Holly Warlick thinking No. 3 seed for Lady Vols

Tennessee head coach Holly Warlick reacts during the second half of their NCAA college basketball game against Florida in the Southeastern Conference tournament, Friday, March 8, 2013, in Duluth, Ga. Tennessee won 82-73. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Tennessee head coach Holly Warlick reacts during the second half of their NCAA college basketball game against Florida in the Southeastern Conference tournament, Friday, March 8, 2013, in Duluth, Ga. Tennessee won 82-73. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Holly Warlick’s thoughts run more toward the importance of defense and rebounding these mid-March days.

Determining an NCAA tournament field is someone else's concern. So seeding drew merely a passing reply from the Tennessee’s women’s basketball coach between workouts last week.

“I think we’ll probably be a 3 (seed); that’s fine,” she said. “I’m good with that. I’m good with that.”

The Lady Vols (24-7) could do better when the 64 teams and their placement in the four regionals are revealed at 7 tonight on ESPN. The team will gather in the East Club at Neyland Stadium to have dinner and watch the tournament selection show.

Charlie Creme’s ESPN mock bracket supports Warlick’s thinking. As of Sunday, he had Tennessee as the No. 3 seed in the Norfolk (Va.) Regional. He projects No. 14 Albany as UT’s first-round opponent Saturday at Thompson-Boling Arena. No. 6 Purdue and No. 11 Duquesne would play in the other first-round game, according to Creme.

Tennessee hasn’t been seeded lower than No. 2 since getting a No. 5 seed in 2009. The Lady Vols have received a No. 3 seed three times since the NCAA began sanctioning the tournament in 1982. Their last No. 3 seed came in 1997.

Warlick’s perspective likely has been influenced by the Lady Vols’ two losses in their final three games. They committed 31 turnovers and lost the regular season finale at Kentucky, 78-65. After beating Florida to start the SEC tournament last weekend at Gwinnett Arena, they squandered a 10-point lead in the second half and fell to eventual tournament champion Texas A&M in the semifinals, 66-62. Those results explain Warlick’s preoccupation with basketball essentials above all else.

While meeting with the media last Thursday at Pratt Pavilion, Warlick also was reminded of the preseason uncertainty surrounding the team. While two rounds of NCAA play already were on the schedule here, the Lady Vols still had to make the field.

“When we talked in August, they looked good on paper,” Warlick said. “But we hadn’t seen them together.”

The tournament selection committee has been afforded a broader view of Tennessee. The body of work assembled between the aforementioned viewpoints might have warranted consideration for a No. 2 seed.

RealtimeRPI.com has UT ranked seventh. With a strength of schedule rated No. 4, the Lady Vols have a .660 score, slightly ahead of eighth-place Kentucky (.658) and well in front of ninth-place Cal (.651).

Winning the SEC regular-season championship weighs in Tennessee’s favor, as does seven victories against ranked opponents.

Conversely, losses to Chattanooga and Missouri diminish UT’s resume. An 80-71 loss to Chattanooga in the Nov. 9 season opener, though, doesn’t do the same damage as originally thought. The Lady Mocs (29-3) swept the Southern Conference regular-season and tournament championships and have an RPI of 37. Chattanooga coach Wes Moore thinks that his team’s achievements mirror those of the 2003-04 season, when the Lady Mocs received a No. 10 seed.

“I feel the resume is pretty much the same,” he said. “Maybe beating Tennessee adds something to that.”

It didn’t help in ESPN’s mock bracket, which has slotted Chattanooga as a No. 12 seed in the Spokane (Wash.) regional.

Regarding the SEC, tournament projections have seven conference teams making the field. Along with Tennessee, Texas A&M, Kentucky, Georgia, South Carolina, Vanderbilt and LSU are projected NCAA worthy.

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Comments » 26

airship writes:

Holly you should not be good with a number 3 seed. COME ON think positive.

madrigal writes:

in response to airship:

Holly you should not be good with a number 3 seed. COME ON think positive.

