No. 10 seed LSU

MASCOT: Tigers

RECORD: 50-16

CONFERENCE: Southeastern

LAST APPEARANCE: 2015 (reached semifinals)

KEY PLAYERS: Bianka Bell (.386, 12 HRs, 59 RBIs, .659 slugging); Sahvanna Jaquish (.353, 12 HRs, 71 RBIs, .637 slugging); Carley Hoover (20-8, 2.29 ERA, 18 complete games, 214 strikeouts); Allie Walljasper (11-5, 1.74 ERA, 11 complete games, two saves)

WHAT THEY’RE BEST AT: Pitching is everything in the postseason, and the Tigers have the best team ERA (1.83, fifth nationally) and one of the deepest rotations in the WCWS field with Hoover, Walljasper and freshman Sydney Smith.

NEED TO IMPROVE: Poor defense hasn’t cost LSU recently, but it must clean up its .958 fielding percentage, which ranks 155th nationally.

FUN FACT: The Tigers qualified for consecutive WCWS berths for the first time in program history.

No. 2 seed Michigan

MASCOT: Wolverines

RECORD: 51-5


LAST APPEARANCE: 2015 (runner-up)

KEY PLAYERS: Sierra Romero (.465, 19 HRs, 78 RBIs, .916 slugging); Sierra Lawrence (.440, 11 HRs, 45 RBIs, 20-of-20 stolen bases); Megan Betsa (27-3, 1.96 ERA, 18 complete games, 287 strikeouts); Sara Driesenga (22-1, 2.14 ERA, nine complete games)

WHAT THEY’RE BEST AT: Though buoyed by a duo of effective arms, the Wolverines lead the nation in runs per game (8.20) and have notched 25 wins via mercy rule.

NEED TO IMPROVE: There isn’t much Michigan can improve — it’s ranked third nationally in batting average (.352), fourth in fielding percentage (.978) and 12th in team ERA (2.10)

FUN FACT: The Wolverines’ only national title came in 2005, the first year the WCWS determined its champion by a best-of-three series.

No.6 seed Alabama

MASCOT: Crimson Tide

RECORD: 51-12

CONFERENCE: Southeastern

LAST APPEARANCE: 2015 (reached second round)

KEY PLAYERS: Haylie McCleney (.441, 15 doubles, .717 slugging, 22-of-23 stolen bases); Leona Lafaele (.345, 15 HRs, 61 RBIs, .667 slugging); Sydney Littlejohn (23-6, 2.32 ERA, 14 complete games, 113 strikeouts); Alexis Osorio (19-6, 2.37 ERA, 16 complete games, 263 strikeouts)

WHAT THEY’RE BEST AT: Littlejohn and Osorio present different looks to opposing offenses, while the top of the Tide’s lineup is known for its on-base percentage and base-stealing capabilities.

NEED TO IMPROVE: With a top-heavy batting order featuring McCleney and Lafaele in the one and three holes, Alabama could use a bit more production from the bottom of the lineup.

FUN FACT: The Tide is making its 11th trip to the WCWS, the most among SEC teams.

No. 3 seed Oklahoma

MASCOT: Sooners

RECORD: 52-7


LAST APPEARANCE: 2014 (reached second round)

KEY PLAYERS: Erin Miller (.400, 22 doubles, 50 RBIs, .682 slugging); Shay Knighten (.388, 11 HRs, 54 RBIs, .656 slugging); Caleigh Clifton (.368, three triples, .558 on-base, 12-of-15 stolen bases); Parker Paige (33-3, 1.55 ERA, 27 complete games, 244 strikeouts)

WHAT THEY’RE BEST AT: Oklahoma is the best hitting team in the country (.360), with no everyday player hitting below .333.

NEED TO IMPROVE: Jayden Chestnut (9-0, 2.88 ERA) and Kelsey Stevens (9-4, 3.37) must prove they can effectively spell Paige (216.1 innings pitched) if the Sooners want to make a deep run.

FUN FACT: With two-time reigning champion Florida absent from the field, Oklahoma is the most recent national champion (2013) in this year’s WCWS.

