Patrick Murphy has a very clear understanding of where the University of Alabama softball team sits going into this weekend’s three-game home series against LSU.
His players, not so much.
And that’s just fine with the Crimson Tide’s head coach.
The Tigers are ranked eighth and Alabama is 11th. UA also has a total of 11 other games remaining against ranked teams. Ten remaining games, including the three against LSU, are against top-10 competition.
More importantly, perhaps, Alabama goes into the weekend at No. 12 in the official NCAA RPI (ratings percentage index) rankings. That rating is derived from a formula that includes a team’s record, its opponents’ records and the records of its opponents’ opponents, and is considered in postseason seeding.
LSU is 10th in the RPI. Among other remaining UA opponents, Auburn is third, Washington is fourth, Tennessee is 13th and Ole Miss is 36th. Performing well down the stretch against that schedule could get UA a coveted top-eight seed in the NCAA Tournament, which would allow Alabama to host through the regional and super regional rounds.
“We can kind of control our destiny for the long haul, really,” Murphy said. “I’m not going to say much to (the team) about that, but, I see who’s above us and we have opportunities to beat those people or at least take the series, because that goes a long way, too.”
Infielder Peyton Grantham isn’t focused on such things.
“Honestly, I have no idea where we’re ranked,” she said. “I have no idea where we are in RPI, I don’t know any of it.”
Alabama vs. LSU looks like a matchup of teams with prime pitching. Runs should be hard to come by this weekend.
“Whoever gets the key hit in any of the games will probably win it, because it probably won’t take much,” Murphy said. “These are really important, especially being at home, too.”
DEMI TURNER will miss the series after sustaining a fractured orbital bone from being hit with a ball in the eye socket during last weekend’s series at Missouri. She also sustained a concussion and needed stitches, and is not expected to resume softball activities before the middle of the month.
No. 8 LSU at No. 11 Alabama
Where: Rhoads Stadium
Schedule: Friday at 6:30 p.m., Saturday at 8 p.m, Sunday at 2 p.m.
Records: Alabama 33-6, 8-4 SEC; LSU 31-7, 7-2 SEC
TV: Saturday SEC Network, Sunday ESPN2