Be realistic. Holly is. This team, in this season, is not likely to get any higher. Even we longtime fans who *aren't* constantly whining know that. Of course it would be nice to get a higher seed, but I doubt it'll happen. Right now, the Lady Vols are ranked either 9 or 10m depending on which poll you look at (I prefer the Coaches' Poll myself, sportswriters don't know that much and the AP poll has an east coast bias) and that pretty much doesn't guarantee any higher than a 3 seed. Of course tomorrow this board will be full of idiots crying that the sky is falling and screaming for Holly's head if they get that. Those will be the same people who bashed the team all season, but they'll expect a 1 or 2 seed just because.

cobragolfer writes:

No matter what the seed... ONE AND DONE!!

DC82_Vol writes:

I think this team has really excelled this year. Holly has done a wonderful job. I hope we keep our assistants this off season. TN has a young team. Injuries have hurt us this year. Recruiting is strong. The girls won the SEC regular season title. I am already looking forward to next year. GO Lady Vols!!!!

ps11824 writes:

"... Warlick’s preoccupation with basketball essentials above all else."

Most important since Day 1, is basketball essentials, is it not? A lack thereof is what got us beat by KY, A&M, Mizoo, C'nooga; and gave us fits in every game. fundamentals is a more fitting word, IMO. It is what is 1st and foremost , no matter the plays one chooses to run on both ends of the court, fundamentals never change.

As I watched the Heat run their game yesterday, passes touching every player on the team, scoring, is a beautiful sight to behold. It's like the basketball is an extension of the hand... it DOES NOT go where you don't intend for it to go. Ball goes where the passer/shooter wants it to go! That sound so simple. Why can't we make it happen? Why, after 12, 13, 15 years of playing this game can college basketball players not play the game the way it was intended to be played? You know they've been coached by some darn good coaches as they came up on the hardwood?

Oops, I kinda took that and ran away with it, did I not? I guess I needed to get that off my chest after watching our men and women squander chances after having the control knobs solely in their OWN HANDS as far as tourney seedings.

Now, we take what we can get and go from there. As for the Lady Vols, we have a chance to play Lady Vol ball. The fellers, well, they have an NIT to win if they want to, or they could blame the committee for their meltdown & rejection.

jt45 writes:

If Izzy gets back in play this group is going to at least make the Elite eight and I suspect they will be a top 4 team next year with a good shot at winning it all. The difference between a 2 or 3 seed isnt big enough to worry about since the odds are they will have to face each other anyway barring any upsets.

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to cobragolfer:

No matter what the seed... ONE AND DONE!!

Troll,

Best idea for you is to go back looking for your out of bounds shot in the swamp............maybe a cobra will slip up and bite you in the rear end.

If you survive that, and have enough intelligence, then perhaps you can locate the site for the bandwagon team you have adopted.

hikerdude writes:

in response to DC82_Vol:

I think this team has really excelled this year. Holly has done a wonderful job. I hope we keep our assistants this off season. TN has a young team. Injuries have hurt us this year. Recruiting is strong. The girls won the SEC regular season title. I am already looking forward to next year. GO Lady Vols!!!!

I agree with you 100%. If we can stay reasonably injury free next year, and that's a big if given the rash of knee problems in the women's game, we will be in the hunt for a national championship.

RLL59 writes:

I agree that a 3 seed is the most likely and the lowest the Lady Vols will be seeded. But I don't understand why Holly is telling the selection committee that. If the coach expects and is satisfied with a 3 seed, and there's any question between 2 teams, why would the committee place them any higher?

madrigal writes:

in response to RLL59:

I agree that a 3 seed is the most likely and the lowest the Lady Vols will be seeded. But I don't understand why Holly is telling the selection committee that. If the coach expects and is satisfied with a 3 seed, and there's any question between 2 teams, why would the committee place them any higher?

"Telling the selection committee that"? Really? She said it here. Charlie Creme probably has more influence on the selection committee than she does...not that he should, but there you are. And if you think there's a question, maybe you ought to look at the rankings, and probably you don't watch enough women's basketball to even know the other teams in the top 10, let alone top 25.

