Can Tennessee Lady Vols Save Holly Warlick with an NCAA Tournament Run?

Tennessee women’s basketball head coach Holly Warlick needs an NCAA Tournament run from her Lady Vols to get off the hot seat.

After one of the most disappointing regular seasons in Tennessee Lady Vols basketball history that saw them drop out of the Top 25 for the first time in three decades, the stakes are extremely high for Holly Warlick.

To put it bluntly, she has done an abysmal job as Pat Summitt’s replacement in comparison to this point.

No Final Four appearances in three years was bad enough, but falling off the map the way her extremely talented team did this year was the worst. Now, as a No. 7 seed in the NCAA Women’s Tournament, she has a chance to change all of that.

We mentioned earlier this week about the clear path the Lady Vols have to reach the Elite Eight. Her team has to make it that far to save herself. That’s the barometer, nothing less.

Normally, we would say that a Final Four is needed, but an Elite Eight run before losing to A’ja Wilson and the South Carolina Gamecocks would be enough for Warlick to sell herself coming back.

Consider that, even with the bad recruiting, the most talented players on the team have multiple years left in the program, and it is by and large a very young team. We saw how talented this team was early in the year, and maybe she can just sell the fact that they needed to gel.

But if the Lady Vols do not make it past the first weekend, with no top-notch recruits coming in, Warlick has absolutely nothing to sell.

With a very friendly bracket, Tennessee has the chance to be the Cinderella story of the Women’s NCAA Tournament and the chance to remind the world that they are back.

And while it is usually Final Four or bust for this program, an Elite Eight would be great for the program’s morale given the returning talent.

So taking everything into account, that is a fair expectation that Dave Hart should have for Warlick. Elite Eight, keep her around for another year. Sweet 16, keep her on the hot seat and seriously evaluate her in the offseason.

But miss the next weekend of the tournament, and she should be fired with no questions asked.