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Dance Card: Tennessee, SEC

The grande dames of the SEC aren't done yet.


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? Good old Rocky Top...)

Where? Knoxville, Tennessee, a repository of Appalachian culture, and no jokes about whether Appalachia has a culture.

When? March 9th, in Duluth, Georgia.

Why? They won the Southeastern conference tournament.

How? Tennessee roared to life in the closing minutes for their third comeback of the SEC tournament and a 71-70 win over Kentucky. Meighan Simmons notched 17 points to hit 2000 for her career, while Isabelle Harrison added 16 and Jordan Reynolds had 11 off the bench.

Surprise? Predicted to finish first in the conference, they ended up in second, one game behind South Carolina.

RPI: 5

SOS: 4

Record: 27-5 (13-3 Southeastern)

Good wins: At North Carolina, or South Carolina at home. Take your pick.

Bad losses: At Vanderbilt or home to LSU. There's nothing horrifying up in here.

Who's running this show? Holly Warlick, since 2012. 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. Our cohorts over at Rocky Top Talk can probably go into a bit more detail about this Tennessee squad.

Senior guard Meighan Simmons leads the Lady Vols in scoring (16.1 points) and statistical analyses (Q can provide examples). The most impressive Lady Vol this season, though, has been junior center Isabelle Harrison, averaging 13.9 points on 58.5% shooting and 9.5 rebounds. Tennessee showed flashes of the old grit in the SEC tournament- can they keep it up in the Big Dance?

Random thing that pleases me: Andraya Carter, forcing more turnovers than she commits. I've also tried to keep an eye on Cierra Burdick since she kept her head so well during the Tennessee-Baylor brawl a couple of years ago- at that time, she had fantastic poise for her years.

For more on their conference tournament run, check out our 2014 SEC women's basketball tournament storystream.