What Alabama softball coach Patrick Murphy said about drawing ACC champion Clemson in Tuscaloosa regional
Alabama softball was awarded the No. 3 overall seed in the NCAA tournament and will host Alabama State, Troy and Clemson, the 10th-ranked Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season champions, in the regional round at Rhoads Stadium beginning Friday.
Troy (36-15) will play Clemson (42-6) on Friday at 2 p.m. CT on ESPN3. The Crimson Tide (45-7) will play Alabama State (19-27) on Friday at 5 p.m. CT on the SEC Network.
Here's what Alabama softball coach Patrick Murphy had to say about the draw:
On his team reaching the NCAA tournament:
"This is like Christmas morning for me, you know it's 22 years in a row we've been invited to the NCAA tournament. Obviously, it was an automatic bid and we knew we were getting in, but to see Alabama on the screen means a lot to everybody.
"I asked (pitching coach) Stephanie VanBrakle-Prothro, you know her team (as a player) was the fifth year and now we're at 22, so she kind of paved the way for this. I am really proud of everyone on this team for continuing that tradition. There's a lot of tradition that keeps going on in this program. This team really has been one of the best teams to coach and resilient, gritty and competitive."
His reaction to the 64-team bracket:
"You're going to have have some unhappy teams every year no matter what happens and it's unfortunate. There are 64 teams and it is like a big 64-piece puzzle that you need to find a spot for everyone. The committee is doing the best they can do. Every year someone will feel slighted or cheated but that's just part of the deal."
Murphy in the ESPN2 broadcast on drawing the ACC champion Clemson Tigers
"First of all congratulations to all 64 teams who made it here, it's amazing that we're able to do this during a pandemic."
"(Clemson) has had one heck of the year, John Rittman is a great coach, they have the player of the year, they won the regular season. It reminds me a lot of when we had Minnesota come here who was No. 1 all year and it was kind of a surprise to everyone, but you have to start somewhere and beat everyone, this is the start."
On having five of the eight top seeds come from the SEC
"It's huge. Obviously, that's what you hope for because everyone has a home-field advantage. Top to bottom, the strength of the league was huge and gained great respect throughout the country.
"This says, No. 1, we scheduled properly and then, No. 2, you had to win some games because you can schedule the toughest games in the world and if lose them you got nothing. There was a lot of good wins in the SEC this year and we also beat up on each other in the regular season, were a deep conference."