Lady Vols Try to Avoid Being Double-Digit NCAA Tournament Seed

Lady Vols Try to Avoid Being Double-Digit NCAA Tournament Seed
Fact Checked by Michael Peters

An up-and-down run through the Southeastern Conference has Tennessee coach Kellie Harper looking at the real chance the Lady Volunteers will have the second double-digit NCAA Tournament seed in program history.

A 75-60 loss to No. 13 LSU on Sunday leaves Tennessee at 16-10 overall with a 9-5 mark in the SEC, which is still fourth in the league. In the most recent ESPN Bracketology report on Feb. 27, Charlie Creme has the Lady Vols as a No. 9 seed in the Albany Region facing No. 8 seed Florida State. That would be the second-worst seed ever for the program.

To prepare for your Tennessee sports betting on March Madness, BetTennessee.com takes a look at the Lady Volunteers’ NCAA history in the past five tournaments and breaks down what they need to do the rest of the way to avoid another double-digit seed.

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Tennessee’s Past Five NCAA Appearances

YearSeedRecordEliminated ByRound
2018325-8Oregon State2nd
20191119-13UCLA1st
2021317-8Michigan2nd
2022425-9LouisvilleSweet 16
2023425-12Virginia TechSweet 16
Note: There was no tournament in 2020 because of COVID-19.

BetMGM Tennessee lists South Carolina as the NCAA Tournament favorite at +110. Iowa is second at +650, and defending champion LSU is third at +700.

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Lady Vols Need to Finish Strong

Tennessee has been a No. 1 seed 22 times at the NCAA Tournament. It has been higher than a No. 4 seed just four times. Twice it was No. 5 (2009 and 2017), once at No. 7 (2016) and the 2019 team that was No. 11.

The Lady Vols were coming off back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances in the NCAA Tournament so hopes were high for the start of Harper’s fifth season in Knoxville. She took over from Holly Warlick after that 2018-19 season ended with the No. 11 seed and the first-round loss to UCLA.

However, Tennessee is just 1-6 against ranked teams after the loss to LSU. Then, after starting 5-1 in SEC play, they have split the past eight league games to stand at 9-5.

The Lady Vols have two regular-season games and then the SEC tournament to improve their stock in the NCAA selection committee’s eyes. And there are two big ones to close out the season. First up will be Texas A&M and a chance to avenge a 71-56 loss at College Station, Texas, on Jan. 14. The Aggies were 14-3 overall after that win, but have gone 4-6 since to slip into a tie for eighth at 6-8 in the SEC.

Tennessee could vault out of talk about a double-digit seed with a victory in the finale against unbeaten and No. 1 South Carolina. The Gamecocks are 27-0 overall and 14-0 in the SEC, including a 66-55 victory over the Lady Vols on Feb. 15.

The one bright spot in that loss for Tennessee is that those 66 points represent a season low for South Carolina. After that, the Lady Vols will need a strong run in the SEC tournament if they don’t pull off the major upset. Tennessee betting apps list the Lady Vols as +30000 to win the national championship.

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Author

Douglas Pils has been a sports journalist for 30 years in Texas, Arkansas and New York having worked for the San Antonio Express-News, the Associated Press, The Dallas Morning News and Newsday. He currently runs the Student Media Department at Baylor University.