Posted: 12:00 p.m. Thursday, May 30, 2013
By Will Shelton
The Women's College World Series opens play today in Oklahoma City, and the Lady Vols are set to begin play at 2:30 PM ET. After beating Alabama in the Super Regional last weekend, it'll once again be a familiar face today: the Florida Gators are Tennessee's opening opponent in this double-elimination tournament. The Gators are the two seed and SEC Champion; all three regular season games between the Lady Gators and Lady Vols went to extra innings, with Florida taking two of three in Gainesville earlier this season.
It's all chalk on the other side of the bracket, as 1-seed Oklahoma will face 8-seed Michigan, and 4-seed Texas will face 5-seed Arizona State. But things are slightly easier on UT's side of the bracket; the Lady Vols do have to deal with Florida, but 11-seed Washington and 14-seed Nebraska both won on the road in the Super Regionals to advance to Oklahoma City. The victor from the four-team pod of UT, Florida, Washington, and Nebraska will advance to the best-of-three championship round.
If the Lady Vols win today they'll play tomorrow night at 7:00 PM ET. If they lose, they'll play Saturday at noon in the first of what would have to be four straight wins to advance to the championship round. Since you can advance to the championship round with just three wins from the winner's bracket, the most important game to get is the first one.
It should also be the most challenging, but the Lady Vols have been here before. This is UT's sixth appearance in Oklahoma City since 2005. We've never won it and got swept out of play in our trip here last season. Here's hoping for a better fate this year, starting today against the Gators at 2:30 on ESPN. A championship would go a very long way in Knoxville.
This is your open thread for action throughout the weekend - if you're watching live or stuck at work, feel free to join in with the comments here.