Stuart McNair

Alabama begins NCAA Softball Tournament play Friday

Alabama softball hosts No. 1 Minnesota in regional

Once post-season tournament play begins, the polls become irrelevant, only mildly interesting. This week NCAA Regional Softball competition gets underway and it doesn’t matter that Alabama is ranked 14th in the Softball poll and ranked No. 15 in the USA Today/NFCA poll.

This week’s polls are the last ones until the conclusion of the Women’s College World Series. The Crimson Tide moved up two spots in the USA Softball poll into a tie with Louisiana at No. 14 and is ranked No. 15 for the second-straight week in the NFCA poll.

Of particular interest in the NFCA final poll is that Minnesota jumped Florida to take over first place in the nation going into regional competition. And guess where the Golden Gophers will be playing?

Alabama hosts the Tuscaloosa regional round this weekend, welcoming Minnesota, Louisiana Tech and Albany to Rhoads Stadium. Play begins on Friday with the Minnesota Golden Gophers facing the Lady Techsters at 1:30 p.m. CDT before the Crimson Tide takes on the Albany Great Danes at 4 p.m. SEC Network will televise the Bama game.

Alabama earned a No. 16 national seed for the NCAA Tournament, marking its 13th-straight season hosting a NCAA Regional. Minnesota, the No. 2 seed in the Tuscaloosa Regional, jumped Florida for the top spot in the NFCA poll this week after winning the Big 10 Tournament. Oregon, the No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament, claims the top spot in the USA Softball poll followed by Florida and Minnesota.

Alabama is one of 10 SEC schools ranked in this week’s top 25. All 13 SEC teams are either ranked or receiving votes in at least one poll. Ranked SEC teams include Florida (2/2), Auburn (8/8), Tennessee (10/10), Texas A&M (12/11), Ole Miss (13/16), Alabama (15/14), LSU (18/19), Kentucky (19/20), South Carolina (24/24) and Georgia (25/RV). Mississippi State, Arkansas and Missouri are each receiving votes outside the top 25.

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