Who? The Lady Vols of Tennessee.
When do they play in the first round? The Lady Vols will play Boise State on Saturday, March 21 at 1:30 p.m. ET.
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, where a World's Fair was held yea these many years ago.
Why? Look at those sweet single-digit TLAs.
How? They were an at-large selection.
Surprise? Predicted to finish second in the conference, they tied South Carolina for first and fell to second on tiebreakers.
Record: 27-5 (15-1 Southeastern)
Good wins: Oregon State.
Bad losses: At Chattanooga.
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.
Losing the 12.2 points, 8.6 rebounds, and immeasurable senior leadership of center Isabelle Harrison was a big blow to the Lady Vols. Senior forward Cierra Burdick has stepped her game up since that Kentucky game- she's putting up 11.0 points and 7.2 rebounds on the year. Senior guard Ariel Massengale is also a scoring threat, at 10.9 points per game, including 64 threes at a 37.6% clip.
I want to know how big junior center Bashaara Graves can be in the middle- she's putting up solid but not spectacular numbers on the season (10.1 points, 6.8 rebounds), and Tennessee is going to need her down low. And I know I said this last year, but I really like what Burdick brings to the floor. I don't know if she'll be the x-factor, but I look forward to seeing her.