Tennessee and Florida did not meet during the regular season, but did see each other in the semifinals of the SEC Tournament three weeks ago. That one ended with the Lady Vols pulling the upset on the Gators with a 2-1 victory behind Erin Gabriel's three-hitter. That win may have been the difference between the Lady Vols playing Florida State in Knoxville instead of Tallahassee in the Super Regional's 8/9 match-up, but the loss for Florida wasn't enough to keep them from the tournament's top overall seed.
Oklahoma City is populated by all eight top seeds this week, making the Lady Vols your resident cinderella. The slipper may fit a young Tennessee team thought to be in a rebuilding year; Tory Lewis is the team's leading hitter at .333, but she and relief pitcher Cheyanne Tarango are the Vols' only seniors.
Other than the one that gets you the title, I'd argue the most important game to win in these double-elimination tournaments is the first one. Stay out of the loser's bracket early and you can get to the championship series with just a couple wins with a loss still to spare. Lose today, and the Lady Vols would have to win four straight in two days to get to the championship series. It's an SEC party on this side of the bracket, as Tennessee will face either Auburn or LSU in their next game. If victorious today the Ladies will return to action tomorrow night; lose today and they play Saturday at noon.
The action begins today at 12:00 PM (ET) on ESPN. If you're watching live during your work day or lunch break, we invite you to join us in the comments below.