By Karl Roskamp
It’s been a winding journey for No. 11 Missouri as it gears up to play No. 22 Arkansas in the Southeastern Conference Tournament on Thursday.
Missouri has dealt with transfers, injuries and erratic weather en route to a three-seed in the SEC tournament. The culmination of those factors has lead to the Tigers being a tired team.
“This time of the year, you’re so exhausted,” coach Ehren Earleywine said during a teleconference Monday afternoon.
Earleywine is taking a hands off approach to the tournament. He plans on having players rest and study film, rather than practicing in Lexington. “If you don’t have it now, you won’t have it then,” Earleywine said.
Despite the factors leading to a tired team, players should not be overwhelmed playing in a new conference tournament. First, Tennessee co-coach Karen Weekley called the Tigers “SEC ready” based on the team’s high-caliber of coaching, hitting and pitching.
Secondly, Missouri did not have the tournament on its radar.
“At the start of the year, it was not one of our goals to win the SEC Tournament,” Earleywine said.
Earleywine is focused on the Super Regional and sees the tournament as a tune-up. If he had his way, there wouldn’t even be a conference tournament.
“I’m not a fan of the SEC Tournament, or any post-season conference tournament,” Earleywine said, describing it as “anticlimactic” and fatiguing.
Fatigue was a major factor in Missouri’s previous series against Arkansas, when the Razorbacks took two out of three games at University Field on national television. The Tigers will play on Thursday May 8, at 3 p.m. at John Cropp Stadium.