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Staff archives: University of California Athletic Director Sandy Barbour addresses the media in Berkeley, Calif. Wednesday, September 15, 2004. (Contra Costa Newspapers / Kristopher Skinner)

Cal athletic director Sandy Barbour believes it's "a no-brainer" that the school will be chosen Sunday to host an NCAA softball regional for the first time.

"How do you deny the No. 1 team in the country if we meet the criteria?" Barbour said.

The top-ranked Golden Bears submitted a bid for the first time to the NCAA to serve as a host of the opening week of the national tournament.

In the past, Cal did not meet two critical requirements: providing sufficient locker rooms and a warmup area. Now, with the completion of the Simpson High Performance Center and a durable turf at Witter Field adjacent to the Levine-Fricke softball field, the Bears have addressed the two primary stumbling blocks.

The athletic department also has moved in 1,200 temporary bleacher seats and is prepared to rent lights and a pressbox structure.

The 64-team tournament begins with eight regional events, May 17-20.

The NCAA will announce the tournament field on Sunday at 7 p.m., and Barbour said the university won't know until that time whether its bid is accepted.

In the meantime, the Bears (48-3, 19-2 Pac-12) face No. 2 Arizona State (45-5, 17-2) in a three-game series at Levine-Fricke that will end the regular season and determine the conference title. The first game is Thursday at 3 p.m.

Barbour doesn't believe the outcome of the series will have impact on their NCAA bid.

"We are proceeding as if it will happen. I don't see any reason it won't," she said. "I think regardless of what happens this weekend, we're a top-8 seed. Our season's body of work has earn an opportunity to host."

Cal softball coach Diane Ninemire said she is excited by the prospect of hosting an NCAA regional, but said the team's immediate concern is Arizona State.

"We've been road warriors," Ninemire said, alluding to the team's 36-2 record away from home. "This team will be fine if we're on the road or here at home."

Barbour said that softball is high on the athletic facilities priority list when the Memorial Stadium project is complete. She said the plan is to eventually have permanent seating, lights and a pressbox facility that meet the NCAA tournament criteria.