The NCAA Tournament in Softball is set, and we know Auburn's path back to Oklahoma City for the third year straight.
Auburn Regional:— NCAA Softball (@NCAAsoftball) May 15, 2017
Auburn vs. ETSU
Notre Dame vs. California pic.twitter.com/5FgupmfIeV
Auburn opens NCAA play at home Friday against East Tennessee State pic.twitter.com/mV5AzUDHuV— Auburn Gold Mine (@AUGoldMine) May 15, 2017
No draw is easy in this tournament, but thank goodness Auburn isn't in that top bracket with Florida, Alabama, and Minnesota. The Golden Gophers have the best record in the nation with a 54-3 they're not even a national seed. They'll be in Tuscaloosa to face Alabama in the Regional. Alabama definitely did not get an easy path to the Super Regional with the Gophers.
Still, though, the bottom half of their portion of the bracket features #10 Oklahoma hosting. That means that the Super Regional for Auburn - should they win their bracket - could be a rematch of last year's Women's College World Series championship series and this season's opening game.
Just how tough was the SEC this year? Every team in the conference is in the Tournament. Every. Single. Team. One of the reasons cited for Minnesota not being seeded was a lack of a tough conference and non-conference schedule. Nowhere is that more visible than in how many SEC teams are in the tournament - and seeded - over the Gophers.
For the Tigers, should they get to Oklahoma City, they'll likely face either Oregon or Arizona should those teams win their Regionals and Super Regionals when they get there. That's no easy task, obviously. First, Auburn has to take care of business in their own backyard. There's no telling what will happen with this team on any given day, so the focus is on getting through next weekend.
No Regional is going to be easy. Auburn should be able to handle the teams it faces at Jane B. Moore Field, but, again, we never know how the offense and defense are going to perform. I trust the pitchers, though, and I think if anything gets Auburn through this, it's going to be Kaylee Carlson and Makayla Martin.
The stage is set. It's not an easy run, but it's not as bad as it could be.