Volinflan writes:

Tennessee could have become a 2 seed by beating Kentucky and winning the tournament. There's really five "1 seeds" - UConn, ND, Duke, Stanford and Baylor. One of those One's have to be a Two so the remaining have had to fight to be a "Two".
Cals record shoos them in though I have my concerns over their schedule. I have the same concerns for Penn State. I hope we're lucky enough to get one of them in our bracket instead of Duke. Hey, we know we can beat Kentucky but we didn't - last time. Having said all that we can look for some surprises tonight. It's pretty for sure who the No. One seeds are going to be but the committee will decide where the 2 and 3 seeds go. That's were the difference between Creame and tonight's results will differ.

ps11824 writes:

RLL59, I would think the answer to your query is this; the placement is what it is. It is like the weather; it's neither good nor bad, it is merely weather. A team must win and advance whether #1 seed or anywhere below. We cannot fight the committee, but we can darn sure compete, win and advance, that's all we can do.

What good would it do Holly and the team to be disgruntled with 2 or 3 seeding? Could do harm, but no good. As we all know, round one opponents have upset many a higher seeded team. Been there, done that. We will most likely see much of that this tournament too. It's what happens when teams put too much emphasis on seeding.

I'm glad Holly has chosen to be satisfied with the hand she'll be dealt. No do-overs in ncaa basketball season. Nor can we go back in time, 2nd half, leading A&M by 10 points, "gosh, if we hold this lead, we'll be 1 game away from SEC Tournament Champs, possibly sewing up a #2 NCAA Tournament seed. We are in control of our own destiny." Nope, it don't work like that. Holly can play 'em or... fold. She won't whine. It's wasted energy.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to madrigal:

Be realistic. Holly is. This team, in this season, is not likely to get any higher. Even we longtime fans who *aren't* constantly whining know that. Of course it would be nice to get a higher seed, but I doubt it'll happen. Right now, the Lady Vols are ranked either 9 or 10m depending on which poll you look at (I prefer the Coaches' Poll myself, sportswriters don't know that much and the AP poll has an east coast bias) and that pretty much doesn't guarantee any higher than a 3 seed. Of course tomorrow this board will be full of idiots crying that the sky is falling and screaming for Holly's head if they get that. Those will be the same people who bashed the team all season, but they'll expect a 1 or 2 seed just because.

Well, I'm pretty dubious about BOTH polls. I agree with your argument about the AP poll, but the coaches' poll is no better. Most coaches have too much to worry about with their own teams and conferences to pay much attention to what is going on all over the country, so most "coaches" votes are actually cast by SID staff members. The hard numbers could POSSIBLY justify a #2 seed, but realistically a #3 seems about right to me. Whichever it is, the LVs would have to reach no less than the Sweet 16 to justify it, which would be a pretty good achievement, given all the stuff they have had to contend with this year.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to cobragolfer:

No matter what the seed... ONE AND DONE!!

As opposed to you, who only shows up to whine, carp, and complain.

kazoo writes:

Holly's & Co. have done a nice job. If Harrison is healthy, this team will be a tough out in the tourney. We'll make some noise. However, our defense isn't nearly good enough to go all the way--and we don't pass the ball well enough either.

ps11824 writes:

I would (almost) always bet with you, johnlg. Of course I always want to see my Lady Vols as a top-tier ball team. As you so aptly stated, a Region appearance this year, would be quite an accomplishment, a far cry from where they started this journey. A new skipper, some tattered sails, yet a valiant voyage, no?

RLL59 writes:

in response to ps11824:

RLL59, I would think the answer to your query is this; the placement is what it is. It is like the weather; it's neither good nor bad, it is merely weather. A team must win and advance whether #1 seed or anywhere below. We cannot fight the committee, but we can darn sure compete, win and advance, that's all we can do.

What good would it do Holly and the team to be disgruntled with 2 or 3 seeding? Could do harm, but no good. As we all know, round one opponents have upset many a higher seeded team. Been there, done that. We will most likely see much of that this tournament too. It's what happens when teams put too much emphasis on seeding.

I'm glad Holly has chosen to be satisfied with the hand she'll be dealt. No do-overs in ncaa basketball season. Nor can we go back in time, 2nd half, leading A&M by 10 points, "gosh, if we hold this lead, we'll be 1 game away from SEC Tournament Champs, possibly sewing up a #2 NCAA Tournament seed. We are in control of our own destiny." Nope, it don't work like that. Holly can play 'em or... fold. She won't whine. It's wasted energy.

