But it is what it is right now."
Six Pac-12 teams were placed in the tournament's top 16.
League champion Cal was named the tournament's top seed, while defending champ Arizona State was ranked No. 3. Oregon was seeded No. 11, UCLA No. 12 and Washington No. 16. All will host in the first round.
As will the Wildcats, who are ready for the task ahead.
"I was really excited," Arriola said. "It gives us momentum with our fans there, and we're in our own house.
"We take pride in Arizona softball, and playing like we know how."
Tucson regional schedule
Double-elimination format at Hillenbrand Stadium
• Tickets: Tickets are available at the McKale Center ticket office (621-CATS) and www.arizonawildcats.com. Season ticket-holders will receive priority if they order before noon. Tickets are $27 (reserved) and $21 (general admission) for an all-session pass. Single-game seats are $10 (reserved) and $8 (general admission)
• Game 1: Hawaii vs. Notre Dame, 2:30 p.m.
• Game 2: Arizona vs. North Dakota State, 5 p.m.
• Game 3: Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner, 3 p.m.
• Game 4: Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser, 5:30 p.m.
• Game 5: Game 3 loser vs. Game 4 winner, 8 p.m.
• Game 6: Game 3 winner vs. Game 5 winner, 2:30 p.m.
• Game 7: Game 6 rematch, 5 p.m., if necessary
Tucson Regional: Friday-Sunday
No. 13 seed Arizona* (35-17) vs. North Dakota State (37-20)
Notre Dame (38-14) vs. Hawaii (44-7)
Tempe Regional: Friday-Sunday
No. 3 Arizona State* (46-7) vs. LIU Brooklyn (25-33)
Long Beach State (28-23) vs. Syracuse (40-14)
Berkeley Regional: Friday-Sunday
No. 1 California* (50-4) vs. Iona (35-24)
Boston U. (40-14) vs. Arkansas (27-26)
Seattle Regional: Friday-Sunday
Texas Tech (40-15) vs. Maryland (34-20)
Harvard (33-13) vs. No. 16 Washington* (36-17)
Eugene Regional: Thursday-Saturday
No. 11 Oregon* (39-15) vs. Portland State (27-23)
Mississippi State (33-22) vs. BYU (43-13)
Los Angeles Regional: Friday-Sunday
Florida State (46-14) vs. San Diego State (30-22)
Hofstra (38-13) vs. No. 12 UCLA* (36-18)
Norman Regional: Friday-Sunday
Oregon State (34-21) vs. Tulsa (41-12)
Lehigh (40-17) vs. No 4 Oklahoma* (45-8)
Columbia Regional: Friday-Sunday
No. 9 Missouri* (43-12) vs. Illinois State (35-21)
Massachusetts (38-11) vs. DePaul (35-20)
College Station Regional: Friday-Sunday
LSU (34-22) vs. Texas State (38-15)
Bethune-Cookman (30-29) vs. No. 8 Texas A&M* (39-16)
Gainesville Regional: Friday-Sunday
No. 5 Florida* (46-11) vs. Florida Gulf Coast (37-22)
UCF (39-17) vs. South Florida (45-11)
Lafayette Regional: Friday-Sunday
Stanford (38-17) vs. Baylor (33-20)
Mississippi Valley (34-17) vs. No. 14 Louisiana-Lafayette* (49-4)
Austin Regional: Friday-Sunday
Auburn (33-21) vs. Houston (34-22)
Northwestern (27-27) vs. No. 6 Texas* (42-10)
Knoxville Regional: Friday-Sunday
No. 7 Tennessee* (46-10) vs. Miami (Ohio) (40-18)
UAB (37-20) vs. Virginia Tech (40-19)
Athens Regional: Friday-Sunday
North Carolina (41-13) vs. Georgia Southern (42-18)
Coastal Carolina (43-18) vs. No. 10 Georgia* (41-15)
Louisville Regional: Friday-Sunday
No. 15 Louisville* (53-3) vs. Valparaiso (42-17)
Kentucky (29-28) vs. Michigan (39-15)
Tuscaloosa Regional: Friday-Sunday
Georgia Tech (36-21) vs. South Alabama (39-15)
UT-Martin (39-20) vs. No. 2 Alabama* (50-7)
* Host school
• What: NCAA regional
• Who: Arizona vs. North Dakota St.
• Where: Hillenbrand Stadium
• When: 5 p.m. Friday
• TV: ESPNU
No. 13-ranked Hawaii Rainbow Wahine (44-7)
• Location: Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii
• Conference finish: Hawaii lost only three conference games and was named the Western Athletic Conference regular-season champions.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (38-14)
• Location: Notre Dame, Ind.
• Conference finish: Notre Dame has won 17 of its last 18 games, with the lone loss coming Saturday in the Big East championship game.
North Dakota State Bison (37-20)
• Location: Fargo, N.D.
• Conference finish: The Bison defeated Indiana University-Purdue University-Fort Wayne on Saturday to win the Summit League softball tournament.