Lady Vols seeded No. 1 in Midwest

UT inspired by analysts who say they will bow out of NCAA

Front from left are UT Lady Vols' Alberta Auguste, Candace Parker, Cait McMahan, Shannon Bobbitt,  and back row from left are assistant coach Nikki Caldwell, Alexis Hornbuckle, Angie Bjorklund and head Coach Pat Summitt celebrate being named a number one seed in the NCAA women's tournament .  At far left is with hand up is Joan Cronan, UT women's athletic director. The bracket selection party was held at Pat Summitt's home.

Photo by Joe Howell

Front from left are UT Lady Vols' Alberta Auguste, Candace Parker, Cait McMahan, Shannon Bobbitt, and back row from left are assistant coach Nikki Caldwell, Alexis Hornbuckle, Angie Bjorklund and head Coach Pat Summitt celebrate being named a number one seed in the NCAA women's tournament . At far left is with hand up is Joan Cronan, UT women's athletic director. The bracket selection party was held at Pat Summitt's home.

Tennessee's Candace Parker looks for an open shot while guarded by LSU's Sylvia Fowles Sunday in the first half of the 2008 SEC Women's Basketball Championship at the Sommet Center in Nashville.

Photo by Saul Young

Tennessee's Candace Parker looks for an open shot while guarded by LSU's Sylvia Fowles Sunday in the first half of the 2008 SEC Women's Basketball Championship at the Sommet Center in Nashville.

The NCAA women's basketball tournament selection show is an acquired taste for Tennessee's Nicky Anosike.

As a freshman, she thought the team get-together was nothing more than dinner at coach Pat Summitt's home.

"I had no clue that there was an actual selection show and they would tell us where we were going,'' the senior center said. "So it's good to see how far I've come."

By now, she's experienced enough to realize that the annual event served up some different fare Monday night on ESPN.

Tennessee (30-2) was tabbed the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Regional, which culminates in Oklahoma City. The Lady Vols haven't been routed through this region in four years. Furthermore, only three teams from their regular-season schedule (No. 3 seed Duke, No. 4 Oklahoma and No. 5 Notre Dame) are in the 16-team portion of the bracket.

Should the bracket play out according to the seedings, a regional final between Tennessee and No. 2 seed Texas A&M would be the teams' first meeting since their lone encounter on Dec. 19, 1997, in the Northern Lights Invitational in Anchorage, Alaska.

"I like not having a lot of familiar faces,'' Summitt said.

The Lady Vols travel to West Lafayette, Ind., for a first-round game against Oral Roberts (19-13) at approximately 9:30 p.m. Sunday. The winner plays the Utah-Purdue winner in a second-round game Tuesday.

The bracket also represented a shift in the selection-night story line for Tennessee, which received a No. 1 seed for the 19th time. For the past two years, UT's placement has been one of the main headlines. Two years ago it was their No. 2 seed. Last season, they were put in the Dayton Regional, which was assessed to be the toughest of the four regionals.

This year, two of the biggest selection-show reactions were inspired by two promotional commercials, one featuring Summitt and the other featuring the players' doing their Summitt impressions.

That was until the show's end, when analysts Kara Lawson and Stacey Dales made their tournament predictions. Both picked the Lady Vols to make the Final Four and both picked the defending national champions to lose in the national semifinals. Lawson, a former Lady Vol, had UT losing to North Carolina, and Dales had the Lady Vols falling to LSU. Those projections sent a jolt through the room.

"It's motivation; it is,'' forward Candace Parker said. "I'm excited they didn't pick us. We're the defending champions. Obviously we still have more respect to earn. We're into doing extra credit I guess.

"It doesn't matter what other people think. It matters what we think in this room. We know what we're capable of."

While watching from the same chair she's sat in all four years on this night, Anosike came to the same conclusion.

"They never pick us to win the championship,'' she said. "Nothing that they say is written in stone. We proved that last year.

