After beating the LSU Tigers, the Tennessee Lady Vols visit the Vanderbilt Commodores Thursday night. Here is our women’s basketball Volunteers preview.
As the continue their 10-game stretch against top 100 RPI teams, the Tennessee Lady Vols have an intriguing road test Thursday night before they begin a brutal five-game stretch against all top 25 RPI teams. Simply put, things are not about to get any easier.
Kellie Harper’s team visits the Vanderbilt Commodores Thursday for their fourth game in this stretch. UT’s last outing was a 63-58 win over the LSU Tigers, and the news of Kobe Bryant’s tragic death broke in the middle of that game.
Ranked No. 22 with a 16-4 record and 6-1 SEC record, this win keeps Rocky Top in the conference race, and the heart of the schedule is coming up. Here is all the information you need for the Tennessee Lady Vols’ matchup.
No. 22 Tennessee Lady Vols at Vanderbilt Commodores
When: Thursday, Jan. 30 at 9 p.m. ET
Where: Memorial Gymnasium; Nashville, Tenn.
TV: SEC Network
Live stream: WatchESPN
At 12-8 and 2-5 in the SEC, Vanderbilt has shown dramatic improvement under fourth-year head coach Stephanie White after winning only seven games in each of the past two years. They are trying to get onto the NCAA Tournament bubble, but more work needs to be done for them to reach that spot. Beating the Lady Vols would go a long way towards doing that.
Last Sunday’s win over LSU was UT’s first win all season against a top 50 RPI team, and they have only beaten three top 100 RPI teams all year. Vanderbilt would be their fourth such win, and then their real schedule comes up.
After Vandy, the Lady Vols visit the No. 1 ranked South Carolina Gamecocks, then they host the the No. 9 ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs. That begins not only a five-game stretch against top 25 RPI teams but a stretch in which four of five games are against teams in the top 25 of the AP and Coaches Polls.
In addition to those two games, they will host the No. 15 ranked Texas A&M Aggies and visit the No. 25 ranked Arkansas Razorbacks. The only game not against a top 25 team in the AP and Coaches Polls will be another matchup against LSU, and it’s between Mississippi State and Texas A&M. However, that game will be on the road.
Simply put, the Tennessee Lady Vols are in a brutal stretch right now, but it gets much more brutal after Vanderbilt. The following five games will make or break them, and to have that chance to prove themselves, they have to first run the table against teams like Vandy. That means they need to win this game in order to have a bit of house money in the next matchup.