You knew what was coming Thursday night at Thompson-Boling Arena. But anticipating change isn't the same as experiencing it.
So I wonder how many fans were still looking for Pat Summitt when Tennessee's exhibition game with Carson-Newman began.
The most recognizable face in women's basketball wasn't that easy to spot.
Summitt was seated several rows up from courtside. She's in a new seat and a new role, as head coach emeritus of the program she led to 1,098 victories, 18 Final Fours and eight national championships in 38 years as head coach.
Senior guard Taber Spani also was looking for Summitt. And when she hugged her before the game, it wasn't spontaneous.
"It was something I thought about," Spani said. "I wanted to make sure to go over and honor her. I'll probably make it a tradition every game."
New coach Holly Warlick noticed Summitt, too — noticed that she wasn't there beside her as she had been for the previous 27 seasons when Warlick was an assistant.
"I saw her sitting behind the bench," she said. "At first, it was very strange. Then, I had to snap back into it, get back to reality and remember why I'm here."
What more would you expect from a Summitt protégé?
The change didn't end with the coaches in UT's 104-44 victory. It was evident all over the floor on a team that has five new starters.
The new lineup, bolstered by a freshman foursome, produced a more one-sided outcome than against the same opponent in last season's first exhibition game. But don't make too much of that.
The talent discrepancy between UT and Carson-Newman is too extreme to draw any serious conclusions about the potential of Warlick's first team.
Tennessee clearly doesn't measure up in one respect, though.
For so many years, the Lady Vols got your attention by just showing up. They were that big.
This team doesn't have a player over 6-foot-3, and its tallest players look downright wispy when compared to many of their predecessors. Moreover, there's no one nearly as imposing as All-SEC post player Glory Johnson, who didn't have to get loose with her elbows to intimidate an opponent the past four seasons.
But the overall quickness of this team could serve it well on defense, where there were too many lapses last season. That quickness could become more of a factor as younger players gain experience.
UT hasn't lacked experience since last season's seniors became prominent players as sophomores. Fans knew what to expect, and not all of it was good. Those players showcased their talent, won plenty of games but never made it
to a Final Four — long the barometer for Lady Vols basketball.
This team has a big question dangling behind it. And that's not all bad.
While fans shouldn't be unduly influenced by statistics compiled against a lower-classification opponent, the freshmen all demonstrated quickness and athleticism. Freshman Bashaara Graves had 17 points and 15 rebounds; freshman Jasmine Jones had 16 points and hit six of seven shots.
"I'm so proud of our freshmen," Warlick said. "We're very excited about what they can do and what they can bring."
She's just not sure who will bring what with whom.
"We'll start a different group on Sunday (in the second exhibition game)," she said. "I'm just trying to get a feel for them and see who plays well together."
So in a season of change, there are still more changes to come.