"We know a lot of people are underestimating us. We know that the most important people are this team and what we decide to do, because we proved last year we can still be on top no matter what anyone says of us."

Senior Alberta Auguste seemed more interested in what the opposition might be thinking about UT.

"Our bracket seems like it's easy, but it's never just a cakewalk,'' she said. "Every team is going to be out to get us."

First up is Oral Roberts, which earned the automatic berth from the Summit Conference. UT's preparations began with video coordinator Betsy McAllister augmenting UT's video library of the Golden Eagles. As of early Monday night, assistant coach Dean Lockwood said the Lady Vols had one game tape.

If Tennessee advances, the second round holds the possibility of a matchup with host Purdue. The teams met in Knoxville in the second round of the 2005 tournament. UT's 75-54 victory gave Summitt her 880th career victory, making her the winningest coach in Division I basketball.

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Comments » 37

ps11824 writes:

So who is surprised? Let's all get our Oklahoma jeans packed and head on out west with a brief layover in College Park. Am I right in thinking we as well as the guys will have to go through the Tarheels?

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Go Lady Vols, start the journey.

mdvol31#660955 writes:

are they going to College Park or to West Lafayette?if they're going 2 terp country,i'm there.hope they didn't have to go through Okie City but expecting them to be at St Pete in 3 weeks.#8 should be great

LdyVolFaninKS writes:

It will be really sweet to see them kick butt in OKC, especially since I only live 2.5 hours away. We flew to the tournament in Nashville this year, Duluth last year and drove to Little Rock the year before. Hey 98reax, make sure them Okie jeans have holes in them...they are way more backward in OK than we are in KS! I finally got to meet Pat (twice) in Nashville and took some pics with her and my family. What a cool lady she is! GO VOLS!

bustervols writes:

I wish you the best Lady Vols. Good Luck!

murrayvol writes:

knoxsingle: You must stop watching reruns of "An Officer and a Gentleman."

Good luck, good health, good playing, good coaching, and good night ladies.

vol_in_lsu_land writes:

MurrayVol....Bite your tongue! That quote is from "Full Metal Jacket", except the state was Texas.

volfan73120#211815 writes:

I am already in Oklahoma City. I'll be dressed out in orange waiting on the Lady Vols. It will be good to see Pat again. I sat right in front of her at the College World Series here last summer, when the Lady Vols softball team was here. I can't wait.

ps11824 writes:

Hey volfan73120, I hope you get to see her again which would mean we got thru the first round. This is good karma with all these people having met Pat. I'm looking for the mojo anywhere I can find it now because the road to the Final Four is looking tough. Where can I get a printable bracket? Maybe it will look less rough if I can actually see it. I don't want to wait til the paper comes out.

Timed_vol (Inactive) writes:

who in their right mind names a kid 'oral'??

why not aural, visual, digitial, vaginal, or even anal??

That and why frodo baggins didn't just hop on an eagles back to go to mt. doom will always puzzle my little noggin>>>>

oscar285 writes:

hey, 98reax....go to have a printable bracket

utfpmd writes:

mparker, one of the Nazgul would have taken out the eagle carrying Frodo easily.

ps11824 writes:

I printed off a bracket, filled it out and I have the Lady Vols exiting West LaFayette with victories over ORU & Purdue then moving on to Ok City setting up a home game atmosphere for Courtney Paris and her Sooners who have rolled over Ill. St. & Notre Dame earning a right to introduce their friends and family to our Big Orange Nation. I have Sun devils beating blue devils in the bottom half of the bracket to meet A&M hence a regional final matchup of TN vs Az St. While we are scorching the Sun devils, LSU will be enjoying a home cooked victory over NC, setting up a 3rd meeting of Lady Vols vs Van Chancelor and Candace's last chance to prove herself deserving of POY accolades, both SEC & national. Does that sound probable, mparker?

murrayvol writes:

Not so fast vol_in_lsu_land. The line was in FMJ (1987) but it was also in "Officer" (1982). And it was Oklahoma or whatever state the recruit Gunnery Sgt. Foley (Louis Gossett) chose for that day was from.