I don't disagree with you and I appreciate a tone which doesn't denigrate those that may differ with you. But although there's little chance of the selection committee being influenced by what Holly says, there's no benefit at all in saying you're satisfied with the lowest seed anyone could conceivably place the team....before the selections are made. It's clearly not a big deal either way; just think the Lady Vols need to grasp onto any possible advantage they might have.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to ps11824:

I would (almost) always bet with you, johnlg. Of course I always want to see my Lady Vols as a top-tier ball team. As you so aptly stated, a Region appearance this year, would be quite an accomplishment, a far cry from where they started this journey. A new skipper, some tattered sails, yet a valiant voyage, no?

Aye, matey! All hands aloft! (NCAA) Land, ho!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to RLL59:

I don't disagree with you and I appreciate a tone which doesn't denigrate those that may differ with you. But although there's little chance of the selection committee being influenced by what Holly says, there's no benefit at all in saying you're satisfied with the lowest seed anyone could conceivably place the team....before the selections are made. It's clearly not a big deal either way; just think the Lady Vols need to grasp onto any possible advantage they might have.

Well, Martin was openly lobbying for a bid after the Vols failed to control THEIR own destiny, so why would you think Holly lobbying for a higher seed would do the LVs any good? A team has to live with whatever the selection committee decides, so just accept it and get the team ready to make a run that would PROVE the selection committee wrong if you think they are.

RLL59 writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Well, Martin was openly lobbying for a bid after the Vols failed to control THEIR own destiny, so why would you think Holly lobbying for a higher seed would do the LVs any good? A team has to live with whatever the selection committee decides, so just accept it and get the team ready to make a run that would PROVE the selection committee wrong if you think they are.

There's a lot of reading into what I thought was a mild comment. I don't expect Holly to lobby for a 2 seed; I think that would perhaps have an opposite effect, and , as some have suggested, appear to be whining. I think a 3 seed is fair, given the last games of the season. Just thought it would have been better if Holly hadn't admitted that she'd be satisfied with a 3, but rather had not speculated at all.

soitgoes12 writes:

Would be only the 2nd time since 97 that a Tennessee team has received less than a 2 seed.

ps11824 writes:

RLL59, we're all good here. All due respect intended. I did take issue with some of the comments on men's thread, as well as one of the writers who seemed to lean toward 'they shoulda given the Vols a seeding' angle. Although I wish we could have earned a seed, I believe we came up short of that, and don't feel like we were overlooked.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to RLL59:

There's a lot of reading into what I thought was a mild comment. I don't expect Holly to lobby for a 2 seed; I think that would perhaps have an opposite effect, and , as some have suggested, appear to be whining. I think a 3 seed is fair, given the last games of the season. Just thought it would have been better if Holly hadn't admitted that she'd be satisfied with a 3, but rather had not speculated at all.

I get your point and I wasn't really criticizing you. It was probably just that a reporter asked Holly what she thought about the LVs' seed and she didn't think "No comment" would have been sufficient or in fact might have created a controversy she didn't want to get involved with. I think we all tend to read too much into everything anybody says or writes, either on here or in the media.

rb4346 writes:

in response to airship:

Holly you should not be good with a number 3 seed. COME ON think positive.

A number 1 or 2 seed would be great but being a 3 seed makes me happy also. When the season started I thought we would be lucky with a 5 seed with a new coach, shortage of players and the injuries. I would like to thank CHW, coaches and the great young ladies wearing the orange, you have done a tremendous job on the court this year Am very proud of you and good luck in the big dance. Looking forward to this coming year!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to ps11824:

RLL59, we're all good here. All due respect intended. I did take issue with some of the comments on men's thread, as well as one of the writers who seemed to lean toward 'they shoulda given the Vols a seeding' angle. Although I wish we could have earned a seed, I believe we came up short of that, and don't feel like we were overlooked.

I definitely agree with your last sentence. The only way to avoid being on the bubble or dropping a line in the bracket is to win the games you have to win. Neither Vol team really did that, and such speculation is beside the point compared to that.

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

Well,a no. 2 seed ! Even Holly didn't predict that. Now, hopefully Izzy can be a factor in the tournament.

As I said in another column, next year after Griner, Diggins etc have departed, we should see a level playing field in women's basketball.

A record for blocking shots?????? Well, 6:08 is in a favorable position to do that against 6 foot shooters.

Anyway, it's Baylor's to lose. It's possible, but unlikely. 3 wins by ND over the evil empire was a highlight of the season.

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