Patrick Murphy was named the SEC Coach of the Year earlier this year for a reason. He has led the Alabama softball team to another great season, which got a little sweeter Saturday.
The Crimson Tide routed the Florida in the SEC Championship Game 10-1 in Tuscaloosa. Alabama is the only team to run rule Florida, doing it twice in the last two weeks. With the NCAA Regionals right around the corner, how does the Tide stack up with the nation’s best softball teams?
College softball is a sport that has traditionally been dominated by teams from the Mid-West and West. Although teams from the Southeastern Conference have risen to prominence, the sport is still dominated by teams from the Pac-12 and Big 12. In fact, an SEC team has never won a national championship in softball.
Taking a look at the NCAA Softball RPI it is apparent the West is still the most dominant region. Seven out of the top ten teams come from either the Pac-12 or the Big 12. The other three teams in the top ten – Alabama, Florida, and Tennessee – are all members of the SEC.
What does the Crimson Tide have to compete with? As of May 7, Alabama sits in third in the NCAA RPI with California and Arizona State in front of them.
Alabama is a very well rounded team. The Crimson Tide leads the NCAA in several offensive categories and has one of the nation’s top pitchers in Jackie Traina.
California has dominated a tough schedule on their way to a 50-3 record (21-1 in Pac-12), including a dramatic walk-off victory over Arizona State in the Pac-12 Conference Championship Game. The Bears are expected to be the named the number one overall seed on Sunday’s NCAA Selection Show.
The Arizona State Sun Devils are the reigning national champions and are looking to become the first team to go repeat as champions since Arizona in 2006-2007. Clint Myers is one of the best coaches in the country and has proved himself once again with another great regular season. Although the Sun Devils lost in the Pac-12 Championship, expectations are still very high for the tournament.
Keep in mind; the NCAA Softball Tournament is all about getting hot at the right time. Alabama is one of the hottest teams coming in, but it is a mystery if they can keep rolling.
Alabama has the makeup of a team that could make a deep run in tournament play. Great leadership and coaching from Patrick Murphy, a high-powered offense, and one of the best pitchers in Jackie Traina gives Alabama the makeup of a championship team. This could be the year that Alabama brings home the first softball national championship to the SEC.
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