O'Sullivan Previews SEC Tournament

After clinching a share of the SEC Championship over the weekend, the No. 2 Gators now head to Hoover, Ala., to begin the SEC Tournament on Wednesday. Florida head coach Kevin O'Sullivan isn't sure of his starting pitcher for the opener against Mississippi State but winning the first game without one of the top three starting pitchers on the mound could set the Gators up for a deep tournament run.

Q: "Do you know who your starting pitcher will be?"

A: "We haven't decided yet. We'll probably decide by (Monday) night. It probably won't be one of our three starters that threw this weekend. It'll probably be someone new."

Q: "How capable is the Mississippi State team to upset someone?"

A: "Every team is good. Anybody can beat anyone on any given day. There is so much balance in this league, especially this year. They've got just as good of a chances as anybody to win this thing. They can mix and match out of the bullpen, and they've got some righties and lefties they can use off the bench. It's a tough team to play against because of the matchups."

Q: "How different is this Florida team this season compared to a year ago when you were so young?"

A: "We're similar because we have a lot of guys back, but the big thing is experience. That'll help us out as we go into the postseason. It's a similar team that's eager to get back to Hoover and take it one step further. We're hoping to build on our experience for last year."

Q: "How important is this tournament to build momentum into the postseason?"

A: "There's a lot of speculation about this tournament leading into Regionals. The bottom line is, if you ask any coach, when a team takes the field they want to play well enough to win. We're going to do our best to try and win this thing. You certainly don't want to play poorly going into Regionals, but South Carolina only played two games last year in the SEC Tournament and ended up winning the (national championship). I don't think the outcome of this weekend will determine how we play in the Regional, but we want to play well and try to win it."

Q: "What are your thoughts on Hoover with the tournament staying there through 2016?"

A: "I've only been in this league four years, and I don't know any place that would do a better job. The hotel does a fantastic job. I'm glad that it's going to stay in Hoover, and hopefully we can keep it there for many years to come."

Q: "What are your thoughts on the wire-to-wire race that you had with Vanderbilt and South Carolina all year?"

A: "It was more fun for the fans than the coaches. It came down to the last day of the year, and it probably should have. Vanderbilt and South Carolina have outstanding clubs, and it had a fitting finish. All teams had a great year, but you kind of knew it would come down to the end. It was a great final two weeks, and the West was a great finish too. It speaks volumes about the league and how balanced it is."

Q: "Regions Park was already considered a pitcher's park, but with the new bats, is that going to favor teams with the best pitching even more?"

A: "Any team would say pitching and defense helps win games, but I think now even more so. Hoover does have a big ballpark. A lot of it has to do with outfield defense. You have to have guys that can cover ground out there. Teams are swinging the bats a lot better now than two months ago. Guys are getting used to the barrels and getting the head (of the bat) out better. As much as the pitching had the advantage the first half of the year, I don't think the gap is that big right now with how some teams are swinging the new bats."


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