Caspian writes:

Only steers and q****s come from Texas, Private Cowboy. And you don't look much like a steer to me, so that kind of narrows it down.

MemphisVolFan writes:

If you'd like to know more about the Lady Vols first round opponent, please visit my site.

No flim-flam here, just a UT-oriented sports blog doing the best I can.

VolJunkie writes:

Congratulations ladies, you definitely earned this. Another renovation in the future for TBA in order to accommodate all of the banners! BTW, I loved the piece on ESPN where the players tried to imitate Coach Summitt's glare ... I am thankful none of them were able to do it!

Speaking of the men's team, I wish the men's selection committee used the same logic as the ladies'. UMD loses in the semis of the ACC tourney and gets a #1 seed based on "the body of their work and strength of schedule." Hmmmm ..... sounds familiar. I guess you could make the argument that the ladies' ACC is stronger than the men's SEC, however the SEC still sent 6 teams to the tourney. Just wondering.

Again, congratulations ladies, best of luck out west!

Go VOLS!!!

adimatteo#261830 writes:

good luck girls, already have tickets to Tampa, sure hope you all are there. both for selfish reasons, and after last year and this season (the press and announcers seem to forget your schedule and record!)YOU deserve it.
Whatever happens its been a great ride, good luck inthe tournament!!

houvol#438636 writes:

I think it is great that once again ESPN is proving to be anti-Tn. Even if one of those people is Kara. LET'S PROVE THEM WRONG ONE MORE TIME. We do have to be honest, getting past Carolina or LSU again will be tough. I think the Lady Vols want UCONN too much to stumble.


kcabutti writes:

Looking at all the brackets Pat doesn't need to worry about having a team that plays a 40 minute game. Most of the competition is in the brackets with Rutgers, UCONN, Maryland, and Stanford. LV's have a cake walk/gauranteed trip to the final 4. No one is any challenge until they meet up with either LSU or North Carolina, winner of that game will go on to play for the championship. How did that happen? Was it luck?

cdtnladyvols931#663910 writes:

Thats just like ESPN not to pick TN. Since Kara has joined espn she is beginning to sound just like all those firees and retirees thats on that show. I'm surprised Stacy didn't pick the Paris twins. All the selection show could do was talk about was UConn & Maya Moore, since they broke rules to get her she should not even be allowed to play. Go Lady Vols! Prove all those ESPN Jerks wrong again!!!

reachkim00 writes:

Once again we see who rules the basketball kingdom at UT!!! Go Lady Vols, bring it home to K-town again.

penfield writes:

It's about time to stop talking about rule breaking. In 1999 four UT athletes were accused of plagiarism. As it turns out, they were innocent, but their tutors were guilty of plagiarism to keep the athletes eligible, not a rules violation. Which is worse: athletic staff arranging a visit to ESPN or athletic staff committing plagiarism? I have a another question: Is is better to cheer for your team or attack the opposition?

ps11824 writes:

I respectfully disagree with your thinking that we have a 'cakewalk' to F4. I would think 8 or 9 seed would be a real contest. Utah has lost only 4 games but I think Purdue is capable of winning that game advancing to the regionals where they will most likely meet OK who is a solid team with one of the best post players in the country, CParis and her sister is no slouch. Their fan base will also be a factor, albeit we've never been intimidated by any opposing crowd. We've had great success on the road with the exception of Stanford's insane dancing tree. Of course our lack of motivation and rebounding could have had a little something to do with that loss. It feels better to blame a pseudo- inanimate object. At any rate a match up with OK will be a challenge. Once again respecting the bottom half of our bracket, whichever team comes out of the opening rounds will not be a pushover, certainly not a cakewalk.

gemin555#214016 writes:

Good Luck LadyVols and hope things work out so you win #8!!! Its only fitting that this team, not to mention the departing players get it. They've been really fantastic to watch grow and develop into fine young ladies on and off the court.

