The Alabama softball team has done all it can to make its case. It finds out Sunday night whether it has done enough.
The Crimson Tide hopes to be one of 16 regional hosts when the 64-team field for the NCAA Tournament is revealed. The selection show will be televised on ESPN2 at 9 p.m.
Thirteenth-ranked Alabama (33-18) won five games in a row against ranked teams – four of them in the top 10 – over the course of the end of the regular season and the start of the SEC Tournament before being eliminated by No. 4 Florida at the league’s postseason event in Columbia, Missouri.
Alabama defeated No. 6 Georgia on April 29 and swept three games from ninth-ranked Texas A&M to close out the regular season, then defeated No. 15 Auburn in the opening round of the SEC Tournament before falling to the Gators.
The top 16 seeds will host regionals. Alabama was 15th in the final official NCAA Ratings Percentage Index rankings at the end of the regular season. The RPI rated Alabama’s schedule as the fourth-most difficult in the nation.
Going into the SEC Tournament play, Alabama was considered to be one of five teams – along with Arkansas, Auburn, Baylor and Kentucky – in the mix for the No. 13-16 seeds. Alabama’s 12 wins over RPI top-25 teams is the most of those contenders for host spots.
Alabama has hosted a regional for 13 years in a row.
What is sure to continue is Alabama’s streak of NCAA Tournament appearances: This will be the 20th straight season that the Crimson Tide has been part of the national championship field.
Of course, Alabama wants to do more than just host a regional: It wants to win its regional and more. Regional winners will advance to the super regional round of the NCAA Tournament, and Alabama is the only program that has made it to best-of-three super regional play every season since the format began in 2005. UA will look to extend its streak to 14 straight super regional appearances.
The eight super regional winners will advance to the Women’s College World Series. Alabama will be playing for the program’s 12th World Series appearance. UA’s most recent trip to Oklahoma City for the World Series came two seasons ago.
Reach Tommy Deas at email@example.com or at 205-722-0224.