FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The University of Arkansas softball team was selected to finish fourth in the Southeastern Conference’s Western Division by the league’s coaches on Monday. Points for the poll were awarded on a 1-2-3-4-5-6 basis for the Eastern Division and a 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 basis for the Western Division. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team.
Alabama was picked to win the SEC after being ranked No. 1 in the preseason USA Today/NFCA poll. The Crimson Tide received eight of the 13 first place votes with Tennessee garnering the other five. Alabama finished 60-8 last season and won the first national championship in SEC history. The SEC features 11 NCAA tournament teams from last season. Arkansas will face eight of those tournament teams in 2013. Head coach Mike Larabee said the ranking is a sign of respect from the rest of the conference.
“It shows that we are getting some respect from the other programs in our conference,” Larabee said. “Coming off last year and only losing one starter and with the quality of players that we have brought in, this is right where I would have picked us. I feel like all of our returners are better than they were at this point last year.”
The Razorbacks will begin their schedule at the Red Desert Classic in St. George, Utah on February 8. Arkansas begins conference play at Texas A&M on March 15.
The SEC preseason point totals are as follows: Eastern Division: 1. Tennessee (12 points) 2. Missouri (30 points) 3. Georgia (34 points) 4. Florida (38 points) 5. Kentucky (58 points) 6. South Carolina (65 points) Western Division: 1. Alabama (12 points) 2. LSU (28 points) 3. Texas A&M (31 points) 4. Arkansas (51 points) 5. Mississippi State (56 points) 6. Auburn (63 points) 7. Ole Miss (74 points)