Following a one year absence, the SEC Softball tournament is back! In the time between now and Saturday, 12 games will be played with the Conference Crown and a birth in the NCAA Tournament on the line. In this single elimination tournament, one bad game could end a team’s season for good, and with high intensity stakes every game, expect some of the best on the field action in the entire nation to take place in Tuscaloosa.
Heading into this tournament as the reigning champs are the Florida Gators. Florida is the one seed in the tournament and find themselves as the overwhelming favorites to take it home for the third straight time. However, the SEC is as deep of a conference as they come and plenty of teams are poised to make a run for the throne. Here is a breakdown of each team as they head in, with their chances at coming home as SEC Champions.
#14. Vanderbilt: Vanderbilt has no softball team instead opting for wildly intriguing teams like the bowling and Lacrosse squads. Whoopee.
#13: Another quick hitter here as Auburn was the first team eliminated from the tournament. A poor performance against bottom feeder South Carolina sees the Tigers end their season on a negative note.
#12 Georgia: The Bulldogs are on a massive slide. Georgia has lost 12 of their last 15 games, with no discernable end in sight. Georgia has been a cohesive team, but hasn’t had a ton of standout players and doesn’t seem poised to make the 4 game run through the tourney.
#11 South Carolina: The only 1-0 team at the time of publishing, South Carolina will look to be the first team to ever win 5 straight to get the SEC Tournament crown. Unfortunately a 4-20 conference record is not a good sign, and they would have to go through a red hot Mississippi State and tournament favorites in Florida. Sorry Gamecocks, it isn’t happening this year.
#10 Ole Miss: As the 8 seed in the tournament and #24 team in the nation, Ole Miss likely has a NCAA Tournament birth in their grasp. Unfortunately for the Rebs, they find themselves in a tough tournament spot. That combined with a recent skid sees Ole Miss looking up at the rest of the pack as a severe underdog.
#9 Texas A&M: The Aggies have an easier road to make it far, but don’t have the in season efforts to back it up. Makinzy Herzog is a great player, but like many of the teams going to Tuscaloosa, there is a lack of depth and that should cost them.
#8 LSU: The Tigers are a good team and have proven themselves to be a solid middle of the pack club. The main issue for LSU has been stringing wins together. The Ladies from Baton Rouge have yet to string together more than three consecutive wins. That’s not a positive sign in a tournament like this, and their hopes look grim,
#7 Missouri: Continuing with the theme of inconsistency, Missouri rides into the tournament as a wildcard. The Tigers are 37-14, but have had moments this season in which they have played like a bottom tier team. As mentioned before, in a tournament where your best is required, there doesn’t seem to be any room for the mistakes of the Tigers to this point in the year.
#6 Tennessee: The Lady Vols are flailing at the moment, having closed the season on a
1-4 skid. At one point Tennessee was lined up for a double bye, and instead stumbled into having to play 4 to win it all. A first round win would set them up for dates against either Arkansas or Alabama, and that’s something to worry about if you’ve been keeping an eye on the Tide and The Hogs this year,
#5 Kentucky: The Cats are 6-0 over their past two weekends, but have struggled against top tier teams in the SEC. As of right now, they are set to host a regional given their playing as of late, but they will really need to prove themselves in Tuscaloosa.
#4 Mississippi State: The Bulldogs are riding a hot hand, and find themselves on a 7-0 streak. The Dogs have only averaged one allowed run over that stretch, and have outscored their opponents 15-0 in the first inning over that span. There’s no denying the Dogs are dangerous, they just need to prove it against the top of the top.
#3 Arkansas: Arkansas is a great team, but finds themselves just a tier lower than the top two teams. Expect the Hogs to be in the semifinals and in a matchup with the team best set up to win it all.
#2 Florida: Florida is the best team in the tournament. There is no denying that. 4 All SEC players grace the starting lineup for the Gators, and Florida has a top to bottom lineup in which every batter is dangerous. I fully expect them to make the championship game, but likely awaiting them is……
#1 Alabama: The Crimson Tide are the #3 seed in the tournament, but they also have the reigning SEC Player of the year and Pitcher of the year in Bailey Hemphill and Montana Fouts respectively. That combined with the fact that the tournament this year takes place in the home of the Crimson Tide shakes out nicely for the ladies from Alabama.
The tournament this year should be a fun one, and we highly encourage you to tune in and grow the game. The Wednesday and Thursday rounds are live on SEC Network, with the Semi-Finals and Championship game live on ESPN 2. What are your thoughts on the tournament bracket this year? Sound off in the comments below!