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NCAA Regional Primer: Alabama Softball Gears Up For the Post-Season

'Bama aims for their second College World Series Championship.

Bring it home, ladies!
Bring it home, ladies!

Last week, I had the following to say regarding Alabama's participation in the SEC Softball Tournament:

However, truth be told, the SEC Tournament is strictly bragging rights for 'Bama as they will clearly be hosting a Regional and likely a Super-regional no matter their outcome of the tourney.

I further clarified in the comments section:

It could possibly help seeding if other teams falter in an embarrassing way and

Bama wins it all in dominating fashion over barn, Fla and Tenn. But probably not.
Florida is ranked #1 overall and probably gets the top seed even if they lose today.
The next three are Mich, Bama, and Okie. They will fill out 2-4 in some manner regardless of outcomes of their conference tourneys.

But, we are talking about the NCAA here. Silly me to think they would do anything rational. Despite a number four ranking in both softball polls as well as the #4 RPI, The Crimson Tide were seeded... sixth. smh.

Alabama is still hosting a regional with Cal (32-21-1), Texas State (39-20), and Samford (40-18) as their guests. Win that double-elimination tournament and they host a best-of-three Super-regional.

The 16 seeded host teams are as follows:

1 Florida, SEC
2 Michigan , Big Ten
3 Oklahoma, Big 12
4 Auburn, SEC
5 Oregon, Pac-12
6 Alabama, SEC
7 James Madison, Colonial
8 Florida State, ACC
9 Kentucky, SEC
11 Washington, Pac-12
12 UCLA, Pac-12
13 Tennessee, SEC
14 La.-Lafayette, Sun Belt
15 Missouri, SEC
16 Georgia, SEC

A record 11 of the 13 SEC schools (Vandy does not field a team) qualified for the post-season. Half of the host teams are from the SEC.

Despite a little disappointment in the seeding, the Crimson Tide should feel pretty good about where they stand. The match-ups did not do many favors for anyone except maybe Michigan.

#1 Florida - With all due respect to FAU!, UCF, and Alabama State, this should be a cakewalk for the Gators. However, they likely face their hated rival 16-seed UGA in the Super Regional.

#2 Michigan should cruise as well, but they have to get past Notre Dame first. 15-seed Mizzou is a potential Super-regional foe.

#3 Oklahoma may have the toughest road of the Top 8. If they can defeat Ole Miss is in their regional, they face the winner of a regional containing TAMU, Texas, and scrappy 14-seed UL-Lafayette.

#4 Auburn - I admit I was wrong. The selection committee put more stock into the Tigers beating 'Bama, Florida and LSU in the tourney than the body of work over the season than I did. As their reward, Auburn has a pretty easy regional (Jacksonville St., Oregon State, S.C. Upstate). However if they win that, they get the winner of 13-seed Tennessee and Arizona.

#5 Oregon - I have not seen the Ducks play this year but their RPI is ranked ninth. For what it is worth, they won the Pac-12 regular season (the P12 does not hold a conference tournament for whatever reason). It would appear that the committee gave them this seed so the top seeds did not look too SEC-heavy. Don't be surprised if Oregon is upset in their regional by unseeded Baylor (#13 RPI). Get past the Bears and they likely face twelfth-seeded UCLA who beat them two out of three in Eugene during the regular season.

#6 ALABAMA - In theory, 'Bama should have no problems in their regional. Cal has an RPI of 36. Samford and Texas State are further down. The six seed is not looking so bad now. A potential Super-regional opponent for the Tide could be eleventh-seeded Washington, should they hold off unseeded Minnesota (#20 RPI). The Huskies were 1-4 against the SEC, losing to two of three games to LSU, plus single games against Florida and Texas A&M.

Friday at Rhoads Stadium:

Alabama starts off with Samford (40-18) on Fri, May 20 at 4pm CT, which will be televised on the SEC Network. The Tide run-ruled the SoCon Tournament Champions in March by the score of 10-0.

Cal faces Texas State at 1:30pm CT on the same day. Bama has not played either of these teams in recent seasons, if ever.