Who? The Lady Vols of Tennessee.
What? Tennessee has a history of answering the call. Smokey is a blue tick coon hound who knows how to work a room. And now "Rocky Top" is stuck in my head. (And now it's stuck in yours, isn't it?)
Where? Knoxville, Tennessee, home of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.
When? March 4th, at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.
Why? They won the Southeastern Conference tournament.
How? The much maligned senior class stepped up to give Tennessee a 70-58 win over LSU. Glory Johnson had 20 points and 11 rebounds, and the Lady Vols dominated the Lady Tigers on the boards 39-23.
Surprise? Tennessee was picked to win the SEC in the preseason and finished second, so I wouldn't call it a surprise. A mild one at most- but let's be honest, it's Tennessee. Earthquakes happen when Tennessee's in trouble.
RPI (as of 3/4): 4
SOS (as of 3/4): 1
Record: 24-8 (12-4 Southeastern)
Good wins: Miami, at Rutgers
Bad losses: At Virginia is not great. Home to Arkansas is really not great, by Tennessee standards. But both of those were overtime games.
Who's running this show? Pat Summitt, since the dawn of history... okay, 1974. Go back Pat, then come back to this preview.
Extra, Extra! Not that UT is serious business in Knoxville, but the News Sentinel has a devoted sub-site for Tennessee sports.
To say that it hasn't been an easy season for Tennessee is to understate the matter- and understatement might be an understatement. The post corps was decimated by the losses of Kelley Cain and Alyssia Brewer, and then there's the matter of Pat Summitt's diagnosis, and that's not even going into the questions about this senior class's toughness and heart.
A team that doesn't measure up to Pat Summitt's standards is still a very good team. Senior Shekinna Stricken is the scoring leader with 15.4 points per game, but senior forward Glory Johnson leads the way with 14.1 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. Sophomore guard Meighan Simmons can shoot them into and out of games with equal alacrity. What would worry me as a Tennessee fan would be the splits- opponents are outscoring them in the second half and overtime.