Tennessee Lady Vols bracketology: SEC Tournament matters

In the SEC Tournament, the Tennessee Lady Vols have a No. 6 seed. For the NCAA Tournament, the women’s basketball Volunteers need a decent showing.

After a three-game winning streak to close out the season, the Tennessee Lady Vols appear to be back on track for the NCAA Tournament. However, all of those wins were against bad teams, and two of them came down to the final seconds.

As a result, there’s no way around it. Rocky Top still has a heck of a lot to prove to make sure they don’t fall out of the Big Dance, and that’s where the SEC Tournament comes into play. Their first game will be Thursday against either the Ole Miss Rebels or Missouri Tigers.

Right now, with the No. 90 ranked strength of schedule, UT is No. 59 in the RealTime RPI at the end of the regular season. That comes from a 20-9 record and 10-6 SEC record. However, their only quality win on the year was at home over the LSU Tigers.

So where does that put the Tennessee Lady Vols in terms of the NCAA Tournament projections? Well, they are still on the bubble, but they do have a bit of breathing room, even if it’s just by a slim margin at this point.

Charlie Creme of ESPN has them as a No. 10 seed in the Fort Wayne Region, where the Maryland Terrapins are the No. 1 seed. There, they would face the TCU Horned Frogs in the first round in a bracket hosted by the No. 2 seed Louisville Cardinals.

Meanwhile, College Sports Madness has them as a No. 9 seed. However, they would still open play in a bracket hosted by the Louisville Cardinals, who would be a No. 1 seed this time. UT would face the No. 8 seed Rutgers Scarlet Knights.

Fellow FanSided site High Post Hoops has been the least friendly to Rocky Top, although they have probably been the most objective if you really look at the resume. In that one, Big Orange Country is among the Last Four In.

Kellie Harper’s first team is a No. 12 seed in the Portland region on that site, facing the No. 5 seed Princeton Tigers in the first round in a bracket hosted by the No. 4 seed DePaul Blue Demons. The Oregon Ducks would be the No. 1 seed there.

The one thing going for the Tennessee Lady Vols is that they have run the table against all the bad opponents. None of their losses are outside of the top 50 of the RPI. They have to keep that up in the tournament, as one bad loss could do them in.