GREENVILLE, S.C. — The Lady Vols entered the SEC Tournament on the bubble and will leave the SEC Tournament on the bubble. ESPN Women's bracketologist Charlie Creme (as of 6:45 p.m. on March 8) has the Lady Vols as a No. 11 seed in the Chicago Region of his bracket. Tennessee still sits in the "Last Four In" category.
Tennessee appears to be safe... for now. What could hurt the Lady Vols is team's not previously expected to make the NCAA Tournament winning their conference tournament and locking up an automatic bid. A good example of this would be Arkansas. The Razorbacks are not expected to make the tournament, but if Arkansas beats Texas A&M and the winner of Missouri/Mississippi State in the semifinals and finals of the tournament, the NCAA would have to make room for the team, taking a group like Tennessee out of the field.
The Lady Vols finished the season with a 19-12 record, 7-9 in conference play during the regular season. After the loss to Mississippi State on Friday, the team made its best pitches in the locker room.
"We compete and we play hard," said head coach Holly Warlick. "Do I think we deserve a chance? Absolutely."
"I just feel like we are a dangerous team," said Rennia Davis "just because you never know who's going to give you 15 or 20 a night, we have so many offensive weapons."
"We've kind of got a little chip on our shoulder right now," said Evina Westbrook. "I think other teams know that coming in, playing against us."
Just ask the the head coach of the team that just beat the Lady Vols, Vic Schaefer.
"I don't think anybody wants to see them," he said after the game. "They're so skilled, they're just young."
Patience will be tested. Tennessee will have to wait for a week and a half. The team's NCAA Tournament fate will be decided on Selection Monday, March 17.