DESTIN, Fla. — A new era in Tennessee women's basketball won't be significantly different from the old one when it comes to scheduling.
The SEC coaches are strongly in favor of maintaining a 16-game conference schedule despite the addition of two new schools, Texas A&M and Missouri. SEC commissioner Mike Slive said he thinks the league presidents will go along with that.
Slive said he wasn't concerned about the likelihood of having different scheduling formats for men's and women's basketball within the conference.
"We treat each sport on its own merits," Slive said at the SEC spring meetings Wednesday.
The men's coaches favor an 18-game SEC schedule.
"We want to have a 16-game (SEC) schedule so we can improve our RPI by playing more (strong) teams outside the conference," said UT coach Holly Warlick, who is attending her first spring meetings after succeeding Pat Summitt as head coach last month.
A 16-game schedule would enable each school to play the other 13 conference teams once. The Lady Vols could continue to play Vanderbilt twice and also play two games against two other conference opponents on a rotating basis.
UT's 2012-13 schedule hasn't been finalized but again will include some of the top programs in women's basketball.
Warlick said the Lady Vols will play national champion Baylor, which should be an overwhelming preseason choice as the No. 1 team. The Lady Bears beat UT twice last season while going 40-0. Warlick had said earlier she would prefer to postpone that game until 2013-14.
In addition to the Baylor game in Waco, Texas, UT will play the University of Texas in Austin. It also will play non-conference road games against Miami and Georgia Tech, both of
whom made the NCAA tournament this past season.
"We'll open Georgia Tech's newly renovated arena," Warlick said.
The non-conference home schedule should be just as taxing with Final Four teams Stanford and Notre Dame coming to Thompson-Boling Arena. The Lady Vols will play Rutgers, another NCAA tournament team, and North Carolina is coming back on the schedule for a home game. The Lady Vols last played the Tar Heels in 2007.