No. 16 seed Georgia

MASCOT: Bulldogs

RECORD: 45-18

CONFERENCE: Southeastern

LAST APPEARANCE: 2010 (reached semis)

KEY PLAYERS: Sydni Emanuel (.452, two triples, .497 on-base, 14-of-16 stolen bases); Cortni Emanuel (.423, 20 RBIs, 32-of-33 stolen bases); Tina Iosefa (.364, 23 HRs, 86 RBIs, .838 slugging); Chelsea Wilkinson (27-7, 1.84 ERA, 213 innings pitched, 209 strikeouts)

WHAT THEY’RE BEST AT: With the fifth-best offense (.348) and the nation’s home-run leader in Iosefa, Georgia can score runs — and plenty of them — in a hurry.

NEED TO IMPROVE: Brittany Gray (11-9, 3.24 ERA) must emerge as a serious secondary threat out of the bullpen behind Wilkinson.

FUN FACT: The Bulldogs were the first team to defeat a No. 1 seed in a super regional opener, and they followed that up by sweeping Florida on a walk-off homer in Game 2 last weekend.

No. 8 Florida State

MASCOT: Seminoles

RECORD: 53-8

CONFERENCE: Atlantic Coast

LAST APPEARANCE: 2014 (knocked out in first round)

KEY PLAYERS: Jessica Warren (.383, 18 HRs, 74 RBIs, .760 slugging); Alex Powers (.383, 14 doubles, 14 HRs, 17-of-19 stolen bases); Jessica Burroughs (27-5, 1.93 ERA, 13 complete games, 227 strikeouts); Meghan King (25-3, 2.09 ERA, 19 complete games, 121 strikeouts)

WHAT THEY’RE BEST AT: Warren and Powers comprise one of the most feared pairings of 3-4 hitters in the country, while Burroughs and King have quieted opposing offenses all season.

NEED TO IMPROVE: The Seminoles have scored only 3.2 runs per contest over five NCAA tournament games this season, necessitating more production from the entire order if they hope to challenge the elite arms at the WCWS.

FUN FACT: FSU is in the WCWS for the ninth time in program history but is still chasing that elusive first national title.

No. 12 seed UCLA

MASCOT: Bruins

RECORD: 40-14-1


LAST APPEARANCE: 2015 (reached second round)

KEY PLAYERS: Allexis Bennett (.412, seven doubles, .500 on-base, 12-of-16 stolen bases); Mysha Sataraka (.374, 13 HRs, 53 RBIs, .763 slugging); Delaney Spaulding (.345, 17 HRs, 61 RBIs, .709 slugging); Selina Ta’amilo (19-5, 3.39 ERA, 120 strikeouts)

WHAT THEY’RE BEST AT: The Bruins thrive in tight contests — they’re 19-4 in games decided by two runs or less, including a come-from-behind win that helped them knock off No. 5 seed Oregon in last weekend’s super regional.

NEED TO IMPROVE: With the highest team ERA (3.58) of any squad in the WCWS field, UCLA will need the trio of Ta’amilo, Johanna Grauer (15-8, 3.88 ERA) and Paige McDuffee (6-1, 3.12) to step up its game.

FUN FACT: The Bruins have the most WCWS championships (12), title games appearances (21) and WCWS appearances (29) of any school.

No. 4 seed Auburn

MASCOT: Tigers

RECORD: 54-10

CONFERENCE: Southeastern

LAST APPEARANCE: 2015 (reached semifinals)

KEY PLAYERS: Kasey Cooper (.425, 19 HRs, 76 RBIs, .880 slugging); Tiffany Howard (.392, five doubles, three triples, 11-of-11 stolen bases); Jade Rhodes (.335, 17 HRs, 66 RBIs, .682 slugging); Kaylee Carlson (17-2, 2.11 ERA, nine complete games, 64 strikeouts)

WHAT THEY’RE BEST AT: Auburn is all about power, using 91 doubles, 12 triples and 81 home runs to bludgeon opponents.

NEED TO IMPROVE: The Tigers don’t have much to clean up; their big bats and bullpen featuring five pitchers who have logged more than 58 innings have solidified them as a favorite to win it all.

FUN FACT: Auburn is making just its second trip to the WCWS after finishing as a semifinalist last season.

-- Marcus Rodrigue