Alabama’s softball team has been a major national competitor for more than a decade now, and Coach Patrick Murphy’s the one to credit.
Under his reign, the team has made the NCAA tournament every year and has advanced to the Women’s College World Series seven times — and could make it eight by this weekend.
Alabama hosts Michigan Thursday and Friday in the NCAA Super Regional Round. If the Tide wins the two out of three series, it will head to Oklahoma City as part of the eight-team tournament finale.
With the 2012 WCWS looming, the question begs, can Pat Murphy win the big one?
He’s taken his team to the WCWS more years than not, but the Tide can’t quite ever put all of the pieces together to bring home a national championship.
Team analysis aside (as this piece is more about the Pat Murphy psyche and a generality, not about this season alone) here are a reason why he will and a reason why he won’t:
Power in volume
With as many appearances and chances Murphy’s given the Tide in the last decade, will the run end? As long as he’s the head man, probably not. If the Tide continues going to the WCWS as often as it has in the last few seasons, there’s bound to be a season when Murphy can get his team to the finals and earn the two victories needed for a championship.
It’s a complicated tournament
Many games separate a team from its final regular season game and the WCWS finals. Heck, lots of games separate a team entering the World Series and the finals. Much unlike a standard win or go home bracket, the WCWS tournament uses a double-elimination, two-sided bracket to pick two teams that then go head to head in a best of three series. It’s tough. Much tougher than earning an NCAA basketball tournament bid and winning the four games necessary to go to the Final Four. In a lot of ways, it’s much tougher than earning a spot in the two-team football championship.
It takes such a body of work after getting to the last of the last rounds of the already-long post-season, just as much luck is needed to get to the two-team finals as skill and work.
What do you think? Can Pat Murphy bring home a national championship?
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