Let all the pundits and media blather about UConn and how 'great' they are. They seem to say that every year, don't they and which teams have won the championships the past couple of years?

Best of luck in the next couple of months as well as the rest of your lives and thats from a fan of UT up in the western side of Washington state!

thegoat0248 writes:

Why does Kara Lawson pick against the Lady Vols every year? Has she forgot what school she played for!!

volboy81#211803 writes:

Number 8 would be great in 2008!

Volfantm writes:

I think Kara doesn't want to look like too much of a "homer", she thought LSU should have had a 1 seed over Maryland which shows how much emphasis she put on the SEC tournament.
After thinking about for a bit, when Pat retires in 10 or 15 years (I hope) why not Kara? I read she plans to coach one day.

LadyVolFanForever writes:

Way to go Lady Vols ! But you have your work cut out for you. You will have to earn #8 just like you earned #7. The team will have to be on its toes with their heads in the game for the entire 40 minutes.
If we play Purdue, remember one of their players has 17 steals in 3 tourney games !!! If we play Oklahoma, we will have to get black & blue and beat the Paris twins. Just getting to the Elite 8 will be a battle but you can do it. You can do whatever you as a TEAM decide to do !
I have Final Four tickets and fully plan on cheering for the Lady Vols as they claim #8 !!!
Thanks for a great season and thanks for being classy ladies who we fans are proud to call Lady Vols.

HotlantaVol writes:

Purdue at home in the second round immediately followed by Oklahoma nearly at home in the third round . . . this is not as easy as some believe.

tigervol9802 writes:

Congrats I guess.

One team plays anybody and everybody that will play them wherever they want to and gets screwed with a 2 seed. The other won't play their arch-rival for an "unspoken" reason and gets a 1 seed and the easiest bracket to the Final Four?

There is no justice.

By the way, is the rumor true the clock operator is getting a raise for next year?

trip19 writes:

The rumor you started is not true. Go Lady Vols!

ICORANGE writes:

great time of the year!
This is a link to the brackets that for some reason is not available/printable at UT'S web site or at this one.
Go lady Vols!!

BigOrangeInCarolina writes:

Go get 'em, ladies. Coach Summitt, along with Coach Pearl, along with Coach Fulmer, all know that what these sports prognosticators say isn't worth poop, because most of them are either washed-up has-been players or coaches that nobody will hire because they suck. People like Lou Holtz and Dick Vitale, as well as some of those she-males on ESPN have nothing else to do, nothing to work for. They don't want to bow out gracefully and do something constructive with their lives. They would rather annoy us all by portraying their hidden animosity and jealousy through worthless commentary. However, all that negativity does make for some great locker room material and, given the success of this year's football team in response to such mule dung, I wouldn't be surprised if both basketball teams made a good run and ended up in their respective Final Fours, if not winning outright. GO BIG ORANGE!!!

hmhawk writes:

Does anyone know what time the LV's play Sunday.One site says 12:00 and another says 9:30.I hope to watch but a late game and I can only make it to half time LOL.

ladyvolsrock writes:

I didn't even bother to go back and look at the name of the idiot that said the Tennesse women did not deserve the #1 seed, but the men did. While I agree that the men in all honesty deserved #1 seed. Why, after winning the SEC tournament, save 1 the best record in the country, and the highest RPI by a landslide do not deserve a #1 seed? Are you just an idiot or are you just anti-women's basketball?
Good luck Lady Vols! Show them who you are. Last year all they talked about was Duke. Look what happened to them.

Timed_vol (Inactive) writes:

your constant whining abd griping are amazing. I mean, how can you enjoy 'rooting' for a program and a coach you despise??

Rutgers wins their tourney and they are a 1 seed. Did they win?? I don't think they did, do you??

As for the clock operator quip, get over it. It really didn't make a damn, did it.

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